Currents: Listens and Reads, Summer Part I.

It’s the SWEET summertime which means that even though we still work, our hours are adjusted which leaves lots and lots of time for reading! Also, since it is summer, I try to do a good mix of read/watch/listen for both professional growth and frivolity.

Reads (so far): 

Memoirs & Inspiration

Wolfpack by Abby Wambach: I listened to and read this short text about leadership, having a strong pack, and changing the world. I recommend this book to basically anyone in life transition and leadership.

The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates: I read this on the recommendation of several friends. She lays out the work that the Gates Foundation has done across the world to empower communities of women and weaves her own journey for fighting for global equality.

The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey: In a series of quotes and vignettes, thought leaders from around the globe share their wisdom for the journey of life.

The Truths We Hold by Senator Kamala Harris: I didn’t know much about Senator Harris other than she had been the AG of California before becoming Senator. I was very curious to know more about her and enjoyed listening to her memoir. It gave me insight into her deep fight for housing equality and social justice reform.

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown: I started this book last fall and finished it via audio but went back to finish annotating the hard copy over the last few weeks. It took me a long time to digest and I’m not entirely done reflecting on a lot of the questions that Sister Brené asks, particularly at the end of the book. Pair the reading of this book with watching her Netflix special, tell me which portion resonated with you the most and I’ll point you to one of her other books for a deeper dive into that particular thinking.

Nerdy Teacher Books

Developing Assessment Capable Visible Learners by John Hattie, Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher: This book provides such deep clarity for the pedagogical philosophy that is embedded in the work we do at Trinity. It has provided validation for what I truly believe about learning and students and the adults who facilitate learning. It has a perfect blend of research (effect size, anyone?) and practical approach.

Mechanically Inclined by Jeff Anderson: I have preached for years against grammar instruction in isolation (oh and so has NCTE, since about 1936…) but this book provides both theoretical and practical approaches to integration grammar and mechanics into Writer’s Workshop models. Combine it with his Patterns of Power and what more could you need? (More time, yes, I know, more time.)

The Art of Coaching Teams by Elena Aguilar: This book is so jam-packed with goodness, I don’t even know how to say thank you to Elena for such a great resource. While my job is to coach the leaders who work with the teams, this book offers powerful stories and scenarios that we all face as leaders of adults. Additionally, it has practical and tested protocols and strategies to build strong functioning teams focused on student learning. A must read for school administrators, instructional coaches, and team leads.

Books for My Students

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis: Parallelling Bud, Not Buddy, this beautifully told story of Deza Malone and her family. I simply love the relationships within this family and the deep love that they have for one another.

To Night Owl from Dogfish by Meg Wolitzer and Holly Goldberg Sloan: What a delightful book in the form of emails between to girls who grow from animosity to family. From two of my favorite authors, Meg Wolitzer (The Interestings) and Holly Goldberg Sloan (Counting by 7’s)

The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley: The follow-up to The War That Saved My Life, we return to our narrator, Ada, as she lives, loves, and learns in the heart of World War II.

Boys on the Boat-Young Readers Edition by Daniel James Brown: I have had the “real” version of this on my shelf for years, but was coaxed to pick this one up as we re-envision our Sixth Grade humanities curriculum to include a great deal of non-fiction for our students. I gobbled this story of the creation of the 1936 Olympic Men’s 8. My deep love for crew and history were fed in this adaptation for young (11-13ish) readers.


Dragons by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors featuring The Lone Bellow: I’ve heard this live but now I can finally hear it on repeat!

Sings His Sad Heart by Matt Nathanson: I heard him live a few weeks ago, opening for Indigo Girls, and was immediately smitten with his turn of phrase and folksy-pop melodies.


The Weekly from The New York Times: A deep dive docuseries. I found the episode on the TM Landry School corruption to be fascinating and heartbreaking.

Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable on Netflix: I was watching the David Letterman Netflix interview with Ellen and they mentioned this special so I paused it and watched it. I’m so glad I did; it was hilarious, beautiful, and a reminder that goodness exists in the world.

Dead to Me on Netflix: I wasn’t expecting the storyline of this from the start, but this short series was rich with character, twists, and emotional roller coasters. As a life-long fan of Christina Applegate, I highly recommend it. (If you are new to your grief process, you might consider waiting a little bit, but five years in, I felt it was just fine.)



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