Have a Fantastic Summer!

Patrick Vennebush, Chief Learning Officer

The year is coming to an end. Soon your classroom will be quiet. No more pencils, no more books, no more finger counting, no more area models, no more calendar grid markers, no more pattern blocks and geoboard bands and base ten pieces littering the floor.

As Sam Keen said, “Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” You’ve earned all the relaxation you can get this summer; enjoy it. After a year of molding young minds, time off is the minimum that you deserve.

But we know that you’re a dedicated professional. We know that relaxation will soon turn to boredom and eventually to renewal and focus. We know that it won’t be long before you’ll start planning for the fall. So as you head into summer, here’s a list of some of our favorite educational books, as chosen by members of The Math Learning Center staff:

  • Implementing Mastery Learning, Thomas Guskey (Nicole Rigelman, Chief Academic Officer)
    • Inspired by a recent article in Education Leadership. While this may be boring for some, I'm eager to build a more equitable assessment system (i.e., assessments and related practices) by returning to the research base and considering how instruction and assessment can be a seamless classroom experience.
  • How to Train a Wild Elephant & Other Adventures in Mindfulness, Jan Chozen Bays (Emily Saxton, Director of Research)
    • Summer is an excellent time for self-care and rejuvenation. This book makes developing daily mindfulness practices approachable and enjoyable. Developing mindfulness practices is a way to invest in your well-being, which can pay dividends throughout your busy life.
  • The Infinite Pickle, Gord Peterson (Patrick Vennebush, Chief Learning Officer)
    • This is a thin but thought-inducing book of challenging, open-ended math problems that the authors used with elementary students. It includes quotes from teachers who have either inspired the problems or successfully used them in classrooms. And the best part? It's available free at www.mathpickle.com
  • Unearthing Joy: A Guide to Culturally and Historically Responsive Teaching and Learning, Gholdy Muhammad (Corey Drake, Sr Dir for Professional Learning)
    • This book presents an approach to teaching, learning, curriculum, and assessment that centers on pursuing identity, skills, intellect, criticality, and perhaps joy. It reminds me to focus on the joy of listening to and learning from and with students in mathematics classrooms. Reading the book is also a joyful experience, including song playlists, beautiful illustrations and photos, and opportunities to color within its pages.
  • Strengths-Based Teaching and Learning in Mathematics: Five Teaching Turnarounds for Grades K-6, Beth Kobett and Karen Karp (Mike Wallus, VP of Educator Support)
    • What if, instead of focusing on what students haven't mastered, we identify their mathematical strengths and build on them? That's the question Beth Kobett and Karen Karp pose in this thought-provoking and practical book. They highlight ways educators can leverage students' strengths, design instruction from a strengths-based perspective, and promote strengths in the school community.

It’s quite possible that you won’t want to crack open any of those books until the end of July. Or the week before school. Or never. And that’s cool, too.

Maybe you just want to relax by the side of the pool with some light reading. Then you definitely should.

No matter what you do this summer, though, know that you’re appreciated.

Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your time. Thank you for your compassion. Thank you for demanding the best from your students. Thank you for the long hours you’ve put in, and thank you for doing a year’s worth of work in just 10 months.

With appreciation from all of us at MLC, have a great summer!