My Summer of Learning

My Summer of Learning

Today is June 1 and there are 23 days until my school year officially ends. But as most teachers will tell you, having summers “off” is the big misnomer of the teaching world. Whether it’s summer jobs, lesson planning and reflection, professional development, or the millions of other ways that teacher spend the months of July and August, vacation isn’t always the best descriptor.

For me, this summer will be spent learning. A lot of it will be enjoyable. Some of it will be by choice. Much of it relates to my many hats of student, teacher, and coach. Most of all, though, I want to make it meaningful, and for that I need your help.

I want to--and need to--spend my summer learning and growing in positive and reflective ways. I want to evolve my teaching and thinking about education next year. I have questions, and I need your suggestions. I want to rethink a lot of my classroom policies--late work and student accountability, in particular. I’m also struggling to wrap my head around a shift in grading and what grades mean, with the idea of moving away from the point-value economy that dominates too much of education. These are just two of the big ideas on my mind.

I want to do more to innovate, build, create, and disrupt--on my own, with and for my students, and my teachers. And to do it right, I need to read, to learn, and to reflect. I need to read and do things that make me excited about education.

Summer Reading

This isn’t really an article about must read education or professional development books. If that’s what you’re looking for, I recommend Summer Reading List: 5 Books on Professional Development from Ross Cooper on Edutopia and The Top 8 Professional Reads for Educators 2016 (plus more) by Craig Kemp. They are great lists that I hope to come back to again and again.

This article is about my goals and inspiration. Maybe it'll inspire you and hopefully you can inspire me.

I’m a collector. Part English teacher and part nerd, I have a compulsive habit of buying books, and so many of them sit unread. This summer, I’m going to change that with the goal of reading books that help me rethink my professional practice and work with positivity. I want to get excited about education and my part in it.

To start off, I plan to order Kids Deserve It! by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome and Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student by John Spencer and AJ Juliani. Both are new releases that have me excited.

In no particular order, here are some of the books in my current to-read pile:

I’ve read articles and posts from these authors, been in Twitter conversations with many, and explored some of the books, but I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t read them fully. This summer, I’ll change that.

I also want to explore some of the books from the Hack Learning and Corwin Connected Educator serieses (check out the Corwin bundles from Fall 2014 or Spring 2015).

I Need Your Help!

Will I read all dozen-or-so books listed above? Maybe. I hope so. But I find that writing about it here creates an expectation in my mind and solidifies the intent--when I share it here, it’s more likely to happen.

Add this reading to my doctoral research and classes, administrative internship hours, a few conferences, and my regular reflection and planning on my school year, and it adds up to quite a summer.

My goal is to grow my passion, evolve my practice, and focus on the positive in the world of education, edtech, and innovation, so that I can come back next school year better prepared to make change and to be excited to do so.

Every week or two, I’ll share my thoughts on what I’m reading--whether it’s scholarly research or some of the books listed above--and ask for your thoughts, too.

I hope you’ll join me on this adventure, or at least help steer me in the right direction.

What are your plans for summer reading and growth? Where should my reading and learning begin? Share your ideas and recommendations in the comments or on Twitter @MrSchoenbart

cross posted at

Adam Schoenbart is a high school English teacher, Google Education Trainer, and EdD candidate in Educational Leadership. He teaches grades 10-12 in a 1:1 Chromebook classroom at Ossining High School in Westchester County, NY and received the 2014 LHRIC Teacher Pioneer Award for innovative uses of technology that change teaching and learning. Read more at The SchoenBlog and connect on Twitter @MrSchoenbart.