What to Read in 2018

Posted in Uncategorized on January 21st, 2018 by dkerr

So yesterday I turned the beautiful age of 48, and with that came my yearly gift from my incredible wife…money for books! You see, we have this deal that I’ve written about before, whereby I get to order books each year on my birthday, and if I finish them all before my next birthday then I get more money to do it all again…awesome! Anyway, I finished my last book from 2017 just a few weeks ago, and I’ve spent the last month or so compiling my birthday list for 2018…I’ve pored over book reviews and on-line articles, I’ve combed through book stores, and I’ve asked around for recommendations from friends and colleagues from all around the world, and I now have a preliminary list of 15 books that I’m super excited to read…see below.

I’ll order these in the next week or so, and my goal of course is to finish them in the upcoming year. I’m encouraging all of you to take a few minutes this week to look through these titles, and to order one (or five, or ten) that resonate with you…or, do your own search and share those titles with me please so I can add them to my list. The suggestions below revolve around my favorite themes of education, leadership, creativity, innovation, and culture building, with an overarching focus on becoming a better person for our world through a few small, simple, and powerful life changes. Happy reading in 2018 everyone, and let me know if you have a suggestion or two of your own so I can get them into my shopping cart. A good book can be transformative in so many ways as you know, so please take the time…I promise you it will be time well spent. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other…Happy reading!


Quote of the week…

Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you!

– Carlos Ruiz Zafon


Great At Work – Morten T. Hansen

The Culture Code – Daniel Coyle

When – Daniel H. Pink

Powerful – Patty McCord

The Vibrant Workplace – Dr. Paul White

Thinking in Bets – Annie Duke

When the Adults Change, Everything Changes – Paul Dix

The Innovation Code – Jeff DeGraff

Who Are You, Really? – Brian R. Little

Creativity Rules – Tina Seelig

The Power of Moments – Chip and Dan Heath

Radical Inclusion – Martin Dempsey

The Case Against Education – Bryan Caplan

Rethinking School – Susan Wise Bauer

Teaching as a Subversive Activity – Neil Postman (Published in 1969, still very relevant today however)

Clean Slates

Posted in Uncategorized on January 14th, 2018 by dkerr
So we’re already two weeks into 2018 and I have to say, it’s really fun to be back with the kids. The holiday break was fantastic for sure, and like many of you I feel rested and ready to tackle the second semester, with the palpable excitement of building on the first half of the year. I love this time of the year honestly because we’re so set up now to make a real impact in the lives of our students, and if we get it right, the next few months will be arguably the most important ones of the year for learning. You see, after 5 months we now truly know our kids, we know each other, we’ve settled into our school imperatives, and we’ve reflected on our practice leading up to this point. January always feels like a clean slate for me, and the month that can absolutely influence the year in incredibly powerful ways.

I’ve written before about the idea of New Year’s “reflections” instead of New year’s resolutions, and my feeling is that if we look back critically at how we ended the year (first semester) it can help authentically shape the realistic ways that we can best move forward. In my opinion, there is nothing harder than changing either professional practice or personal habit, and there is nothing easier than letting a New Year’s resolution go unfulfilled. To really make a difference in our lives, and in the lives of our kids, it’s going to take some honest reflections and some discipline. We can either make the changes in our lives that we want, and that are needed, or we can fall into the trap of complacency and routine. That’s the opportunity that we have as we begin the new semester, and what an opportunity it is.

I spent a good portion of my holiday reflecting (and eating), and I’ve identified some areas in my life and in my professional practice that could use some attention. I’ve set some second semester goals for myself and I’ve talked about these openly and I’ve written them down. Of course, it’s one thing to talk about them and a very different thing to actually put them into action. I want to start communicating more effectively, I want to start giving more to others in need, I want to do better for our environment, I want to stop worrying so much about my first world problems, and I want to find more courage to help make the changes in our school that are needed to drive our imperatives forward…this is the month to start, and this is the time to start decorating that clean slate.

I want to challenge all of you over the next couple of weeks to take some time to reflect (if you haven’t already) on the first semester, and to identify some areas that can make you better versions of yourselves. Identify them, talk to someone about them, write them down and find the discipline to make them a reality. January is a busy month in schools and it’s no different for us, so use the upcoming professional development conversations to jump start your year, and set you on the path to change. Take advantage of this opportunity everyone…this clean slate month of January, and make 2018 your best year to date. Happy New Year and happy decorating…bring those clean slates to life! Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. Here’s my favorite New year’s poem for you to contemplate…


Life I am the New Year.

I am an unspoiled page in your book of time.
I am your next chance at the art of living.
I am your opportunity to practice what you have learned about a life of reflection and giving.

All that you sought and didn’t find is hidden in me,
waiting for you to search it out with more determination.
All the good that you tried for and didn’t achieve
is mine to grant when you have fewer conflicting desires.
All that you dreamed but didn’t dare to do, all that you hoped but did not will,
All the faith that you claimed but did not have —
these slumber lightly, waiting to be awakened
by the touch of a strong purpose.

I am your opportunity
to renew your allegiance to a life fulfilled
I am the New Year.

— Author Unknown

Quote of the Week…

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice

– T.S Eliot


Related Articles –

An Academic’s New Year’s Resolutions

My New Year’s Resolutions

Education Post – New Year

The Global Search for Education

New Year, New You


Inspiring Videos to begin the New Year –

Oprah’s Golden Globe Speech

A 27 Year Old’s Advice to the World

An Incredible Gift

Against Discrimination 

Knowing Our Kids (A Goal of Mine)