Directions for Book Review & Author Interview:
Book Selection – September 28th
Contact Author – October 12th (Don’t have to have completed book yet, but initiate contact)
Q&A and Review Published on Website (Rough Draft) – November 16th
Q&A and Review Published on Website (Final Draft) – December 1st
Read & Comment on Classmates Q&A and Review – November 23rd Instead, be sure to share a link to your published Q&A and Review on the group Facebook page. Use the FB page to comment on classmates posts.
Choose 1 to 3 popular STEM-related books (or “STEAM”-related, including “Art”…). They must be written by a living author that you intend to contact. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of titles (and descriptions) recommended by science educators, science writers, tech bloggers, and the New York Times.
Feel free to choose a book not included in this list, provided it is similar in topic and was written by a *currently living* individual whom you believe could potentially respond to your questions within the deadline. Please also only choose a book that you would feel confident recommending publicly on your website, to students, parents, other teachers, or the general public. You may want to choose a book that could inform your DreamIT project, but this is not required.
As you read, compile a list of questions you might want to ask the book’s author, or compile a list of related topics about which you’d like to learn more. Consider questions that relate to your classroom practices, but don’t limit your questions to classroom applicability alone.
Search out contact information for the author (i.e., from the book’s publisher, Google, Linkedin, the author’s homepage, the author’s agent etc.). Contact the author and request an interview. Include a short description of why, as a STEM lead teacher, you find the book useful or interesting. It would be considerate to also share the timeframe and method in which you would be available to chat with them (i.e., phone, email, Skype, etc.), at their convenience. Let them know how this interview will definitely be used (i.e., on your website and for this assignment), as well as how it could potentially be used (i.e., forwarded to a popular blog, shared in your classroom, published in your school’s newsletter, etc.).
Publish your Q&A on your website. Then, add a brief (<1,000 words) review of the book above or below the Q&A. Consider writing the review after the interview, and considering asking questions that would aid such a review.
Post a link to your Q&A and book review on the MSU-Wipro Year 1 Facebook Group. Read others’ reviews and Q&As. Reflect on similarities and differences. Consider posting questions for colleagues to respond to about the book you reviewed. If you have read a book someone else reviewed, consider adding your experience and takeaways about that book, especially if you experienced it differently than they did (hint: you probably did). If you haven’t read any a book a colleague has posted about, ask to borrow their copy!
Finally, for reflection: Do new colleagues’ reviews make unknown books sound enticing enough to add those books to your future reading list? What is significant about reading a fellow MSU-Wipro colleague’s book review compared to any other published book review on the web?
Potential Questions to Ask Yourself (as you read):
- How does the author engage your prior knowledge and interests to “grab you” and keep you interested in reading and learning more about the book’s topics?
- What purposes, knowledge, methods, and forms does the author employ? Why?
- How could the knowledge in this book be shared in a different form? What would your purpose be for changing that form?
- Does this book change the way you look at something or some process in the world? If so, how? Does this book have the potential to fight against dangerous amnesia, fantasia, inertia, or nostalgia about an educational topic?
- Could this author be considered a leader? What leadership qualities would you assume the author has as you read this book (i.e., creativity, integrity, global thinking, influence, openness, etc.).
- Is this book novel (i.e., unusual, radical, pioneering)? Is it effective (i.e., valuable, relevant, useful)? Is it whole (i.e., organic, complete, complex)? How so?
Potential Questions for the Author:
- Why did you want to write this book? What did you want to accomplish with it?
- Who was the audience that you pictured as you were writing this book? Have you received attention for this book from individuals or groups of individuals who surprised you with their interest in this topic?
- Do you think this book engages your intended audience with this topic in a different way than would, say, a middle school, high school, or college course about this topic?
- Why did you decide to approach this topic with the context and form that you chose (i.e., a political-minded argument, a whimsical thought experiment for fun, a compilation of educational general-interest stories, etc.)?
- What were the steps that writing this book involved? What technologies, materials, people, etc., did you find helpful as resources during the writing process for this book? Why?
Potential Questions for Other Readers:
- If you have read this book, did you experience it in a different way than me?
- What did you find interesting or surprising in this book that is missing from my review?
- What would you share with other potential readers about this book?
- Would you recommend it? If so, for what purpose?