10 great education books for summer reading

Summer is a great time to hone your skills and pick up new ideas for next school year. Here are some of my top picks for summer 2018 reading.

Summer … the time when all teachers spend carefree days sitting by the pool and drinking fruity drinks, right? Myth!

Many teachers I know (especially the best ones!) spend at least part of their summers honing their craft. It’s a time to do things we were too busy to do during the school year, and reading makes that list.

There are SO many good books for teachers — inspiring ones, practical ones, fun ones. How do you choose?

I’ve selected 10 newer books that have my eye — either because I’ve read them and LOVED them or because I’m excited to get my hands on them.

Here they are in no particular order …

Note: Links to these books are Amazon affiliate links. If you click on these links and buy, I will receive a small commission at no expense to you. The price for the books is the same whether you use my link or not. Think of it as a way to support Ditch That Textbook financially without spending extra cash. Thanks for your support!

1. Inquiry Mindset: Nurturing the Dreams, Wonders, and Curiosities of Our Youngest Learners (Trevor MacKenzie and Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt)

Trevor Mackenzie with Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt

We all want students to become lifelong learners, to follow their passions, the explore their curiosity. That’s at the heart of the inquiry process. But how does that translate into the classroom? This book gives you a firm foundation of how to structure it in a way that leads to quality learning. The book centers on this essential question: Where does natural curiosity go, and how, as educators, can we ensure all of our students experience a meaningful and wonder-filled journey through their education?

Click here: Inquiry Mindset on Amazon

2. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

Daniel Pink

I LOVE pretty much anything Daniel Pink writes, says, produces … whatever. He’s brilliant and has some fantastic insights into how the human brain works. In this book, he writes not about WHAT to do, but WHEN to do it. (Hence the name.) He has lots of findings that apply specifically to education (like the perils of failing to take a break in the afternoon) and to us as people (the optimal time for drinking coffee for maximum caffeine boost is 60-90 minutes after waking).

Click here: When on Amazon

3. Google Apps for Littles: Believe They Can

Christine Pinto and Alice Keeler

Our youngest students get underestimated sometimes. Teachers will say, “They’re not old enough. Give it a few years.” Christine Pinto and Alice Keeler disagree and provide strategies and ideas in this book. It’s based on Christine’s experience in the kindergarten classroom, working with students in Google Classroom, Google Sheets and more. This full-color book has plenty of screenshots and applicable suggestions.

Click here: Google Apps for Littles on Amazon

4. The Space: A Guide for Educators

Rebecca Louise Hare and Dr. Robert Dillon

Creative learning spaces are a hot topic in education. But they don’t have to be all about expensive furniture and Pinterest-worthy classes. In fact, designing classes to amplify learning, as this book’s cover says, doesn’t always create the cutest, most photogenic classes. Design principles can help us create classrooms where students learn the best. And speaking of design, this book is designed beautifully!

Click here: The Space on Amazon

5. Mathematical Mindsets

Jo Boaler

I’m not even a math teacher and I’m recommending this book. I bought my own copy of it recently because I love the research-driven, classroom-tested ideas and philosophies that Jo Boaler provides. We can “banish math anxiety,” as she says, by teaching in an effective way that connects with students and that they enjoy!

Click here: Mathematical Mindsets on Amazon

6. The Google-Infused Classroom

Holly Clark and Tanya Avrith

This book will improve learning in your classroom in so many ways. Sure, it has the word “Google” in it, which is a draw by itself. But this is an effective book even if you don’t use Google regularly in your classroom. It takes us back to the basics of teaching, of sound pedagogical strategies described in simple, understandable language. It’s practical, with specific examples of classroom ideas and new digital tools to try out.

Click here: The Google-Infused Classroom on Amazon

7. Intention: Critical Creativity in the Classroom

Amy Burvall and Dan Ryder

Sometimes I buy books because the title or the subject intrigues me. Other times, I’ll buy just because I know the authors will create something amazing. That’s how I feel about Intention. Amy Burvall and Dan Ryder are both treasures to the education community, sharing their creative genius in word and in visual art that they create. Intention is part inspirational narrative, part field guide to incorporating creative lessons into your classroom step-by-step.

Click here: Intention on Amazon

8. Shake Up Learning: Practical Ideas to Move Learning from Static to Dynamic

Kasey Bell

The world is changing rapidly. It’s well documented that schools have had a hard time keeping up and changing to meet the new needs of the world. In this book, Kasey chronicles the changes and puts her finger on what schools are going through right now. She discusses lots of the issues that teachers are struggling with and provides insight on how to think differently about this. Plus, there’s a fantastic companion website and even an online course if you want to dive deeper!

Click here: Shake Up Learning on Amazon

9. The EduProtocol Field Guide: 16 Student-Centered Lesson Frames for Infinite Learning Possibilities

Marlena Hebern and Jon Corippo

I’ve always said that I love teaching but lesson planning can be a drag. Instead of planning lessons, try implementing some protocols instead. Protocols are “lesson frames” that don’t change but the content does. The result: Less time spent planning lessons and more enjoyment of teaching. Marlena and Jon offer several practical examples and will blow your mind with their fresh approach to teaching.

Click here: The EduProtocol Field Guide on Amazon

10. Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning

John Spencer and A.J. Juliani

I’ll be totally honest here. I haven’t read this book yet. But a couple things make it an easy one to suggest with confidence. 1. I believe in the people (see No. 7 above). John Spencer has been pushing my thinking about education for years, and since I’ve started reading A.J. Juliani recently, he’s the same. 2. This book is gorgeous. The pages I’ve seen of it are illustrated by John, making it a unique book all throughout. And dozens of five-star Amazon reviews can’t be wrong!

Click here: Empower on Amazon

Bonus: “The Student Voice Infused Classroom”

Holly Clark

This one isn’t available yet, and I’m not even convinced that this is the title she’s going with! Holly Clark is finishing up a book about student voice as a follow-up to The Google Infused Classroom (above). I haven’t seen it yet, but judging by the author and the title, I know I’ll be grabbing a copy of it. Keep an eye out for it sometime in 2018.

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Matt is scheduled to present at the following upcoming events:

 DateEvent / Event DetailsCity / More Info
+ 10/22/2018
TLC Conference - ESU 9Hastings, NE
+ 10/30/2018
Delaware Association of School Administrators PD DayDover, Delaware
+ 11/07/2018—11/09/2018
GaETC ConferenceAtlanta, GA
  Register to attend
+ 11/26/2018
Morgan County VersaillesVersailles, MO
+ 01/27/2019—01/30/2019
FETCOrlando, FL
  Public Event
+ 02/04/2019—02/08/2019
TCEASan Antonio, TX
  Register to attend
+ 02/15/2019
Smithville School DistrictSmithville, MO
+ 03/07/2019—03/09/2019
KYSTELouisville, KY
  Public Event
+ 03/14/2019—03/16/2019
CUEPalm Springs, CA
  Register to attend
+ 06/23/2019—06/26/2019
ISTEPhiladelphia, PA
  Public Event