What I am Reading Right Now: 9/27/14

  • The September 22, 2014 issue of Time

I try to stay up to date on my magazine subscriptions, but I often fall behind once the school year starts. This issue, however, I have made time to read. The cover story “Never Offline” by Lev Grossman and Matt Valla was exceptionally well written. They profile the new Apple Watch within the larger context of how technology is consistently creeping closer toward us as wearables. What’s next? The future is both bright and disturbing. The related articles are also worth reading.

  • The New York Times

I started subscribing back in July. They have an educator’s discount for digital editions Monday through Saturday, and the paper edition on Sunday. The local and state papers were fine, but I felt like I was missing out on a larger conversation, both informatively and culturally.

  • Educational Leadership, “Instruction That Sticks” (October 2014)

To be honest, I have just perused the titles of the articles when time has allowed at school. Every one looks excellent. Another principal in Wisconsin uses grant money to provide subscriptions of this educational journal for all of his staff. I can see why.

  • Teacher Rounds: A Guide to Collaborative Learning In and From Practice by Thomas Del Prete (Corwin, 2013)

This resource provided the template for visiting staff last year when they came to observe our teachers as part of a grant we received. Now I am reading through the entire text, before we move forward with our own teachers observing each other. Getting to this point has been a process, but the destination would not be attainable without building relationships and developing a culture of trust with staff first.

  • The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life, 10th Anniversary Edition by Parker J. Palmer (Jossey-Bass, 2007)

Our first meeting for the school year was facilitated by two Courage to Teach trainers. We didn’t look at new curriculum materials, discuss the assessment calendar, or introduce technology into our busy lives. Instead, we gathered at a shelter surrounded by woods and lake, wireless gladly absent, and reflected on why we became teachers in the first place. This led me to start reading the book this program was based on. With everything coming at us as educators, I cannot imagine a better time to remember why we do what we do.

  • Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan (Penguin, 2013)

I wish Michael Pollan cared as much about education has he does about gardening and food. He has a true passion for his subject – he lives it. When he writes about gardening, he gardens. When he writes about cooking, he cooks. Today’s educational journalists would be wise to emulate Pollan’s approach and actually teach a class or two before writing about what it is like to be a teacher.

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Crown, 2012)

You may have noticed that I read too much nonfiction. With that in mind, I have decided to try this title and recently read the first chapter. My wife highly recommended it. I can see why. The opening immediately sets the tone for the entire book (I am guessing, anyway). With the movie coming out soon, I will be interested in comparing both versions.

  • Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue: An Origami Yoda Book by Tom Angleberger (Harry N. Abrams, 2014)

I read aloud the first title in this series to my son. What a great story! He has proceeded to read all the subsequent titles up until this one. We were informed by a friend that there is a chapter that has some content that I may want to preview first. My son is only a second grader and reads about grade level, so he might not be ready for this content yet. I’ll have to determine that before letting him move on.

Author: Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is an 18-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th-grade teacher in Rudolph, WI. He now serves as an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District (http://mineralpointschools.org/). Matt also teaches online graduate courses in curriculum design and instructional leadership for the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD (www.ascd.org) and Lead Literacy (www.leadliteracy.com).

5 thoughts on “What I am Reading Right Now: 9/27/14”

  1. Thanks, Matt. I love hearing what others read and find worthwhile. I just finished James Dashner’s first book in The Mortality Doctrine series, The Eye Of Minds. With action that moved so well, the story delivered not only in Dashner style (after The Maze Runner series), but it led to an incredible ending. Your insights and recommendations are superb.


    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Lee. I have not read these titles. My wife said she enjoyed The Maze Runner. I will have to put these on my to-read list on Goodreads.


    1. Still catching up, but yes, it is nice to complete these titles. Gone Girl has kept me up at night, so hard to put down. I hope to finish it tonight.


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