As teachers, we've probably heard of "book tastings" for students. But have you every held one of these for your colleagues?
This is a unique type of professional learning that can promote more learning and individual growth.
Here's how I recently held one with my colleagues:
Step 1. Select and order books
There are a few different ways to select books for the book tasting. What I did was I created a shared Google document where my colleagues and I could list books that we were interested in reading. The document asked for the title, author, price, and vendor. I used this list to help me purchase the books we would taste. In our case, the goal was not only to read for professional growth but also to find resources that we would later purchase for more teachers in our district to support our ELLs.
After making the selection, I ordered just enough for my colleagues to have one of each book. When ordering, be creative with funds if necessary. Reach out to your PTA or PTO. Talk with your principal. See how to fund this endeavor without dipping into your own pockets.
Step 2. FOOD
Well, it is a book TASTING so people will expect that there are books AND food. In my case, I ordered a light lunch for the team. Food always makes people relax and feel more comfortable. Another option might be to ask each member to bring a dish to share.
Step 3. Find a location
A book tasting can take place anywhere that will accommodate your team. It could be a conference room (like I used) or the school library. Find a secure a location that meets your needs.
Step 4. Send out the invitation with the details
Let your colleagues know ahead of time what they are in for. You could make this optional or not. Either way, your members will benefit from knowing in advance what, when, where, and why.
Step 5. Give them the books
When the books arrive, let your members have them before you have the tasting. Some people like to read in advance. Giving them the option is a courtesy that many appreciate.
Step 6. Prepare supplies
Gather the necessary supplies for a book tasting. You may want to have pencils, highlighters, sticky notes, etc. on hand for your colleagues or ask them to bring these supplies.
Step 7. Taste books
This is the day of your book tasting. You've ordered books, invited colleagues, and have food too! You may want to set an agenda for your time together. Mine consisted of three main event:
All in all, the book tasting was a success. I completely recommend this for educators, whether they be classroom teacher, assistant principals, principals, instructional coaches, or district leaders. A book tasting is a fantastic way to introduce staff to professional books and build interest.