Summer Reading Suggestions
Here is a list of suggested reading by written by CMK 2010 faculty or recommended by them.
Whether you can join us July 12-15th or not, learning is a lifelong pursuit fueled by the powerful ideas and joy contained within the pages of the following books!
Constructing Modern Knowledge attempts to bring math, science, engineering and the arts to life through creative computing, authentic inquiry and project-based learning. This year, Dr. James Loewen, author of the bestselling books, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your High School History Textbook Got Wrong and Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong will help participants learn history by learning to be historians!
His most recent book, Teaching What Really Happened: How to Avoid the Tyranny of Textbooks and Get Students Excited About Doing History, is a critically important addition to any professional library and teacher bag of tricks!
Alfie Kohn has written some of the most popular, provocative and acclaimed books about education in the past quarter century. Alfie Kohn writes and speaks widely on human behavior, education, and parenting. The latest of his eleven books are The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing (2006) and Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason (2005). Of his earlier titles, the best known are Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes (1993), No Contest: The Case Against Competition (1986), and The Schools Our Children Deserve: Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and “Tougher Standards” (1999).
Perhaps most exciting of all, two riveting hour-long presentations by Alfie are now available on one low-cost DVD. No Grades + No Homework = Better Learning allows you take Alfie Kohn home with you after CMK 2010 and share him with your colleagues!
Legendary school teacher, principal, reformer, activist and blogger, MacArthur Genius Deborah Meier had a new book just released, Playing for Keeps: Life and Learning on a Public School Playground. This book should be on your shelf next to her classics, The Power of Their Ideas: Lessons for America from a Small School in Harlem and In Schools We Trust: Creating Communities of Learning in an Era of Testing and Standardization.
Pete loves chilren’s books so much, he owns his own children’s bookstore, The Blue Bunny.
|Dr. Cynthia Solomon|
In addition to being a veteran educator, researcher and one of the three inventors of the Logo programming language, she has written two important books on computers and learning! Cynthia’s doctoral research at Harvard led to the publication of the critical book, Computer Environments for Children: A Reflection on Theories of Learning and Education. Cynthia Solomon is also the co-author of Designing Multimedia Environments for Children, with Allison Drum.
I can’t imagine Constructing Modern Knowledge without Cynthia’s generosity of spirit!
Read all about the Constructing Modern Knowledge 2010 faculty here
Brian recommended the following ecclectic collection of books.
The Mind’s I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self & Soul by Douglas R. Hofstadter & Daniel C. Dennett
A collection of essays about the philosophy of mind. Some are amusing, others profound, several are both.
He, She, and It by Marge Piercy
An artificial intelligence robot love story told from a Jewish feminist perspective. Amazingly it works. It reads like something that could have been co-authored by Marvin Minsky and Margaret Atwood.
The Recursive Universe: Cosmic Complexity and the Limits of Scientific Knowledge by William Poundstone
The book starts by describing Conway’s Game of Life. Then uses the game as a metaphor to explore a collection of interesting topics in math, physics, and information theory.
Machinery of Life by David Goodsell
A molecular biology picture book. It gives a gentle but thorough introduction to the molecules that are the construction kit that living things are made of.
On Education by Betrand Russell
Bertrand Russell’s riff on Mindstorms. It was written a couple of years before Seymour Papert was born and foreshadows many of his ideas.
John said, “The first two have been favorites for some time; the rest of the list is current reading.”
Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood by Oliver Sachs
Oliver’s mother gave him a cadaver for his birthday. The Wright Brothers visited his home when they were in London. Oliver tried to relive the joy of discovery by reproducing the experiments of Humphrey Davey. The book is filled with chemicals that when mixed explode.
The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance by Henry Petroski
The history of how the pencil came to be and the history of engineering in the U.S., i.e., the Erie Canal, the first engineering schools in the 1850’s, etc.
Infinite Ascent: A Short History of Mathematics by David Belinski
A history of mathematics, Euclid, Euler, all the greats …
Astronomical Sketching: A Step-by-Step Introduction by Erika Rix
Some of my students have followed the guidelines in this book and published their sketches at the Astronomy Sketch of the Day website
The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance by Ron Chernow
Yes, Louisiana and Florida defaulted on bonds (issued in London) during the 1840’s. One of Morgan’s board members advocated for socialism. How did we get into the current banking mess? Read this book.
Painting Chinese: A Lifelong Teacher Gains the Wisdom of Youth by Herb Kohl
A gorgeous meditation on learning, teaching and life by one of the world’s great educators and education writers!
The Children’s Machine: Rethinking School In The Age Of The Computer & The Connected Family: Bridging the Digital Generation Gap by Seymour Papert
You can’t think about thinking with computers without being well-versed in the wisdom of Seymour Papert!
The Book of Learning and Forgetting by Frank Smith
One of the best books ever written about learning…
Teaching as Story Telling: : An Alternative Approach to Teaching and Curriculum in the Elementary School by Kieran Egan
An overlooked classic that should be part of any creative teacher’s library
|Dr. Gary Stager|
Making Learning Whole: How Seven Principles of Teaching Can Transform Education by David Perkins
A critically important book for curriculum planners and teachers – a much more thoughtful alternative to the much more pedestrian and coercive Understanding by Design
Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities by Jason Shiga
An absolutely gorgeous, fascinating and fun choose-your-own adventure book in the form of a graphic novel
A Schoolmaster of the Great City: A Progressive Education Pioneer’s Vision for Urban Schools by Angelo Patri
This book identifies and SOLVES every problem facing public education today. Oh yeah, Patri published this book in 1917! An amazing read!
To Teach: The Journey in Comics by Bill Ayers
Bill Ayer’s classic tale of teaching republished as a graphic novel
HowToons: The Possibilties are Endless by Saul Griffith
Wicked cool science experiments and engineering projects for kids presented in cartoon form.
In Dialogue with Reggio Emilia: Listening, Researching and Learning by Carlina Rinaldi (President of Reggio Children and Director of the Loris Malaguzzi International Center in Reggio Emilia, Italy)
There are many fabulous books that help you learn from the innovations of the educators in Reggio Emilia, Italy. (list here) This book is so heavy, you can read and re-read it for years to come!
Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World by Mark Frauenfelder
The Editor of Make Magazine shares his DIY adventures, the values of tinkering and learning to learn.
Number Freak: From 1 to 200- The Hidden Language of Numbers Revealed by Derrick Niederman
You might think of this as an exciting biography of numbers!
Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share by Ken Denmead
Cool modern high and low-tech projects you can do with your kids
Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do) by Gever Tulley
The Society of Mind by Marvin Minsky
Dr. Marvin Minsky’s seminal book
The Emotion Machine by Marvin Minsky
Dr. Marvin Minsky’s most recent book on artificial intelligence
Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope by Jonathan Kozol
Kozol has published countless gems, but this book moves me in incalcuable ways. This may be his most beautiful book.
El Sistema: Music to Changes Life (DVD)
Theere be no more exciting youth movement in the world than Venezuela’s El Sistema. This film will remind you of the potential in each child and make you want to sing, dance and change the world.
Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character) by Richard Feynman
This may be the only great ROTFL “beach read” by a Nobel Laureate for Physics you’ll ever read. I have given countless copies away as gifts to teenagers, colleagues and even grandparents!
Landon Carter’s Uneasy Kingdom: Revolution and Rebellion on a Virginia Plantation by Rhys Isaac
My Aussie friend, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History, recreates life in Colonial America through the diaries and artifacts of a Virginia plantation owner.
The Next Fifty Years: Science in the First Half of the Twenty-First Century by John Brockman
Provocative thinkers and great scientists speculate about how life and science may change by 2050
History in the Making: An Absorbing Look at How American History Has Changed in the Telling Over the Last 200 Years by Kyle Roy Ward
What we may not know or understand incorrectly about US History.
Not Written in Stone: Learning and Unlearning American History Through 200 Years of Textbooks by Kyle Roy Ward
A classroom edition of “History in the Making”
American History Revised: 200 Startling Facts That Never Made It into the Textbooks by Seymour Morris Jr.
Another book about the wonders of history
Read all about the Constructing Modern Knowledge 2010 faculty here
Be sure to explore many more recommended books and resources for creative educators at Thc Constructivist Consortium Bookstore!
Learn more about The Constructivist Consortium!
Veteran educator Gary Stager, Ph.D. is co-author of Invent To Learn — Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, publisher at Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, and the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. He led professional development in the world’s first 1:1 laptop schools thirty years ago and designed one of the oldest online graduate school programs. Gary is also the curator of The Seymour Papert archives at DailyPapert.com. Learn more about Gary here.