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This top 10 summer reads for teachers was designed to help you deepen your professional learning and re-energize before the back to school bustle!


This top 10 summer reads for teachers was designed to help you deepen your professional learning and re-energize before the back to school bustle!Take a cue from your suggestions to your students' families to keep reading this summer and create your own summer reading list! Explore new teaching strategies for guided reading and math number talks, learn to change your fixed mindset and be a gritter teacher, improve your communication as an instructional specialist, or be the 'wild card' in your classroom! All this and more is awaiting you in my top 10 books for teachers designed for those who are wanting to deepen their professional learning and re-energize before the bustle of back-to-school season comes in full force.

Do you fit the bill?

In the last few months, I have been inspired by these ten books! Being the leader of a teacher development program, I have found that they have expanded my knowledge and re-energized me as I have assessed my program's successes and areas for growth. I have suggested these books to my teacher friends who are looking to expand their knowledge and want to share a little bit about each book with you.  I complied a list with a variety of books so that each teacher can find something suitable for their interests and needs, but I am sure you can already tell what has become a personal interest for me! I hope that by the end of this post, you are heading to your local library, purchasing a personal copy, or downloading the digital version of at least one of these professional titles.

Top 10 Summer Reads for Teachers 

* Please note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites, at no extra cost to you. These small commissions keep this very website online! I only recommend these resources that I use and know you will love!

This top 10 summer reads for teachers was designed to help you deepen your professional learning and re-energize before the back to school bustle!

This top 10 summer reads for teachers was designed to help you deepen your professional learning and re-energize before the back to school bustle!

Mindset Summer Reads 

I wanted to start off with the book that reignited my passion as a teacher and mother! Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance has changed the way that I view my daily tasks in my professional and personal life. 

This is the book, authored by Angela Duckworth, is one that I keep going back to reread! I will be implementing the "Hard Thing" rule that Duckworth writes about with my own child on my pursuit of raising a gritty young woman. If you want your students or children to be gritty and create a household or classroom of follow-through, this is a must-read!

This top 10 summer reads for teachers was designed to help you deepen your professional learning and re-energize before the back to school bustle!The "growth mindset" has become a trending topic in education over the last few years and really took off this past school year. Before reading, I knew the basic principles based on the plethora of anchor charts floating around the internet. I must confess, I like to read the actual research and book before basing my classroom and my instruction around it!

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success will not let you down in your pursuit to understand the startling differences between the fixed and growth mindset and ways to help nurture a growth mindset in yourself and students.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance paired with Mindset: The New Psychology of Success have been two of the most powerful reads for me recently. I have made many decisions for my family and business after reading these books that have transformed the way we do things! I am so thankful for the tireless research of Duckworth and Dweck.

This top 10 summer reads for teachers was designed to help you deepen your professional learning and re-energize before the back to school bustle!Culturize: Every Student. Every Day. Whatever It Takes written by author and education leader Jimmy Casas shares insights into what it takes to cultivate a community of learners who embody the innately human traits our world desperately needs, such as kindness, honesty, and compassion. His stories reveal how these "soft skills" can be honed while meeting and exceeding academic standards of twenty-first-century learning. If you want to know how to create an environment where all learners are challenged and inspired to be their best this book will be your jam!

Too many of our most vulnerable students are tuning out and dropping out because of our failure to engage them! (Maybe it's not your own personal failure to engage students, but a problem you are seeing at your campus, or across your district!) It's time to set the bar higher! Until we make school the best part of every student's day, we will struggle with attendance, achievement, and graduation rates. Eric Jensen, whose name you probably remember from college, who has had a great impact as a learning expert, wrote this meaningful book, Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind: Practical Strategies for Raising Achievement.

This top 10 summer reads for teachers was designed to help you deepen your professional learning and re-energize before the back to school bustle!The Brain Power Classroom: 10 Essentials for Focus, Mindfulness, and Emotional Wellness by David Beal provides expert guidance and inspiring stories from the field. Thirty classroom activities help you create a Brain Power Classroom full of engaged, focused and collaborative students! 

I am amazed at how simple and friendly the exercises are, but how powerful is the effect they have to increase the potential and strength of students' body, emotions, concentration, and mind in the most integrated manner. I had heard so many of my mom friends talk about using the strategies with their children at home!

Wade and Hope King show you how to draw on your authentic self--your past experiences, personality quirks, interests, hobbies, and strengths--to deliver your content creatively in The Wild Card: 7 Steps to an Educator's Creative Breakthrough. Educators have been raving about this book on social media since its release earlier this year! If you think the deck is always stacked up against you, this book is for you. You will learn to be the Wild Card who changes the game for your students!
This top 10 summer reads for teachers was designed to help you deepen your professional learning and re-energize before the back to school bustle!

Content Specific Summer Reads


If you are a brand new teacher using guided reading or want to delve deeper in assessing, deciding, and guiding your students, you must read this book by Jan Richardson! The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading: An Assess-Decide-Guide Framework for Supporting Every Reader includes 29 comprehension modules for you to use in your classroom. She takes you through all of the key parts of guided reading. You will have a much more complete idea of what guided reading looks like and sounds like in an effective classroom. If you are looking to grow as a reading teacher, this book is for you!

This top 10 summer reads for teachers was designed to help you deepen your professional learning and re-energize before the back to school bustle!Of course, my list wouldn't be complete without a few math titles. Number Talks: Whole Number Computation, Grades K-5 by Sherry Parrish helps you implement number talks in your classroom! If you want to use number talks, but are unsure of how to begin or are a teacher who has a little experience but wants more guidance in crafting purposeful problems to use with your students, this book was designed with you, and me, in mind! After reading it, I just wanted to talk numbers ALL DAY!

I get many questions about the various visual representations that are suggested to use in whole number computations and algebraic reasoning. If you are not familiar with model drawing, this text by Bob Hogan and Char Forsten will walk you through 22 different types of problems and help you understand the basics! 8-Step Model Drawing: Singapore's Best Problem-Solving Math Strategies provides a "teacher talk" section which gives you a suggested script for talking through model drawing! This is a great read for teachers new to a grade level that utilizes model drawing. The book is recommended to teachers in first through eighth grades. After spending an entire night reading through the different problems and scripts, I became eager to share this strategy with all of my teacher friends! It really is a step-by-step guide for the various operations and uses of model drawing!

This top 10 summer reads for teachers was designed to help you deepen your professional learning and re-energize before the back to school bustle!
Are you a new teacher or instructional coach? I saved this one just for you! Get Better Faster: A 90-Day Plan for Coaching New Teachers by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo shares instructive tools of how school leaders can effectively guide new teachers to success. Over the course of the book, he breaks down the most critical actions leaders and teachers must enact to achieve exemplary results. This is so important as a leader! It gets so overwhelming when you are not focuses on actionable items that are manageable for a new teacher! Get Better Faster is an integral coaching tool for any school leader eager to help their teachers succeed and even helps new teachers as they navigate their classroom!

I hope this post inspires you to read one of these top books for professional learning! 

Make sure you make time to relax and enjoy!
When you are ready to start getting ideas for back to school, please see if any of my resources are a good fit for your classroom. You can shop here.

What book(s) will you read this summer?


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This top 10 summer reads for teachers was designed to help you deepen your professional learning and re-energize before the back to school bustle!
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Vroom! Zoom! Have you been hearing about Math Speed Strips lately? Math Speed Strips will quickly become your students’ math activity to use as an early finisher or math center activity. (I love using them in the first couple of minutes of a guided math or small group math lesson!) This post highlights the basics of Math Speed Strips, how to use them in your classroom or home, materials needed, and other commonly asked questions.  There's also a free set of Speed Strips that I want to share with you to use in your classroom or home!

Speed through subitizing and develop number sense with these differentiated sets of Math Speed Strips.

Sometimes the best opportunities come out struggles. It was mid-December and a kindergarten teacher had asked me to model a guided math lesson on the reviewing the numbers zero through 10. My goal was for this small group of kindergarten students to understand the relationship between numbers and quantities. The teacher gave me some background knowledge about the students in the group and shared that the students were ready for numbers six to 10.

Our warm-up to the lesson began. I eagerly asked the students to use their dry erase markers to write the number four on their whiteboard. The students took off the lids to their markers and starred at me. It was like they're little faces were saying, "You want us to do what?!" I immediately knew that my planned lesson was out the window! I KNOW you have been there too! It was in this moment that I realized that I needed to create a quick, fun way to help students read and recognition numbers to build subitizing and number sense skills which is painless for teachers to use in their math classrooms! Introducing Speed Strips...

* Please note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend items that I use regularly and know you will love!

Simplifying the Road to Number Recognition and Subitizing 


Speed through subitizing and develop number sense with these differentiated sets of Math Speed Strips.
What are Math Speed Strips?


Vroom! Zoom! Energize your students with these simple strips that represent numbers in many different ways. Each set has 26 cards and each card has five numbers represented on them. The objective is that students move left to right along the strips and read the number representations. At first, students will rely on counting each number. As students practice and build their number sense, students will begin to subitize, or instantly recognize the numbers. Students can use Speed Strips independently, with a partner, or in a small group.

If you want to create a routine for using Speed Strips, add a quick two or three minute practice at the start of your small group or guided math lesson. 

Speed through subitizing and develop number sense with these differentiated sets of Math Speed Strips.
How to Use Math Speed Strips

Students get a set of cards, it can be randomly selected or assigned. Students may choose to use a mat to work through the cards in the set. 

Speed through subitizing and develop number sense with these differentiated sets of Math Speed Strips.  If using a mat, the students will place the set of cards in the center of the mat. Each card will be read left to right. Students can use their finger, a pointer, pencil, or toy car to move along the racetrack as the students read the car. These Speed Strips allow all students access to the numbers, by activating their auditory, visual, and kinesthetic modalities. 

Auditory: Students say the number.
Visual: Students see the number represented on the car.
Kinesthetic: Students move a physical object across the card as they read the numbers.

Materials Needed

Scissors or Paper Cutter
Hole Punch (I used my three-hole punch)
Binder Rings

How to Organize


Speed through subitizing and develop number sense with these differentiated sets of Math Speed Strips.  There are a variety of ways to display Speed Strips, if you are interested in something more than tossing them into a basket. I prefer each card set being accessible.

You can place Speed Strips on a peg board.

Speed Strips can be displayed on jewelry displays found at local hobby and craft stores.

Magnetic hooks placed on the side of a filing cabinet work too.

Command Hooks could also be used to place Speed Strips on an already existing surface.

How to Prepare the Sets of Cards


1. Print Speed Strips on colored cardstock. I used a rainbow pattern for the sets of cards. There is a full color cover (optional) or a black and white cover that comes with each set of cards.

- I love the versatility of colors. If you like specific colors or your classroom has a theme, you can print out the sets of cards using those colors. I used six different colors in my pattern, but any would do! 

- If you like using six colors like I did, you would need 9 pages of colored cardstock for each of the 6 sets... so 54 pages of colored cardstock in six different colors. 

- You can make it simple by buying a large pack of colored cardstock and just using them or mix-and-match the colors to your hearts content. I use Recollections by Michaels cardstock. I load up my race cart on scrapbook paper sale days... it is great for printing Speed Strips and math centers.

2. I ALWAYS cut before I laminate, but I realize that most teachers laminate the pages before cutting! I use a Swingline® Paper Trimmer as my go-to paper cutter. I was able to cut 5 pages at a time (since it is heavy cardstock, which sped up the prep time!

3. Place the Speed Strips at the edge of the three-hole punch (see photograph for alignment). I use a Swingline® 20-Sheet Desktop Hole Punch - Silver. Since I was using cardstock, I only punched a few at a time. If you punch too many, the strips get stuck and can easily tear. Avoid this by punching about five strips at a time.

4. Place each Speed Strips set on a binder ring. Each strip is identifiable by a letter of the alphabet on the right side. You can organize the Speed Strips in alphabetically or randomly. Just make sure the cover shows when displaying the cards!

Speed through subitizing and develop number sense with these differentiated sets of Math Speed Strips.


If you want to use this activity to check each students’ level of understanding, there are pre-assessments and progress monitoring tools included. These tools can help you meets students' individual needs for RtI or intervention through these simple assessments (see below at some of the tool included.)

I love using the colored sponge tip applicators when collecting data on the students. It is so simple to mark the correct responses!

Speed through subitizing and develop number sense with these differentiated sets of Math Speed Strips.


Want to try these for FREE?

I'll keep you afloat. I encourage teachers to give them a try, but I can guarantee that once your students start using Math Speed Strips, they will be begging you for more!  Download a free set of Speed Strips by clicking on the button below!


Speed through subitizing and develop number sense with these differentiated sets of Math Speed Strips.

What skills are included in this Speed Strips Number Sense Bundle?


Dice
Dominoes (common representations of the number are shown on the ends of the domino)
Mixed Dominoes (mixed representations of the number are shown on the ends of the domino)
Ten Frames
Tally Marks
Numeral

These skills are represented on six card sets for each of the number sets 0-5, 6-10, 0-10, 11-15, 16-20, and 0-20. 

These groupings of numbers allow students to master small number sets, before adding numbers that are unknown. It helps build on students' strengths!

If you want to use the 36 differentiated Math Speed Strips in your classroom, you find it in my TpT shop. 

What ways are you promote subitizing and number sense in your classroom?





                  
Do you ever have trouble following through with things, like those ridiculous resolutions that no one ever keeps? Eating healthy is the most popular resolutions each year and it is no different for teachers! The months of January and February always bring out the best in my teacher lunch bag. A beautifully dressed salad with lightly coated dressing adorns the tightly sealed plastic container in my bag. By the time testing season rolls around in March and April, I begin to conceal leftover pizza in that same container. I strategically place my lunch bag in front of me so there is just enough room to sneak my reheated pizza into my mouth without detection from the judging eyes of my peers.

I know I am not alone in this annual struggle. Each year, I set a resolution to eat healthy and do not follow through for more than a few months. I did not create a plan with action commitments so when times are difficult, or stress hits, I do not have a plan, much less, a backup plan. This year, I am committing to be more mindful about my resolutions and rocking it in the New Year along with my students!


Being Mindful in the New Year with Rockin' Resolutions


Be a resolution role model for your students. 

As teachers, it is important to practice what we teach! Bring your resolutions into the classroom. It is a great thing to do as a whole class. Students will look to you to learn how to approach creating resolutions.

Instill a sense of responsibility in your students. 

Talk about responsibility and doing well in all things. We should not ask our students to do more than we are willing to do.

Keep resolutions positive. 

Instead of pointing out students’ shortcomings, be a historian of previous successes. Make note of things that your students are doing well. Ask your students, “How can you transfer your success doing ______ (the task they did well on) to something else?”

Brainstorm some ideas.

- What are some of the great things you want to do this year?
- What do you want to improve?
- What will make your life better and happier?

It is best to keep the list of resolutions to a minimum so you can devote time and energy to each item.

Decide how students can present their ideas.

Committing resolutions to paper by writing them helps out creates a record. It is important to set action commitments, or steps needed to complete the action, if you want to take your students through the critical thinking process and have follow-through.

It's important to share ideas with a friend and talk regularly about the progress. (See the photograph on the left for a creative way for writing and displaying resolutions!) Doing a weekly, monthly, or check after each grading period will help keep students accountable for their goals. They can simply check in with a partner.

When a student completes a goal or makes progress towards a resolution, it is important to celebrate these steps as to promote moving forward and accomplishing it! Play a special song during class time or write out the accomplishment in an exclusive location in the room. Make it fun!

Rock your resolutions in the new year!

My waist band and the judging eyes of my peers will be pleasantly surprised when a beautiful salad adorns my container through testing season this year! If you ready to implement these promising steps to being more mindful in the New Year, you and your students will benefit greatly! As you rock being a resolution role model, your students will be inspired to be successful in their goals too. Keep it positive, commit it to paper, and celebrate progress over perfection!

If you would like to use this New Years writing activity in your classroom, you can find it in my TpT shop.

What are you resolving to do in the New Year?




We all know that a more appropriate title for a teacher in December is "Chaos Coordinator!" You are constantly putting forth time and a lot of effort this time of year in so many areas. It is time to embrace your newly earned title in the classroom and engage your students with some winter-themed and Christmas-themed math activities for young children! These math activities will help you embrace the chaos and let your students math skills and creativity shine!

How to Embrace the Chaos with December Math

As we enter the busy season of holidays, it is difficult to keep students engaged in the content. It is often hard for us as teachers to stay focused and on track too! {I am not pointing at myself right now.}

By using the holiday, which is usually the distraction, as a focal point in the classroom, students become highly engaged in the content.

Embrace the chaos and select a math activity that is right on point for your class... here are a few of my favorite things!

From Chaos to Creativity: Top December Math Ideas


Wreath Math Craftivity {4 Skills}

One of the newest craftivities to hit my shop is this gem, Wreath Math Craftivity! Add paper plates and, perhaps, a dot marker with sponge tip applicator!{I make a small commission when you shop using this link which keeps the Diet Coke fund from running dry and the creativity flowing!}This creates a simple craftivity for students to complete. It gets even better than this cute wreath! There are four math skills that you can use as "ornaments" to decorate your wreath. {grades K-2}

- Sequencing Numbers (1-10, 10-20, random numbers up to 120, random numbers up to 1,200)
- 2-D Shapes (two dimensional shapes)
- 3-D Shapes (three-dimensional shapes)
- U.S. Coins 


Christmas Craftivity {Wants and Needs}

Do you teach wants and needs as part of your math or social studies curriculum?

The best way to teach wants and needs is in context. What not a better way than as students are generating a Christmas list?!

Don't worry, as with all of my resources, I strive to make them diverse. This craft includes two versions with Santa or a snowman to be inclusive of ALL students, especially culturally diverse students.

This is a great activity for little hands as the cutting is very simple. I took extra time when I created this to define the lines for cutting for younger students.

Splat! Interactive Math Games

If you have not heard of Splat! math games yet, you are missing out! I wrote about these fun, interactive games a little while back. You can catch up on how to play Splat! here. I have seasonal and skill-based games for winter including these sets:

Gingerbread Themed:

Reindeer Themed:
- Generate a Set to 20 {grades K-1}

Christmas Emergent Readers

Make sight word practice fun, engaging, and interactive with these math emergent readers!

These are perfect for math or literacy centers with a winter or Christmas theme. I love that you can use them for sight word practice, math centers, OR literacy centers! They are so versatile!

Students practice sight words in a math context with skills:
- instantly recognizing numbers (subitizing)
- compare sets of objects, (more/less)
- identify 2-D shapes
- distinguish between wants and needs.

There are so many standards-based winter and Christmas activities to choose from to support your math instruction during December. Embrace the chaos and keep the students engaged this holiday season with purposeful  math activities!

If you would like to use any of these activities in your classroom, you can find them in my TpT shop.

How do you embrace the chaos in your classroom? 

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