It’s summer and I am trying…again to utilize this space more often. So for attempt #1, I will endeavor to share three worthwhile things each Thursday. My hope is that this will lead me to write something more than once a week. Hey, this is actually my second post today, but I am keeping in mind how many exercise routines I have failed to follow through one due to starting out at an unsustainable pace.
So for this week, I am going to share the first three books I have read this summer:
- Being the Change by Sara K. Ahmed – I am not sure if there is a bigger challenge in schools right now than teaching our students how to have conversations about race, gender, politics, religion, and sexuality. These are the topics that we, the educators in schools, tend to steer clear of when they come up. Fortunately, Ahmed has shared with us some clear plans to get over the hurdle and create learning environments where we can start to have these conversations. The moral imperative of this topic is summed up perfectly by Ahmed as follows: “we cannot progress as a society if we rely on television images, single stories, and sensationalized headlines over getting proximate to the personal experiences and individual truths of human beings who don’t look like us.” This is a book you are going to want to share with every educator you know.
- The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida – This book was written by a 13-year old autistic boy from Japan who learned how to spell out words from an alphabet grid in order to better communicate with those around him. The result of this ability led to this amazing book where he shares his insights into some of the questions we all have about what goes on inside the autistic mind. Higashida’s book is literally a list of the FAQ’s that people have about individuals with autism. Questions like What causes panic attacks and meltdowns? Why do you make a huge fuss over tiny mistakes? and Why do you move your arms and legs about in that awkward way? are all answered here by Higashida. This is truly a unique book due to the firsthand perspective that only this author can offer.
- Different Schools for a Different World – by Scott McLeod and Dean Shareski – My disclaimer here is that I haven’t actually started this one yet, but I have no doubt that it will offer concrete examples of how school leaders and educators can start and/or continue to make the shifts needed to change schools and classrooms to better prepare students for the world. McLeod and Shareski have been advocates of the need for schools to alter outdated methods for more than a decade and I can’t think of two better resources to help educators on this path!