Books You Must Read…Now!
Below is a list of books that I have used to teach better, rewire my brain and get unstuck from the ineffective and/or repetitive teaching style that I can slip into as the year rolls on. These books may be a great fit for you as well and I encourage to at least give them a read once because they have been so invaluable to me. There are many more books of great importance out there but hopefully this short list will be the beginning of a few more inspired teachers.
50 Things You Can Do with Google Classroom by Alice Keeler and Libbi Miller, Ed. D
Most schools have become GAfE (Google Apps for Education) schools and have greatly enjoyed the coming of Google Classroom to manage it all with students. As always there is little documentation and practical help on these topics so many of us try to figure it out as we go. Alice Keeler is one of my favorite voices in edtech and she has teamed up with Libbi Miller, Ed. D to create a great beginner’s guide to Classroom as well as offer some great ideas to what you have mastered the basics. If you are a principal of a GAfE school buy 15 copies as this should be mandatory reading for your staff. If I had this book last year it would have been so much easier to navigate this great new tool and my PD courses would have been planned easier. Now that we have the book every teacher, from here on out, will be reading before we begin. It is great and will be the standard textbook (dare I say that word) if you want to get into using Google Classroom.
This is typically thought to be a business book for people that want to sell more but I find that it is a great mind-shift for thinking about how to get concepts across. I am a horrible artist. My stick figures don’t resemble the typical stick figure and so my drawings have never been very useful. Since reading this, I have used the concepts in this book to translate abstract algebra concepts into simple ideas as well as describe the complexity of network infrastructure to a group of admins in a matter of minutes. This book does a great job of taking the horrible artwork that exudes from my hands and tells compelling stories with them. There are great anecdotes as well as simple activities to really “illustrate” the power of simple pictures to convey complex ideas. It was a game changer for me.
Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley and David Kelley
This is another business book that has so many great insights for teachers. It is all about design thinking and developing a process that allows for constant innovation in anything we do. It is written by the guys from IDEO, the innovative thinking company and the engine behind the d.school at Stanford University. First off, it is a great read as there are so many great stories on how this process has been put to good use. More importantly, there are nice juicy nuggets of actionable steps to really try to do this yourself and apply it to your classroom. The ability to create new perspectives on the same old thing will do many wonders for your classroom but also bleed over into other areas of your life. I highly recommend you read this and get confident in your new creative ways.
The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher by Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong
This book is a must read for new teachers and then a yearly read after that. I literally used to read it cover to cover the week before the first day of school. It is a great look at setting expectations and setting up systems in your class that allows for the greatest amount of time spent on actually improving student learning. Every time I read it I find a new nugget that I missed before and can use in my classroom to make it more efficient or a better environment for learning. It all starts here and no matter how long you have been teaching, the reflection and refocus on classroom systems is an invaluable tool. This is the first book in that process.
To be continued…
On my list to read next are…
Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess
Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire by Rafe Esquith
I love the library and many of these books can be found there but if not buy them! If you find one thing that helps you in a book, that nugget is worth 100s times the cost of the book; especially if it saves you time down the road. Support the authors. Support the real book industry. Support your future bettered self!