02 June 2009

Summer Reading

Summer book lists are always interesting. I could recommend books in many different interest areas, but for this blog, I'll make them "education important" titles:


Peter Høeg's incredible novel of inclusion gone wrong Borderliners is equally fascinating and terrifying. It is also a must read for every teacher who works with students, "on the borderline."

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon's novel of Asperger's and aspiration is the kind of stunning view of a difference I think only fiction can offer.

I'm "probably" biased, but I think The Drool Roomhas a lot to say about special needs education, dyslexia, and attention issues. Plus, it's a pretty easy read.


Wounded by School: Recapturing the Joy in Learning and Standing Up to Old School Cultureis a truly essential book, which won me over in the introduction when the author talks about, "Somewhat counterintuitively, I enrolled in graduate school i education. I was trying to crack - at least in my own mind - the genetic code of the institution, one that seemed so stubbornly, intractably resistant to change..."

Surely the recent book most quoted (the title) without being read, James Gee's brilliant What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacyexplores how games teach vs how schools teach, and why one method engages why the other typical chases students away. (You could also read my blog on this, but Gee has much more to say)

More than a debate about a single technology, David Crystal's Txtng: The Gr8 Db8is a fascinating look at technology, communications, politics, and generational battles. Plus, he explores the structure of texting linguistically, in English and other languages.

John Willinsky's Learning to Divide the World: Education at Empire's Endis that kind of essential look at the purposes of education in a capitalist/imperialist world.

Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorderby David Weinberger is one of the best descriptions of how learning is changing.

And Clay Shirky will tell you why those changes are so important in Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.


Jonathan Crary's Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the 19th Century (October Books)might make you re-think many things: how you see, your understanding of history, among them. Not an easy read, but well worth it.

Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disabilityseems like important stuff to me. Great essays on difference and what that means.

Challenging everything about education, Teaching As a Subversive Activityby Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner remains the crucial manifesto about changing schools, 40 years later.


Finally, free downloads:

Norbert Pachler and the University of London assembled this fabulous look at Mobile Learning: Towards a Research Agenda. A must read for educators.

And from FutureLab

Transforming Schools for the Future

Designing for Social Justice: People, Technology, Learning

Perspectives on Early Years and Digital Technologies

Social Software and Learning

- Ira Socol


Lindamoodbell said...
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Lindamoodbell said...
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v said...

a study recently came out saying that movement helps all people concentrate better, but that ADHD students need it more. I've been talking with my students in the middle school about this, and they agree. Now the question is how to promote movement in a big class without distracting others. A minority of the students who are more suited to how school is now taught said they don't need movement at all to concentrate. I observed a very enthusiastic spec ed teacher promoting a movement activity at the 3-5 grad level where the students had to stand up. it was some sort of game (i just peeked in). but i also observed that while the students were standing, if they just happened to do a little extraneous movement, like rocking a little on their heels, they were quietly reprimanded for it. i didn't get it. they weren't distracting anybody. but in my ELL class of 10, i even allow 2 kids to pace at the back of the room if they want because it's the end of the day and i can see that they are dying to do it. if they are interested in my lesson and want to participate in our discussions or games, it is not a problem-they don't goof off. but if they are bored with what i'm doing, that might take out a ball or something and want to bounce it. so in my small class giving opportunities for lots of movement is not a problem if my lesson is also engaging. on the other hand, i have one student who, if the lesson is too fun, and we are all laughing and having a good time, he will spin out of control goofing off and having too much of a good time. anyway- any comments on any of this?

v said...

PS here's a link to the study i mentioned above

Anonymous said...

Hi v....
I'm a school OT working with students in elem., m.s. and h.s.
There are lots of studies demonstrating how important brain function is impacted by movement.
Ideas for school include brain gym (you can buy a poster for teens/adults - kids, too that shows all the basic moves), check out the book "s'cool moves", bal-a-vis-x, and Diana Henry's (OT) info. for movement in class. Great to hear about your class, allowing kids to walk in the back of the room, etc. I think that one of the best ways is to present these ideas to the entire class when possible, so that everyone gets the needed break..even TWO MINUTES makes such a difference in the quality of learning and engagement! Good luck ~