This week, we held our first #StaffBookTasting. The purpose of the event was twofold. I wanted to model a Book Tasting event for teachers so they might implement with their students. I also wanted to introduce several professional books to teachers prior to our upcoming Book Chat. 

Below are the steps I took in order to organize the event:

  1. First, I chose our books. Some were Staff choices from our last book study. Others were books that I recently read. 
  2. I ordered 5 copies each of the following titles, using set aside professional development money: Hacking Literacy, Empower, Innovator’s Mindset, Hacking Assessment, DITCH That Homework, Hacking Project Based Learning, The Zen Teacher, Culturize, and Make Writing. Overall, the books cost about $1,000. (The books will be used to start a Professional Development Library in our Teacher’s Room.)  
  3. One of our teachers was in the process of planning a Book Tasting for her students and was gracious enough to share the materials she had found. This included place settings for each teacher, reflection book marks, and reflection “napkins” as well as signage and promotional materials. She purchased materials here, but some are also available for free here
  4. As our January staff meeting approached, I began to promote the event. I sent out an invitation using Smore. 
  5. On the day of the event, I decorated the Cafeteria with tablecloths, and plates full of chocolates. My setup was not very elaborate, but I have seen other Book Tastings with decorative flowers, actual plates and silverware, as well as other fancy touches. 
  6. I set up 10 tables and placed a book on each place setting. I used the 9 selected books, and set up a tenth table with a variety of professional books from my own personal library to add more choices. 
  7. At the beginning of our meeting, I explained my purpose for hosting the #StaffBookMeeting, and promoted our voluntary book chat. 
  8. Teachers then had the opportunity to mill around and explore the books. Conversations took place. Some teachers sat and really dove into one book. Some took time to visit each table to “taste” all of the books. 
  9. Before the event was finished, I asked teachers to complete a reflection. Many teachers also filled out book marks about each book as well. 
  10. Finally, I had a sign out sheet in case any staff member wanted to leave with one of the books. More than twenty people chose to take a book with them! 
  11. Our next step is our Staff Book Chat which will run for six weeks. We will meet before school begins for 30 minutes to discuss what we are reading, and how our learning is applicable to the classroom. Again, this part is voluntary for us, but I’m hoping that many of those who signed out books will choose to join if it fits into their schedule. 

Overall, I felt like the event was successful!  I would love to hear any feedback or answer any additional questions that you may have. Please share via #4OCF on Twitter. 


Rich (@RACzyz) 

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