Just like Alison, I too enjoy taking some time during my breaks to reflect on the teaching and learning during the previous months in our classroom.  I agree with the fact that it’s a wonderful opportunity to take a closer look at our work, experiences, progress, etc.  in order to celebrate what we did well while at the same time tweaking aspects that may lead to greater benefits for the students and overall learning in the classroom.

I have taken some time during my break to look at and read some professional resources that had come to my attention during the first term.  Below I’ll include them with a brief overview.  I also made time to read a new “young adult” series which was recommended to me by my students and, I have to say, they have very good taste because I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Book List:

Engaging Readers and Writers with Inquiry – Jeffrey D. Wilhelm

Wilhelm shows that it’s easy to teach with inquiry no matter what the subject area.  The book includes: examples of guiding questions for every content area; planning guidelines and sample inquiry units; prompts, walkarounds, and dozens of activities to deepen thinking about topics; engaging examples of questioning schemes that promote inquiry-oriented reading; and much more.

Comprehension & Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action – Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels

This book is a guide for teachers who want to realize the benefits of well-structured, engaging, cross-curricular projects.  It is an excellent resource for teachers to join with students to explore rich content inside and beyond the curriculum- to wonder, question, build knowledge, care, and take action in the world.  I engaged my students in a unit about hunger (which I described in my blog entry entitled: When Teaching Comes Full Circle) which was structured around the strategies shared in this fantastic resource.

Matched and Crossed – Ally Condie

My students recommended this series stating, “If you liked The Hunger Games then you’ll love this series.”  They were right! A futuristic fable of love and struggle against an oppressive society, it asks the question: Can there be freedom without choice? A very easy read that had me hooked right from the first page.  Well worth it for junior/intermediate  teachers especially.

As you can tell, having the first week of the year off was a great way for me to reflect, read, and regroup 🙂

Happy New Year to everyone and all the best for the continuation of the school year!


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