Thursday, June 5, 2014

12 in 2014 - Over Halfway Done!

In January I started my personal 12 Books for 2014 challenge in order to get myself to read more of the nonfiction I always plan to read but never quite get to. I have recently crossed three more off my list!

First, I finished Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley.  It is a book written by the FLY Lady about organizing and cleaning your home.  The book actually seems to be aimed at people whose homes are total disasters.  Since I personally feel super edgy and antsy if there is too much clutter or disorder around me, my house has never been THAT bad.  I just haven't been as good about housework since moving in with my dad.  Despite not really being the target audience, I did still find it an interesting read.  She has all sorts of time saving tips and ways to organize your cleaning.  The routines make a lot of sense and I've started "swishing and swiping the bathrooms" most days of the week now.  I've also reorganized where I store my cleaning supplies to make them easier to use.  I think the biggest reason I liked the book is her attitude!  The author focuses on cleaning (and everything else) as a way to bless yourself and your family.  As a self-diagnosed perfectionist, it was good for me to continually read that "it doesn't have to be perfect," and doing a partial job is better than not doing anything at all.  It is a good lesson I will need to work hard to remember.  Anyway, I am glad I read it and will probably pass it along to a couple of friends.  I think it is a good read for most anyone, regardless of their current level of home organization!

I also, FINALLY, finished A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawkin.  Only took me about a year!  It wasn't that I didn't like the book, because I did.  I find the ideas in it very interesting (science nerd alert).  However, I often read while watching Xander play in the back yard, or other little snatches of time when he's around.  For this book, however, I needed to be able to focus my attention.  Some of the concepts are counter intuitive (anti-particles, imaginary time, etc.).  I'm glad I read it and feel like having the exposure will make me a better science teacher, I just wouldn't necessarily recommend it to someone wanting some light reading.  )And I think I'll wait a little while before I read The Universe in a Nutshell).
The third book I finished was The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller.  To be honest, I was a little uncertain about this book.  I have a child who was reading by age two.  He LOVES to read.  On more than one occasion I've caught him sneaking books into bed and reading instead of sleeping.  I wasn't sure that the book would offer me very much valuable information, but I am so glad I chose to read it anyway!  I really enjoyed it and got through it really quickly.  

I really enjoy the whole approach the author takes to reading.  She focuses on teaching students read, not so that they have the skill, but as a means to accessing the wonderful, enlightening, enjoyable experience that is pleasure reading.  True students have to learn to decode text and extract information, but why not teach them to love reading in the process?  So much of what she says is something I already believed, just hadn't necessarily put into words or thought about consciously.  The book is actually designed for language arts teachers, but as a science teacher, I found myself trying to find ways to incorporate some of the methods into my own classroom.  I would recommend it to teachers (of any subject) or even parents who want to improve their children's reading experience.  I'd also love to hear how anyone else has incorporated some of these ideas outside a language arts classroom setting.

My Twelve Books for 2014
In no particular order:
1.  The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller
2.  Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky
3.  Design Make Play by Margaret Honey 
4.  Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov
5.  The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Champan
6.  Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood by William Pollack   (Stopped Reading)
6.  Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
7.  Sparks of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World's Most Creative People by Robert S. Root-Bernstein
8.  Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
9.  Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley
10.  A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
11.  Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life by Gretchen Rubin
12.  Beyond Snapshots: How to Take That Fancy DSLR Camera Off "Auto" and Photograph Your Life Like a Pro by Rachel Devine

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