What would summer be without a book or two or three to read? Summer and reading go hand in hand, as does being culturally responsive and lifelong learning. Learning in CLR means continuing to build your knowledge in order to be better in your cultural and linguistic responsiveness. Summer is a great opportunity for building knowledge through reading - just you and a book on a beach, in the mountains, or in your backyard. As you make plans for well-deserved fun, relaxation, and rest, be sure to include these recommended reads to increase your capacity to VABB come August and September. The titles offered for your multi-day cruise, the long flight to paradise, or road trip are eclectic this year - a classic, something old; a contemporary, something new; and a content-related text, something special.
The Classic - Any book by Jonathon Kozol
Recently, while spending some time in East St. Paul, I was reminded of an oldie but a goodie by a legendary author who taught us to never forget the underserved, or why we do what we do. The book is Savage Inequalities,
and the author is Johnathon Kozol. There was a time when you could not go through a teacher education program without reading something by Kozol. My first dose of the realities of inequities in schools was Death at an Early Age
. But most remember and have read his most popular text - Savage Inequalities
, which discusses the disparities in education between schools of different classes and races. It is based on his observations of various classrooms in the public school systems of East St. Louis, Chicago, New York City, Camden, Cincinnati, and Washington D.C.. You cannot go wrong with anything Kozol, a dim reminder of how much things have changed but stayed the same, or gotten worse.
Youth culture is the predominant cultural behavior in your classroom. Understanding your students from this lens is key to your CLR success. The book, Attack of the Teenage Brain! Understanding and Supporting the Weird and Wonderful Adolescent Learner by John Medina,
explores the neurological and evolutionary factors that drive teenage behavior and can affect both achievement and engagement. If you are like me, you often forget that you were a teenager once, and what that feels like. Here is a book that not only reminds us of that, but adds brain based and psychological research to our experiences. Armed with this knowledge, you can better VABB your students from their perspective, and not your generation's way.
The Content-Related Special
A common question asked is, "how does CLR look in math or science or art or PE?" The answer is the same as it would be in any class or subject area, especially at the engagement/activity level (call and response, protocols for response and discussion, and movement activities). But I understand the implication of the question, which is really a request for examples of CLR in content areas. This is a fair request and I wish that I had a recommendation for each content area (forthcoming). For now, I do have a recommendation for math, Teaching Students to Communicate Mathematically by Laney Sammons.
This text will be more than you bargained for as it goes beyond CLR. What is great about it is there are chapters directly related to the discussion protocols and building on academic vocabulary and academic language. This may not be a cover to cover read, but it may give you just what you need to VABB with your math instruction.
You had a great year! You deserve a break…a long break. Building knowledge is important but restoring your heart, mind, and body is more important. Be certain to restore YOU so that you can be more for those who will need you the most next year.
Happy Summer! And VABB On!!!