I put out a request, as I do every year, to readers to share the best education-related books that they had read over the past year. The books could have been published earlier and the only requirement was that you had read them sometime this year.
You might also be interested in these posts from previous years:
Thanks to all of you who took the time to contribute. Even if you didn’t, though, you can still share your recommendations in the comments section of this post.
My own personal favorite was Teaching 2030: What We Must Do for Our Students and Our Public Schools–Now and in the Future by Barnett Berry and my colleagues at the Teacher Leaders Network.
Here are others readers shared:
From a school leadership perspective, one of the best books I’ve reviewed for the “not-quite-there” school administrator who wants an overview of educational technology, there is no better book than Lynne Schrum and Barbara Levin’s book Leading 21st Century Schools: Harnessing Technology for Engagement and Achievement. It is simple to read and well-organized. It would make an excellent gift for the administrator who wants or needs an overview of technology, especially Web 2.0. I posted on this book earlier in the year.
dogtrax (Kevin Hodgson):
I have a few books on my list this year (and I look forward to the recommendations of your readers) but in terms of offering teachers a practical and interesting way into using technology in a meaningful way, I suggest Wesley Fryer’s ebook “Playing with Media.” Fryer not only shows how technology can impact learning, but also provides the tools and links and guidance for teachers who know they need to move in that direction, but are not sure where to begin. The ebook format also allows Fryer to embed all sorts of examples. And he is consistent with the message that I believe in: we teachers need to “play” and create with new media tools before we can envision the possibilities in the classroom for our students.
I Used to Think..and Now I Think..: Twenty Leading Educators Reflect on the Work of School Reform (Harvard Education Letter Impact Series) Richard F. Elmore (Author, Editor) Thought provoking essays on education policy that I keep near at hand – a lot of wisdom packed in a thin paperback!
The best education-related book that I read this year is “Focus: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Student Learning” by Mike Schmoker. In a time full of so many new forms which are attempting to once again reform our educational system, Schmoker has the courage to suggest getting back to the essentials of deep reading and frequent writing. Our entire faculty read this book as part of our professional development plan this year and many are experiencing increased student engagement and achievement. I can’t recommend this book too highly.
I would recommend three books:
1. The Master and His Emissary by Iain McGilchrist:
An astonishing, rich feast of a book that finally puts left and right brain research in context. This is a book I read a few pages at a time in my Kindle where I highlighted and annotated it as well. This is a book that yields compound learning dividends.
2. Unschooling Rules by Clark Aldritch:
Every chapter (55 of them, very short) has gems of disruptive beauty that are useful and clarifying. As usual we get our best advice on learning from those outside the field. Aldritch is a games and sims developer who is on the periphery of school.
3. The Living Classroom by Christopher M. Bache:
This is the kind of book that provides brand new thrust for someone whose career is spluttering. New theory, new fuel, new power. I am still working my way through this one. I borrowed it via interlibrary loan via my university and have decided to get it to finish reading on my Kindle.
Good luck and maybe we will meet via highlights and notes in our respective Kindles.
Daniel W. Dyke:
I vote for Abe, as in “Learning from Lincoln – Leadership Practices for School Success,” by Harvey Alvy and Pam Robbins. Eleven well-written chapters are interspersed with leadership qualities from Lincoln’s life and culminate in 10 qualities, attributes, and skills for the 21st century school leader. The authors strive to show not only the need for each of these qualities to be present in our work today, but that they must be practiced as an interrelated whole if we, like Lincoln, are going to achieve success as leaders.
As a school librarian, my top picks for this year are:
Curriculum 21: Essential education for a changing world. This book really got me thinking about how we present information to our students. Are we doing them a dis-service by the methods we use in the classroom. Really turned my thinking upside down. My second choice was Beyond Cut and Paste by Jamie McKenzie. This little book is jammed full of information on multiple literacies and how we best prepare ours students to face all that information.
John Medina’s Brain Rules topped my list. With its emphasis on ALL the things our students’ brains require to succeed, including a low stress environment and exercise, this book makes clear, science-based arguments for schools that consider the needs of the whole child.
My recommendation: “Someone Has to Fail: The Zero-Sum Game of Public Schooling,” by David Labaree.
If you ever wanted to understand how events and history conspired to get us to the position we’re in now, in terms of public education and policy, this is the book.
I liked How the ELL Brain Works by David A. Sousa. It’s thorough, starting with L1 and L2 acquisition, then has chapters devoted to teaching listening, speaking, reading, writing, and content areas, with lots of strategies, guidelines, and tips for teaching ELLs. It’s a well-put together book on a topic that we always want to learn more about.
My pick is Dealing With Difficult Teachers. It’s a great book for getting some perspective on the system for teachers. An epiphany for me was a passage about us as teachers having to deal with a challenging student for one year while their peers have to deal with them for up to twelve. Lots of good insights into the ‘mechanism’.
Steve Perry When Push Comes to Shove-I’ve read the stack of required ed-reform/anti-ed-reform books this year, who hasn’t? But Perry’s book definitely struck more of a chord-perhaps because I’m a parent and advocate on a daily basis for more family engagement in education I was ready to hear a message of it’s time to step up and do more, rather than read another book that listed all the things in the past that went wrong with education reform/transform. I recognize it is important to know the history in order to not repeat it, but it is also important to recognize that for parents, it is the NOW that matters most to them, and what role they have as partners in the NOW and the TOMORROW because far too often they have been neglected in the past.
The Book Whisperer – Donalyn Miller
This book made me question, revise, or ditch some of the long-standing things we’ve done regarding reading instruction and practice. She drove home the point of self-selection by students of reading material and giving students time to read – without test, quizzes, journals, etc attached to it. I can say it has made a tremendous difference in my students ability (and desire) to read.
Yong Zhao, Catching Up or Leading The Way. Made me realize how much of what we do is based on myth and fear.
Unmistakable Impact by Jim Knight
This book is extremely helpful to me as an instructional coach. We are working to be become an impact school. We are partnering within our building and with other schools in order to design a school that focuses on instruction and collaboration. This book is a model to go by!
I am currently reading the book, ‘The Purpose of Boys’ by Michael Gurian. It is a good read so far. Although it is not technically a book on education, some of the features can be applied to teaching. A good read so far.
Teaching Digital Natives—Partnering for Real Learning (Corwin 2010)
This book has became my “teaching bible” for the school year. The idea of partnering is central to my hopes for creating a student-centered, 21st century thinker supporting, community classroom where teachers are learners, and learners are teachers.
Maybe someone would like to read my new book I co-authored with Lani. We feel like it is a must read:
The Connected Educator:Learning and Leading in a Digital Age
It guides an individual toward becoming a connected educator as well as how to design DIY PD in addition to providing a path to PLCs Next Generation.
Drumming to the Beat of Different Marchers by Debbie Silver
It is a great read for us secondary instructional coaches and teachers who are interested in improving their instructional skills in a differentiated classroom. The book is full of practical strategies.
Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov; It’s a resource filled with tools that you can put into action right away. You don’t have to make anything, change your schedule or buy anything to implement. You just do it!
Best book I read was: The Practical (and fun) Guide to Assistive Technology in Public Schools by Christopher Bugaj & Sally Norton-Darr.
Thanks again to everybody who contributed! Feel free to leave additional recommendations in the comments section.