Welcome to the holidays everyone!
I know some of you broke up a week or more ago and others only on Friday, but I do hope everyone is having very well-earned break by now.
Resting your body and brain, and doing things you just don’t usually have time for, should hopefully take greater priority now (for at least a bit?). I’m planning on writing a number of blogs to share with you in the next couple of weeks and wanted to start by recommending some ‘holiday reading’…
Reading is something many of us do just before we go to sleep but perhaps more rarely whilst we’re properly awake. Our busy lives make it feel like a luxury we can’t afford ‘I can’t just sit down and read – are you kidding??’ However, if you can find ten minutes (I call it a ‘cup of coffee read’) and see it as an essential investment in yourself, then amazing things can begin too happen.
Very recently, an inspiring teacher who is just about to take on her first headship, and whom I met through training and have worked with over a number of years, sent me an email on just how much this matters :
‘You opened me up to the world of reading educational books and different ways of thinking. If it wasn’t for that step in the right direction, I don’t think I would have been applying for or have been appointed for the headship. So thank you so much.
So here goes…
‘Why We Sleep’ by Matthew Walker
I picked this book up at my favourite bookshop; the one in the Wellcome Gallery very near Euston Station. If you’ve never visited this wonderful (free) museum, bookshop and cafe perhaps put it on your list for your next trip to London. You won’t be disappointed. It’s a bookshop with a difference.
On my last visit I came away with no less than three new books and this was one of them.
Honestly; it’s absorbing, fascinating and absolutely terrifying. I will NEVER think about sleep the same way again. A must read for everyone.
‘Black Box Thinking’ by Matthew Syed
I finished this book and then began reading it all over again; it’s that good. The subject fundamentally deals with the hugely different ways the airline and healthcare industries deal with failure and the consequences on progress and, more importantly, peoples’ lives. The author’s style is so easy to read and understand, whilst communicating some huge ideas which are transferable across not only education, at every level, but all of our lives.
WARNING: You WILL keep reading/quoting bits of this book to others (so perhaps warn them in advance….!)
Maths Specific Recommendation
‘Mindset Mathematics’ by Jo Boaler, Jen Minson and Cathy Williams
As any of you that have trained with me will know, I’m passionate about getting children thinking for themselves and the HUGE potential gains this brings to progress in maths. Working more slowly, more connectedly, more collaboratively and with greater purpose builds positive mindsets, resilience and learners who feel immersed in mathematics. This series of books offer not only inspiration and ideas to work in this way but also step-by-step guidance on what each lesson sequence could look like. I meet a lot of teachers who want to change direction but are fearful and unsure of how to begin. This book is a great start.
Early Years Recommendation
‘Can I Go and Play Now?’ by Greg Bottrill
A fantastic book written by an author passionate about ‘real play, the, magic of childhood and putting children at the heart of their learning adventure’ . Gregg Bottrill is an Early Years Teacher and manager of a large EYFS unit in the UK and details in such simple, easy to read terms key ideas central to creating effective learning both indoors and out. Written in ‘bite-sized’ chunks, a perfect read for the holidays and one which will leave you totally energised for the new term.
Next: Follow up to ‘Why Book Scrutinies Don’t Work (in Maths).’ Working in school with teachers and their children on an alternative. What happened?
If you missed Parts 1 and 2 (on my blog page) I recommend you read these first.
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C Magnocavallo Head of Maths, Chesham Preparatory School, Bucks
Thank you for showing us HOW to change. So many courses just tell us what isn't working but not how to go about addressing this. Your approaches make so much sense!
Just to say thank you again for 3 really brilliant talks at SGIS. We're a small school near Basel and we’d be interested in anything you’re doing nearby (Zurich way) so please let us know!