I love books… I’ve written a few books… And I read all the time… But I know reading books isn’t the only way to learn something new. So if you’re looking for an idea to replace a traditional teacher book club, I have four to share with you.

In today’s blog post, we’ll look at why you might want to replace your teacher book club, the alternatives, and how you can get started with a few recommendations. For example, you might call your group something different than a “book club,” like a “Short From Study Group.” Or you might use the strategies in today’s blog post within a PLC or grade-level team.

Replacing You Teacher Book Club

Before we jump into the replacements, and some alternatives to learning from teacher books, let’s tackle the question: Why might you consider replacing a traditional teacher book club this school year? Although your answer to this question might be different, here are two reasons you might want to avoid 

It’s not the only way to learn

If you receive my free weekly newsletter, you know I love to read. I often share a book I just finished and links to an audiobook I enjoyed. Reading is a great way to learn something new, but it’s not the only way to learn. Although I haven’t added TikTok to the list below, I’ve learned quick tips from videos on that app and Instagram. And if you’ve attended a workshop with me, you might have seen one of my favorite Ted-Ed videos, which is another excellent platform for learning new facts.

It could be too much to ask

A book club is great when you have time to participate; that doesn’t just mean having a book club meeting scheduled on the calendar. If you are hosting a book club and asking teachers to join, it could simply be too much to ask if you aren’t giving participants time in the day to dig into the book. Adding a few hours of professional reading a month without providing participants time on their schedule to dive in is a lot to ask during a busy school year.

4 Alternatives to Reading Teacher Books

Here are four alternatives to reading teacher books you may want to explore this year to change your routine, provide different ways to learn new information, and honor your teachers’ time.

Teacher Book Clubs - Infographics 4 Things (2)

Articles

From Edutopia to Edsurge to right here on my blog, short articles and blog posts are a great way to learn something new. You might send a link to everyone at the start of a meeting, provide time for them to read it through, and then discuss how it connects to your current practice or might impact your future practice. Like a book club, you might ask participants to take a position on a statement, share a takeaway, or pose a question to the group.

Here are a few you might share:

Podcasts

Podcasts are one of my favorite ways to learn and share, and this medium has grown substantially in the past few years. Many podcasts cover teaching and learning topics or topics adjacent to education and may connect to your goals. Before asking a group to listen to a podcast, you may want to show off some listening strategies like speeding up or slowing down the episode or where to find a transcript if they would prefer to read.

Here are a few you might share:

Webinars

Whether you gather together to watch a live webinar or share a link to a replay, this medium is an excellent alternative to a traditional teacher book club. Although live events are fantastic, you may want to watch a webinar first before suggesting it for this type of learning experience. This strategy is similar to reading a book before recommending it to a book club. Some authors host webinars that feature one topic of their book, so it could be a good option for introducing a subject without making a more significant commitment.

Here are a few you might share:

Quick Reference Guides

If I know I’m carving out time to read — on an airplane, during a train ride, or sitting at the beach — I have the habit of tossing some sticky notes into my bag. I like to mark down ideas to try out or questions to follow up on. A quick reference guide summarizes big ideas in just a few pages. They are laminated and three-hole-punched, so even if you don’t place them into a Trapper Keeper, you can leave them on your desk or poking out of your bookshelf for easy reference.

Here are a few you might share:

What alternatives to a traditional teacher book club have you tried in the past? What are you hoping to try this year? Let me know what is on your mind for professional learning by tagging me @ClassTechTips in a post on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.



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