Wrap up

January Wrap Up


How We Learn

By: Benedict Carey

As a new teacher, I found How We Learn to be incredibly insightful and practical. This book was not written for educators alone, but for anyone interested in learning and growing their intellectual understanding.

Carey discusses several topics such as why forgetting is important for remembering, why changing your study space increases retention, and how sleep can be the ultimate player in learning. These are just a few of the topics Carey has touched on in his book, but a few of my favorites.

Not only does Carey discuss learning topics as they apply to every day life, but he supports his discussion with research studies. Reading about the research studies helped me to understand the WHY behind his conclusions on each topic.

The most valuable aspect of the book for me was the idea that as educators, we continue to use the same methods for teaching study skills when psychology research has shown that other methods are more valuable and effective. I definitely marked several pages in this book for future reference!



By Raquel J. Palacio

Wonder was given to me as a Christmas gift from my husband this past year as I was starting to read more and more YA books. As many of you know, he manages a bookmobile and he said every time he mentions Wonder to a teacher, they simple rave about the book! Wonder is also on the reading list for many elementary students.

If you looked up the words “sweet,” “conquer,” and “book” in the same search, Wonder would appear. The book is about a young boy with a facial deformity who enters school and faces difficulties trying to make friends and just make it through this new stage of life. The story also includes chapter perspectives from his friends and sister.

I don’t want to give away too much, but if you are interested in reading about the love that grows within friendships through trials and the defeat of bullying, this book is for you!


Essential: Essays by the Minimalists

By Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus

Since the beginning of 2017, I have become almost obsessed with everything minimalist! I’ve read about minimalism in the past, but over the last few months I’ve just felt overwhelmed by everything happening in our lives. There’s just too much noise, including social media, work, to-do lists, future plans, etc. Something had to give.

I started listening to The Minimalist podcast and reading their blog and I was inspired to start my own minimalist journey (I think my husband is on board too, but he’s already a natural minimalist).

I used to love shopping, just for the sake of shopping. It was like buying one more thing was going to satisfy me and bring me the joy I was searching for. I didn’t even realize what I was doing. It was a total waste of money and space in our lives. Now that I’ve cut back on the noise, I’ve been able to read more, cook healthier meals, spend more quality time with my husband, and focus on creating rather than consuming.

This book is a collection of the essays the Minimalists have on their blog. Many topics are addressed including stuff, technology, relationships, and mindfulness. It’s an easy read and very intriguing. They have a few other books I’m interested in exploring as well.

While reading, you will start purging your closets and life of all things that don’t bring you happiness or purpose. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve donated around four SUV loads of STUFF. But the most important thing is I haven’t been shopping just to shop. In order to go to the store (or Amazon), I have to have a specific need in mind or it just doesn’t interest me anymore.

It’s an amazing feeling – an honest life change.


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

By J.K. Rowling

It’s HARRY POTTER – what more needs to be said??

Well, this was the most disappointing HP book of the series.

I’m reading my husband’s HP copies from his childhood for the FIRST TIME. I read the first book in the series in 2016 and was slightly entertained. I gave up on it for awhile… then decided I needed to keep pushing through as I’ve been told by my husband and students that the books get so much better AFTER book #2.

Book two was difficult to finish as my curiosity wasn’t 100% there, but I was intrigued enough to move onto book #3 and my oh my…


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

By J.K. Rowling

Whhhhaaattt…. just happened?

Book #3 of the HP series was incredible. The writing of J.K. Rowling and the wonders of Hogwarts kept my interest until the very end when POW the action hits you! I was awake until 2:00AM on a school night finishing this book. So many twists and turns that you never could have foreseen.

It was amazing. I’ve already started book #4 and even though it’s around 700 pages, I don’t care because the story is fascinating and so hygge (my new favorite word).



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