Top Five Radical Reads of 2018

One of my favorite things about the end of December and the beginning of January are the summaries that bloggers share with their networks detailing the posts that drew the most attention in digital spaces.  By pulling the best pieces to the forefront, they make it easy for me to quickly find important thoughts that I missed in my feed reader during the course of the year.

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Since 2011, I’ve done the same here on the Radical, spotlighting the five posts that had the highest number of page views during the previous calendar year.  

For 2018, those posts were:

Are You Monitoring Your Relationships with Your Students?   –  One of the things that I’ve become the most passionate about over the last few years is the importance of building strong relationships with our students.  Here’s why:  Students aren’t going to invest in our learning spaces if they don’t believe we care about them.

But here’s the thing:  While we all SAY relationships matter, we actually DO very little to make sure that every child feels that they have a connection to the important adults in their building.  That’s changing for me this year.  I’m surveying my kids regularly just to be sure that they feel noticed and appreciated too — a process that I describe in this post.

A Note to My Child’s Teacher.  –  For those of you who don’t know, I have a nine year old daughter who is my whole entire world.  But she’s never been good at playing the game of school — and she’s never been appreciated by any of her classroom teachers.  That’s had incredibly negative effects on her as a learner.  She doesn’t like school, she doesn’t feel like she is welcome in school, and she doesn’t believe that she can do well in school.

So I wrote an open letter to her teacher at the beginning of the school year asking him to give her a chance because she deserved one.  That’s what you will see here — and as you read it, I want you to think about whether or not you have a challenging kid who could use your support.  EVERY kid deserves that.

(Oh — and by the way, my kid hit the jackpot.  Mr. Z is amazing and my kid finally feels like she belongs. THAT has been the highlight of the year for me.)

Four Tips for a New Administrator from an Old Teacher. — After twenty five years of full time teaching, I’ve seen it ALL when it comes to school leaders.  I’ve worked for folks who were inspiring and who motivated everyone around them.  I’ve worked for folks who were authoritarians, demanding that everything be done when and how they wanted it done.  I’ve worked for folks who were “faking it until they could make it” and others who were just plain faking it.

So when a young friend of mine reached out for advice after landing her first job as an administrator, I was more than happy to give her a bit of advice on how to influence people who have been working in classrooms since before she was born!

Writing Student Friendly Learning Goals — One of the things that I’m proudest of here on the Radical is that I am often sharing ways to take philosophical ideas and make them more practical.  That’s exactly what you will get in this post, where I explain the reasoning behind posting your objective on your board each day — and then show you a way that I do that own work in my classroom.

The best part of this post:  It’s a DECADE old!  Literally wrote it in 2008.  And it STILL appears year after year on this “Top Five Posts” list.  That means it resonates, y’all.  So give it a read.

Technology is a Tool, Not a Learning Outcome  —  Another post that appears on this list year after year is this bit, which shares my take on the role that technology should play in our classrooms.  It’s thinking that still drives me today — that when we fail to put pedagogy first in our decisions, we make crappy decisions!

If you dig this bit, you might also like the updated version of the graphic inside the post, which I published back in March.  You might also dig this bit, which goes into more detail about the notion that technology is a tool, not a learning outcome.

Some of my favorite posts of the year didn’t make it into the top five.  Give ’em a look, though.  You’ll get a sense for who I am as both a person and professional:

The Perfect Response to a Child’s Misbehavior

Lead Smarter Tip Five:  Quit Dismissing the “Negative” People in Your School

Five Tips for Giving More Meaningful Feedback to Students

I’m Not Google Certified.  Does That Make Me a Bad Teacher?

Strong Relationships with Students Matter.  Here’s How.

In the end, 2018 has been nothing short of a wild ride — filled with new opportunities, new instructional experiments and new lessons learned, both personally and professionally.

Through it all, Radical Nation has been there — reading and reflecting and challenging and questioning.  For that, I continue to be incredibly grateful.  Here’s to hoping that you’ll stick with me into 2018.  I’d miss you if you were gone.



Related Radical Reads:

Top Five Radical Reads of 2017

Top Five Radical Reads of 2016

Top Five Radical Reads of 2015

Top Five Radical Reads of 2014

Top Five Radical Reads of 2013

Top Five Radical Reads of 2012

Top Five Radical Reads of 2011

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