My Summer Reading List

Ahhh, summer! The time of year to relax and …READ! This is the time of year I love to curl up with a book. I love to read by the pool, in my favorite reading chair, outside under the umbrella on my patio, or anywhere! It is wonderful to get lost in a book during the summer. I am lucky to be a part of a Book Club with several great friends who love to read as much as I do. We meet up once a month, trying out different restaurants and different  experiences ( Canvas and Cocktails, the Upstairs Circus, Water to Wine, book signings, playing BINGO), and oh yeah, we talk about the book we’ve read… unless someone hasn’t finished it yet!  Then we can only talk about the beginning, but not the ending. The best part is when everyone makes recommendations about other books to read. So with those friends in mind,

Here are 5 top picks for my personal reading this summer.

1.  download.jpg Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks . Nicholas Sparks is one of my favorite authors because he has a way with telling unique love stories. This story is about the unconditional  love of a father and daughter and how it grows over time. It is also about family and supporting one another. This was a great read!


2.     download-1.jpgInto the Water by Paula Hawkins.  She is the author of Girl on the Train, so I wanted to read her next book. a single mother turns up dead in a river that runs through the town and leaves behind not only her teenage daughter, but a host of secrets as well. Can’t wait to “dive” into this one!


3. 38447.jpgThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Goodreads says “Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read.” And it will be a miniseries on Hulu soon. This makes me think of all of the rights we have in our society today that are not offered in all cultures around the world. Imagine her courage and bravery during this time!

4. 32498122.jpgThe Identicals by Elin Hildebrand. Goodreads says, “Just because twins look exactly the same doesn’t mean they’re anything alike–and Tabitha and Harper Frost have spent their whole lives trying to prove this point.” I love books by Elin Hildbrand because they bring me back to the beach, and remind me of carefree summertimes when I was younger. I’m looking forward to this beach read!


5. One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline .good reads says, “On paper, Chris Brennan looks perfect. He’s applying for a job as a high school government teacher, he’s ready to step in as an assistant baseball coach, and his references are impeccable.But everything about Chris Brennan is a lie.” You know there’s obviously a twist. Scottoline is a great author who keep you in suspense when you read, so this is definitely on my list.
I am also on a mission to read some professional books to inspire me as I prepare to return to a new school next year. I recently spent some time with fellow educators at two conferences, as well as other professional learning opportunities and have been reminded to be creative,  embrace the chaos, and inspire others on their journey. Here are some of the books I will be reading to help me on my journey.

images.jpg1. LAUNCH by John Spencer and AJ Juliani. This is at the top of my list as a reread. I am in a course called The Innovative Teaching Academy led by AJ Juliani, who is the co-author of this book. I am doing a book study with the group and will be leading one during the school year as well. I love this design thinking model for first graders! It explains the creative process in  easy terms, and can be used in any subject in the classroom. I am excited to be in book clubs reading this!

This youtube video explains it well ( narrated by John Spencer)


2. What Happens When Students Own their Learning ;EMPOWER. by John Spencer and Aj Juliani. This is hot off the presses. Only came out last week! Since I met AJ Juliani in person this month,  I am now a total fangirl! (I look forward to meeting John Spencer at sone point, too) This book! It is all about preparing our kids for ANYTHING! I am reading it now and LOVE it! This should be the next book club read! It’s all about inspiring your students to own their learning.

You can follow them at @ajjuliani and @spencerideas


3. Learning that Lasts by Ron Berger. My school is moving toward an EL model, which is a framework for challenging, engaging, and empowering students with deeper learning. I love how EL and design thinking dovetail. I am excited about learning how to go deeper with my students since this has been something I want to focus on this year. Ron Berger is another fabulous speaker who focused on quality work and refining our thinking.

51DYSwOjDYL._SX365_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg4. The Creativity Challenge: Design, Experiment, Test, Innovate, Build, Create, Inspire, and Unleash your Genius by Tanner Christensen.  Goodread says, “What’s the best way to become more creative? Just change how you think! This book challenges you to go against your default ways of thinking in order to write, design, and build something extraordinary. Featuring more than 100 challenges, exercises, and prompts.” This was recommended by Mr Jed Dearbury, who always says “LOVE FIRST< TEACH SECOND.” I met him at ThinkSpace last week and he reminded us to unleash our creative self.

You can follow him @mrdearbury1


5. The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros. This is the book that started an innovator’s revolution for me! Listening to him speak and encourage people to think beyond the box really helped me to shift my thinking. Allowing for students to focus on their natural curiosity has helped me to shift from the “all knowing teacher” to more of a “guide alongside”.  Very motivational and inspiring!

You can follow him @gcouros

I hope you can find something on my list that inspires you! Now, I’m going to curl up with a book!


Moving Up, Moving On


Today is our last day of school. My students will be moving on to second grade and I couldn’t be more proud! They have accomplished many things – big and small. They are builders and dreamers, and problem solvers. They are caring and brave. They can investigate new things and answer the question, “Why?”, and look at how things change over time. They know about being part of a community. They know how to leave the world in a better place. I leave today with a lot of love in my heart because I know these kids will do great things!

Recently, I read this quote  that really put the whole year in perspective for me.

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.”
Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts On Common Things


To every student out there,   young or old, keep dreaming, keep believing in you! You can make a difference with some hard work and grit!