Monday, March 4, 2019

What R U RDG? Triple Threat Nonfiction!

My preference is fiction, right now I have been binge reading fantasy- fairies, warlocks, and dragons.  I have been, however, reading nonfiction with my ears on the way to work. It's kind of dangerous, because I like to take notes.  Let's be real. I was reading and writing while driving way before cell phones were a thing.  My favorite type of nonfiction is what I describe as triple threat in that it applies to my personal life, my teacher life and my work as a leader.

I picked up Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee over the winter break because I have been on a mission to build more joyful spaces in my work place--the teacher's lunchroom, the computer labs, the teacher bathrooms. It's been a slow mission at best.  I'm not into decorating. I'm more into utilitarian than fancy or even matching. I don't have a budget.  I am an army of one and it is not my most pressing work mission.  It sounds like a project that I could hand over to some students.  

I learned about the joyful principles of space.  The most memorable for me is the power of the circle.  Stop for a moment and think of all the fun things associated that have the shape of a circle............donuts, a ferris wheel, balloons, bubbles, balls, for me, a frisbee. Classrooms are angular spaces with 4 corners and desks.  What are the ways we can soften those corners?  In France, a fashion designer lives in a bubble house with no corners. In Japan,  you can spend a night in a space that intentionally does not have even floors. It's built to surprise your senses.  Some of the ideas are easily doable. Some are just interesting to dream about.

I also highly recommend When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink.  Timing is everything and Pink certainly lets the reader know when its best to start something and how to get over the midpoint slump.  I love that the research here applies to every aspect of my life. It really points to the idea that we should start thinking about the When of things not just the who, what's and where's.  I also love his storytelling. It engages the reader.  Pink answers some of the following questions:  
  • How do you best begin?
    • High School Start Times!
    • Peaks-Troughs-Rebounds
  • How should you take a break?  
    • Nappucino's anyone?
    • Micro, Restorative or Vigilance
  • What's your chronotype?  
    • Lark, owl or third-bird
  • How do we elevate endings?
  • How should we really time our feedback?
  • How do we really get groups to work?
I have been trying to practice a few principles to my personal and work life such as the power of mirror neurons which is key to syncing a group.  I have also been more intentional in taking breaks and building breaks into my classroom.  There are guidelines for taking an impactful breaks and I can tell you that we don't take enough of them.  This is book that I can come back to because there is so much jam-packed into it to learn and practice.  

If you are a leader working to build successful groups, in school culture, for myself, I think of my students and PLCs, The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups  by Daniel Coyle is a great place to help you evaluate your work and revise some of your practices.  This is the book that I am currently reading.  I will be sure to update you about it when I'm done.  

What are you reading that you are excited about?



  1. Omg I'm so picking these up over the weekend! V interested in the first one, space is super important and I'm not one to be able to stick to a theme (that's why I always flip out when I go to Kim's room). Definitely want to learn how to make my spaces more comfy and enjoyable. Side note; I'm always so much in awe at how many books you read at once. Where do you find the time???

    1. I read every night before bed which could end up being 10 minutes to an hour or two. Also listen listen in the care.

  2. Just started reading Culture Code yesterday. I’m adding Joyful to my list. :)

  3. Circles are the ultimate shape! Thanks for the book recs!


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