Top 10 Books for Teachers to Kickstart the New School Year

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As the new school year begins, it’s essential for teachers to equip themselves with the right tools to navigate the challenges ahead. Among these tools, books can be a great source of inspiration, guidance, and self-care. Here are ten books that every teacher should consider reading as they embark on a new academic year.

The Happy Teacher Habits: 11 Habits of the Happiest, Most Effective Teachers on Earth by Michael Linsin

This book provides practical strategies for teachers to maintain positivity and effectiveness in the classroom. Linsin emphasizes the importance of habits in shaping our lives and offers insights on how to develop habits that lead to happiness and success in teaching.

The Happy Teacher Habits: 11 Habits of the Happiest, Most Effective Teachers on Earth
  • Linsin, Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 144 Pages – 04/30/2016 (Publication Date) – JME Publishing (Publisher)

Quote: “Happiness isn’t something that just happens to you. It’s a choice. It’s a decision you make every morning, that you’re going to have a good day.”

Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56 by Rafe Esquith

Esquith shares his innovative teaching methods and the extraordinary results they have yielded in his classroom. His passion for teaching and advocating for his students is infectious.

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Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56
  • Esquith, Rafe (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 243 Pages – 12/18/2007 (Publication Date) – Penguin Books (Publisher)

Quote: “Real success is when a teacher is able to work under the hardest conditions and still turn out to be a great person. That’s real success.”

The Self-Care Solution: A Year of Becoming Happier, Healthier, and Fitter–One Month at a Time by Jennifer Ashton, M.D.

This book is a must-read for teachers who want to prioritize their health and well-being. Dr. Ashton provides a month-by-month guide to self-care that includes diet, exercise, and mental health strategies.

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The Self-Care Solution: A Year of Becoming Happier, Healthier, and Fitter–One Month at a Time
  • Ashton M.D., Jennifer (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages – 12/28/2021 (Publication Date) – William Morrow Paperbacks (Publisher)

Quote: “Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

The Power of a Positive Team: Proven Principles and Practices that Make Great Teams Great by Jon Gordon

Gordon’s book is a guide to maintaining positivity and unity within a team, making it a great read for teachers who want to foster a positive learning environment.

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The Power of a Positive Team: Proven Principles and Practices that Make Great Teams Great (Jon Gordon)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Gordon, Jon (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 176 Pages – 06/13/2018 (Publication Date) – Wiley (Publisher)

Quote: “A positive team is not just about being connected to each other. It’s about being committed to each other.”

Educated by Design: Designing the Space to Experiment, Explore, and Extract Your Creative Potential by Michael Cohen

This book encourages teachers to advocate for creativity in the classroom. Cohen provides a roadmap for designing a creative space that encourages students to explore their potential.

Educated by Design: Designing the Space to Experiment, Explore, and Extract Your Creative Potential
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Cohen, Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 248 Pages – 12/31/2018 (Publication Date) – Dave Burgess Consulting, Incorporated (Publisher)

Quote: “Creativity is not just about making ‘stuff’, it’s more importantly about developing a creative thinking mindset.”

The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life by Parker J. Palmer

Palmer’s book delves into the heart of the teaching profession, exploring the inner lives of educators. It’s a powerful read for teachers seeking to reconnect with their passion for the profession.

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The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life, 20th Anniversary Edition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Palmer, Parker J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages – 09/05/2017 (Publication Date) – Jossey-Bass (Publisher)

Quote: “Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.”

Teach, Breathe, Learn: Mindfulness In and Out of the Classroom by Meena Srinivasan

Srinivasan offers insights into how mindfulness can help teachers manage stress and foster a peaceful classroom. It’s a practical guide for teachers seeking to achieve work-life balance.

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Teach, Breathe, Learn: Mindfulness in and out of the Classroom
  • Srinivasan, Meena (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages – 08/10/2014 (Publication Date) – Parallax Press (Publisher)

Quote: “When we cultivate our own mindfulness, we’re actually benefiting our students indirectly because we’re modeling what it looks like to be present.”

The Burnout Cure: Learning to Love Teaching Again by Chase Mielke

Mielke’s book is a lifeline for teachers feeling the strain of burnout. It provides strategies for maintaining enthusiasm for teaching and advocating for the profession.

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The Burnout Cure: Learning to Love Teaching Again
  • Mielke, Chase (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 230 Pages – 03/19/2019 (Publication Date) – ASCD (Publisher)

Quote: “We can’t control the kids or the content or the new initiatives or the old initiatives, but we can control how we think and feel about them.”

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller

Miller’s book is a testament to the power of reading and the impact a passionate teacher can have on their students. It’s a must-read for teachers who want to inspire a love of reading in their students.

Quote: “There is no program, no method, no teacher who can create readers. What we can do is provide the conditions that allow reading to happen.”

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

Brown’s book explores the concept of vulnerability and how it can lead to greater connection and a more fulfilling life. It’s a powerful read for teachers who want to foster deeper connections with their students and colleagues.

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Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Brené Brown (Author) – Brené Brown (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 06/26/2018 (Publication Date) – Penguin Audio (Publisher)

Quote: “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.”

Each of these books offers unique insights into the teaching profession, self-care, and maintaining a positive attitude. As you prepare for the new school year, consider adding these books to your reading list. They may provide just the inspiration you need to make this year your best yet.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Larry Cuban on the “F” Word

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No, not that “F” word.

Larry Cuban shared his thoughts on leveraging failure as a valuable step in the learning process, something I’ve tried to convey to teachers and students over the years.

Cuban begins by recounting his career journey, which spans from his start as a high school teacher in 1955 to his time as a district superintendent and later as a professor at Stanford. He emphasizes that his career, while marked by many successes, was also filled with failures, which he believes are often overlooked in discussions about career progression.

Cuban writes, “While on the surface my long career as an educator appears as an unvarnished success albeit a modest one, it was a zig-zag path with cul-de-sacs and, truth be told, a road pitted with potholes of failure.” He argues that failures are an integral part of success and that society’s tendency to avoid discussing failures does a disservice to the reality of most people’s career trajectories.

He shares several instances of his own failures, including being rejected for teaching positions, struggling to connect with certain students, failing to reduce racial tensions in a department he administered, and being turned down for numerous superintendent posts and a deanship at Stanford’s School of Education. He also discusses his failures in getting published, with many of his submissions being rejected by publishers and editors.

Cuban emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and learning from failures. He quotes several famous figures to illustrate his point, including basketball star Michael Jordan, Winston Churchill, and Maya Angelou. He writes, “Defeats were doors that closed in my face. Yet other doors opened.” He explains that failures can lead to new opportunities and that persistence in the face of failure can lead to eventual success.

In conclusion, Cuban states, “Looking back at my career and the mix of success and failure make clear to me how complex the interaction between winning and losing is.” He underscores the importance of adopting a growth mindset and learning from failure, making it clear that success and failure are integral parts of any career journey.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Is ChatGPT’s Output Degrading?

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A recent study from Stanford University and UC Berkeley has found that the behavior of large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT has “drifted substantially” over time, but this does not necessarily indicate a degradation of capabilities. The researchers tested two versions of GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 on tasks such as math problems, answering sensitive questions, code generation, and visual reasoning. They found significant changes in performance between the March and June 2023 versions of these models. For instance, GPT-4’s accuracy in solving math problems dropped from 97.6% to 2.4%, while GPT-3.5’s accuracy increased from 7.4% to 86.8%.

The study’s findings highlight the risks of building applications on top of black-box AI systems like ChatGPT, which could produce inconsistent or unpredictable results over time. The researchers recommend continuous evaluation and assessment of LLMs in production applications and call for more transparency in the data and methods used to train and fine-tune these models. However, some experts argue that the media has misinterpreted the paper’s results as confirmation that GPT-4 has gotten worse, stating that the changes in behavior do not necessarily indicate a degradation in capability.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Barack Obama’s Summer 2023 Reading List

Barack Obama's Summer 2023 Reading List

Y’all already know I’m a big fan of reading lists (I publish my own every month), and whenever former president Barack Obama shares his, I pay attention.

Here’s the full list:

Several of these books were already on my TBR (thankfully) and I’ve added the rest and will hopefully get to them all before the end of the year.

Right now, I’m starting Will Wight’s Cradle series and have American Prometheus on deck. What are you reading right now?

Gamified e-learning platform Kahoot gets acquired in a $1.7B deal led by Goldman Sachs, Lego, and more

kahoot

Kahoot, the Oslo-based startup known for its gamified e-learning platform, is set to go fully private in an all-cash private equity deal led by Goldman Sachs Assets Management, valuing the company at $1.7 billion. The deal also includes existing Kahoot backers General Atlantic, LEGO Group’s KIRKBI Invest A/S, and Glitrafjord, controlled by Kahoot CEO Eilert Hanoa, among others. Despite the premium on Kahoot’s publicly traded shares, the valuation is a step down from the company’s peak during the COVID-19 pandemic, reflecting the struggles tech companies face in the current economic climate.

Kahoot has seen significant growth due to the rise of remote learning, hosting hundreds of millions of learning sessions with 9 billion participants in over 200 countries. However, like many tech businesses, it has struggled in the public markets post-pandemic. The company’s Q2 financials showed $41 million in revenues, up just 14% on last year, and cash equivalents of $96 million by the end of the second quarter. Despite not being at its peak valuation, the private equity group believes in the long-term opportunity of Kahoot.

Original Article

Schools Prioritizing Social-Emotional Learning See Strong Academic Benefits

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A new, comprehensive report from the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research delves into the critical period of adolescence, a time of significant growth and change that sets the stage for adulthood. The report emphasizes the importance of investing in adolescents to ensure their future success and the prosperity of our society.

The report begins by highlighting the unique characteristics of adolescence. It’s a time of rapid brain development, particularly in areas related to social and emotional learning. Adolescents are not just oversized children; they have unique needs and potentials that require targeted support.

The study underscores the importance of a supportive environment for adolescents. Schools, families, and communities all play a vital role in shaping adolescents’ experiences. The report suggests that these environments should be designed to foster positive relationships, provide meaningful learning experiences, and promote healthy identity development.

One of the key findings of the report is the importance of social and emotional learning (SEL) during adolescence. SEL skills, such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making, are crucial for adolescents’ success in school and life. The report advocates for integrating SEL into the school curriculum and providing adolescents opportunities to practice these skills in real-world contexts.

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The Trauma-Sensitive Classroom: Building Resilience with Compassionate Teaching
  • Jennings, Patricia A. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages – 11/13/2018 (Publication Date) – W. W. Norton & Company (Publisher)

The report also discusses the role of equity in adolescent development. It argues that all adolescents, regardless of their background, should have access to high-quality educational opportunities. The report calls for policies and practices that promote equity and ensure that all adolescents can reach their full potential.

In conclusion, “Investing in Adolescents” is a call to action for educators, policymakers, and society at large. It emphasizes that adolescence is a critical period that shapes individuals’ futures and the future of our society. By investing in adolescents and providing them with the support they need, we can unleash their potential and create a brighter future for all.


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Teachers increasingly embrace ChatGPT — students not so much

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According to a survey conducted by the Walton Family Foundation and Impact Research, the use of AI tools among teachers has seen a significant increase, growing 13 percentage points from winter to summer. The survey found that 63% of teachers are now using AI, up from 50% in February. On the other hand, student participation has also increased but at a slower pace, rising from 33% to 42% during the same period.

The survey results revealed that a large majority of teachers (84%) who have used ChatGPT reported that the AI technology has positively impacted their classes. As the use of AI in education continues to grow, Common Sense Media announced plans to develop an in-depth AI ratings and reviews system to assess AI products used by children and educators on responsible AI practices and other factors.

The article also mentions that while some districts have blocked ChatGPT and other AI-powered tools, others are exploring how the technology can improve education workplace practices. As interest and use intensify, many education professionals are searching for guidance and credible sources of information on ways to safely and effectively incorporate AI.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Scraft – An AI Writing Tutor for Language Learners

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In a recent study conducted by researchers at Columbia University, a prototype AI writing-support tool named Scraft has been developed. This tool is designed to aid writing education by using recursive feedback mechanisms to encourage critical thinking.

Scraft is not just a simple text-generating AI; it’s a sophisticated tool that asks Socratic questions to users and provides personalized feedback throughout the writing process. This approach is designed to stimulate critical thinking and improve writing skills by engaging the writer in a recursive process of reflection and revision.

The researchers conducted a preliminary study with 15 students to evaluate the effectiveness of Scraft. The results indicated that the recursive feedback provided by Scraft was helpful in improving the students’ writing skills. However, the participants also noted that the feedback was sometimes factually incorrect and lacked context. This highlights the challenges of developing AI tools that can provide accurate and contextually appropriate feedback.

The researchers argue that AI writing-support tools should focus on preserving the recursive and thought-provoking nature of writing. This means that the AI should not just correct grammar and spelling errors, but also engage the writer in a dialogue that encourages reflection and revision.

Scraft could be particularly beneficial for multilingual learners. It can provide immediate, personalized feedback, which can be especially helpful for those who are learning English as a second language and may not have access to a human tutor. The Socratic questioning approach used by Scraft can also help multilingual learners to think critically in English, which is an important skill for academic writing.

However, it’s important to note that Scraft is still a prototype and further research is needed to improve its accuracy and contextual understanding. Despite these challenges, the development of Scraft represents an exciting step forward in the use of AI in education.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

How Teachers Are Using ChatGPT in Class

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Larry Ferlazzo shares a round-up of educators who share their unique experiences incorporating AI tools like ChatGPT into their teaching methods.

Mary Beth Hertz, a high school teacher, leverages AI to educate her students about the nuances and biases inherent in artificial intelligence. She encourages her students to interact with ChatGPT, fostering a deeper understanding of AI’s strengths and limitations. In her entrepreneurship class, ChatGPT is used as a tool to refine mission statements and business pitch language.

Paul Wilkinson, a teacher of secondary English and social studies, employs AI to devise learning challenges for his students and provide them with comprehensive feedback. He uses AI to create curriculum-based content, formulate rubrics, and offer personalized feedback to each student. He also designed a reflection assignment to enhance students’ metacognitive skills.

Mick McMurray, a teacher specializing in marketing and entrepreneurship, uses ChatGPT as an assistant for student assignments. He crafted a series of ChatGPT prompts for a high school marketing class project, leading to an engaging “choose your own adventure” reading experience for the students.

Of course, the article underscores that while the use of generative AI in K-12 settings is still emerging, it holds the potential to boost student creativity, enhance writing skills, and provide students with a clear understanding of AI’s limitations. The educators involved believe that when used wisely, AI tools can serve as valuable partners in the learning journey.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!