I love checking Twitter and Google Plus for new ideas for teaching. I love to see what other teachers are talking about and what they’re interested in.
I also love reading blogs. I love to see how educators take an idea and flesh out the details with their experiences, opinions and thoughts.
But there’s something about a book that can’t be beaten. When you find a good book, you look for a reason to come back to it. If it’s a good education book, it’s constantly inspiring new ideas and forcing you to rethink your own practices.
I’ve been fortunate to come across several good books that have pushed me to be a better teacher. I also have a handful of books I haven’t read yet that are at the top of my to-read list.
Are you looking for a book to help you go to the next level as an educator? Here are my best suggestions:
1. What Great Teachers Do Differently: 17 Things That Matter Most — Todd Whitaker challenges conventional wisdom of overused, tired practices in schools. I’ve quoted him relentlessly from this book, saying “don’t make a sign because of one or two troublemakers” and “a teacher’s goal when students misbehave is to keep that behavior from happening again.”
2. Teach Like a PIRATE: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator — This book has been so practical and useful that I’ve carried it in my backpack daily. Dave Burgess’s hooks to engage students make a powerful list of tactics to use in class. I can pick up this book, flip through it and be inspired to plan a great lesson.
3. P is for PIRATE: Inspirational ABC’s for Educators — “Teach Like a PIRATE” gives practical advice for engaging students. “P is for PIRATE,” written by Dave Burgess and Shelley Burgess, gives lots of quick doses of inspiration to encourage teachers to be at their best. This book feels like a children’s book but has a very professional message, delivered from dozens of educators from all walks of the profession.
4. Why School? How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere — Teachers are no longer the gatekeepers to education. The Internet, YouTube and plenty of other resources have given anyone access to information at any time. Will Richardson’s prescription for the future of education can get any educator thinking about how to retool his/her practice.
5. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us — I haven’t read this book yet (it’s probably No. 1 on my to-read list), but when I listened to Dan Pink’s TED Talk about motivation, it literally made me stop my car and take notes. He delves into how mastery, autonomy and purpose are strong motivators and can transform learning.
6. How to Win Friends and Influence People — It was published originally in 1936, but Dale Carnegie’s classic is still relevant. It should be required reading for educators! Its nuggets of wisdom include “make the other person feel important — and do it sincerely” and “if you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.”
7. He’s the Weird Teacher — I love Doug Robertson’s focus on embracing your inner weird. As education is at a crossroads, we need more teachers who are willing to break the mold in connecting with students.
8. The First Days of School — This new-teacher classic, written by Harry Wong, was a lifesaver for me as I prepared for my first classroom. It’s practical. It provides some great ideas for creating a framework for a class.
9. What Connected Educators Do Differently — Todd Whitaker’s book “What Great Teachers Do Differently” is full of wisdom. Whitaker connected with Jeff Zoul and Jimmy Casas on this look at how social media and online connections have empowered educators to be at their best together.
10. The Collected Writings (so far) of Rick Wormeli — Rick Wormeli’s views on grading and differentiation make so much sense. I’ve yet to read this one, but if Wormeli has collected his best ideas in one place, I’m going to buy it.
Suggestions from readers in the comments below:
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