Lessons on Life and Teaching

Crash Course: The Life Lessons My Students Taught Me,
by Kim Bearden.
Ron Clark Academy cofounder and dynamic teacher Kim Bearden tells how observing her students’ resilience helped her get through some very bumpy patches in her own life.

A Light Shines in Harlem: New York’s First Charter School and the Movement It Led,
by Mary C. Bounds.
Wherever you stand on the topic of charter schools, this book addresses what makes schools succeed or fail and how lessons learned can be applied to any school.

Starting Strong: A Mentoring Fable,
by Lois J. Zachary and Lory A. Fischler.
This “playbook,” focusing on one strong mentoring relationship, provides scenarios and lessons that can help mentors and mentees talk to each other in a way that could result in collaboration magic.

Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream,
by Joshua Davis.
In 2004, Wired journalist Davis broke the story of four teens from impoverished east Phoenix who bested MIT students to win a NASA underwater robot contest. His book comes on the heels of a documentary.

I’d Love to Try _____ in My Classroom

"I’m looking forward to using math task cards. I dabbled at the end of last year by writing my own task cards and was thrilled with the level of engagement they helped generate. My students will be challenged to focus on their ability to write detailed explanations that support the reasoning they use to solve more complex math problems when completing the task-card problems I have created. The cards are not simply about picking the right answer and writing it on a worksheet-style answer sheet. They are very open-ended, multistep, write-to-explain-style tasks."  —Laura Santos, second-grade teacher, Covington Elementary School, Los Altos, CA

"Better Lesson is a website that I will use this year. It hosts about 16,000 Common Core State Standards lesson plans for English, math, and—coming soon—science from hundreds of master teachers. You can search plans by subject and grade. Also, the master teachers have video narratives and student work attached to each lesson plan, so teachers can see how the lesson might unfold in their classrooms.” —Melissa Collins, second-grade teacher, John P. Freeman Optional School, Memphis

How I Use _____ in My Classroom

"I use the Chronicle app from Powerhouse Education to collect, generate, and organize my students’ reading data so that I can conference and plan my small groups. Chronicle is a gradebook and an anecdotal record-keeping tool, but the way it really stands out is that it allows you to record audio and images of students’ work that can be added to their gradebooks and anecdotal records. This is a superpowerful element for parent conferences, student study-team meetings, and individualized education plans. It brings clarity and transparency to communicating student progress.”Amy Bennett-Rosado, second-grade teacher, La Verne Science and Technology Charter School, Pomona, CA


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