Math = Love: Books of 2016

Monday, January 2, 2017

Books of 2016

I started this blog post a few days ago, but I got distracted.  Reading Meg Craig's Year in Books 2016 post was inspiration to finish this.  I didn't read as much as I would have liked this year.  To be honest, the first half of this year consisted of very little reading.  Instead, it consisted of wedding planning, a wedding, a honeymoon, and frantic work to complete my capstone project for my master's degree.  Once all that craziness was over, I finally made some time to read!

So, here's what I read in no particular order.  Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.  

Make It Stick by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roedinger, and Mark A. McDaniel

I have read SO many amazing things about this book.  And, I have to say that it did NOT disappoint.  This book focuses on how the way we think we learn best does not align with how research has shown we actually learn best.  The book is packed full of summaries of research studies that I found incredibly interesting.  As I was reading the book, I found myself continually sharing anecdotes from the research studies with my husband and coworkers.  This book has provided much food for thought regarding ways I need to restructure my classroom.  I rely too much on massed practice, but this book has inspired me to look for opportunities in my classroom to help students understand the science behind how we actually learn best.

Making Number Talks Matter by Cathy Humphreys and Ruth Parker


This book is a game changer!  I read the entire book over the course of only two days because it was just sooooooo good.  I learned so much about how I think through math problems by reading this book.  As I've implemented number talks in my classroom this year, this book has been by my side every step of the way.  It is chock full of example problems to use with your students to emphasize just about every mental math strategy you could think of.  I had several "Woah!  I've never thought of it like that before!" moments while reading this book.  If you're interested in improving your students' numeracy skills and conceptual understanding of basic mathematical operations, this is a MUST read! 

In grad school, I read several articles by Smith and Stein, so it was awesome to read one of their books!  This was an eye-opening book for me because it showed me just how much power I can have in classroom discussions if I take the time to plan and set up my task properly.  It was the perfect accompaniment to another one of my favorite reads of the year: Designing Groupwork by Elizabeth Cohen.  

Groupwork.  It's always been that thing I wanted to implement in my math classroom but always avoided because it was just too difficult - or impossible - to get right.  This book completely changed my view of groupwork.  And, I used what I learned from it to totally transform how I approached my first week of school.  I was inspired by the book to create printable versions of many of the activities suggested by Cohen.  On my blog, you can find Broken Circles, Rainbow Logic, and Guess My Rule.  I also created Groupwork Norms Posters and Group Role Name Badges and Posters.  I seriously can't say enough good things about this book!  

This book has a very similar title to the first book I wrote about, Make It Stick.  This book is similar in that it focuses on why some ideas (or concepts to be learned) catch on and stick and why others are quickly forgotten.  The authors have written a 13 page extension that is posted for free on their website that helps teachers apply the concepts to their classroom.  It is titled Teaching That Sticks.  If you are a fan of Malcolm Gladwell's writing style, this book will be write up your alley!  


I started The Tipping Point several years ago, but I got distracted and it ended up sitting on my shelf.  This summer, I listened to the audio book version, and I really enjoyed it.  I love the way that Malcolm Gladwell blends together historical accounts, scientific research, and anecdotal evidence in a captivating and inspiring story line.  After finishing that book, I looked at what other Malcolm Gladwell books my library had.  This led to listening to the audio version of David and Goliath.  I loved reading these inspiring stories about people overcoming great odds to do great things.  I learned a lot about dyslexia through reading Gladwell this summer, and I was able to have an awesome conversation with a new student this year when she confided in me that she had dyslexia.  That wouldn't have happened without learning from my reading!       

I really enjoyed this read, but I have to admit it was quite extreme.  And, I can't say that it actually changed my tidying habits.  But, I enjoyed seeing what all the hype was about.  

This was another audiobook that my husband and I listened to this summer.  I enjoyed that there were quite a few education-specific examples throughout the book.  It was a quick listen that I really enjoyed.  

This was a FUN read.  I love that this book captured so many of the emotions that are involved in teaching.  Some chapters made me laugh.  Others made me tear up.  All of the chapters made me thankful that I teach high school and not elementary school.  

And, because this post is getting long, I'll just list the fiction books I read this year without individual commentary.  They were all enjoyable reads!  


  1. Ah, Mr. Penumbra was lovely. There's a short story "Penumbra in 1969" or somesuch. Might be worth a look.