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Reminder: What Is The Best Education-Related Book You’ve Read This Year?

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As I do every year, I invite readers to share the best education-related books that you have read over the past year. The books could have been published earlier and the only requirement is that you have read them sometime this year.

Please leave a comment with the book’s title, name of the author, and two-to-four sentences describing what the book is about and why chose it (you can leave a comment at this post, or at my original one).

I’ll publish everyone’s recommendations on New Year’s Day.

You might also be interested in these posts from previous years:

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2011

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2010

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2009

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2008

Thanks!

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

16 Comments

  1. I have to go with Opening Minds by Peter Johnston. This resource, along with his previous book Choice Words, has helped me change the way I listen and speak with students. Opening Minds is the only book I can think of that I have personally shared with teachers, parents and my wife.

  2. I really enjoyed “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character” by Paul Tough. I think Tough argues quite vividly and persuasively that the skills such as “curiosity, self-control, and social fluidity” (ability to get along); skills that today are often called “soft” or “non-cognitive.” The book focuses on the determinants of success or failure among developing children and argues clearly and persuasively, in non-technical plain English, that the current-day educational policy emphasis on cognitive development among young people is seriously off-base. Tough’s book is brief and right on point. I recommend it highly.

  3. I really enjoyed “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character” by Paul Tough. I think Tough argues quite vividly and persuasively that the skills such as “curiosity, self-control, and social fluidity” (ability to get along); skills that today are often called “soft” or “non-cognitive,” are actually the skills that matter in the lives of young people. The book focuses on the determinants of success or failure among developing children and argues clearly and convincingly, in non-technical plain English, that the current-day educational policy emphasis on cognitive development among young people is seriously off-base. Tough’s book is brief and right on point, to me. I recommend it highly.

  4. Carly’s Voice by Arthur an Carly Fleishmann. While it is not a how to education book, it offers a deep understanding of children with autism who are non verbal. Because I had a student starting at my school with this description, I knew this would give me insights. It has made it’s rounds through my staff and because they have read it, they understand our new little student. They have more compassion and less pity for his situation. I would recommend this book to anyone who feels that autism is a mystery. Carly helps you understand more of the “why’s” behind the actions and reactions of children with autism.

  5. Larry, I will be using Eleanor Dougherty’s book, “Assignments Matter: Making the connections That Help Students Meet Standards” as a resource for my curriculum class this spring. I believe it is well written and extremely helpful for teachers trying to align standards with assessments.

    On a personal note, Happy New Year! We appreciate the time you put into this site.
    mj

  6. Angela Maiers’ Passion Driven Classroom and Habitudes has been very enlightening to my teaching. Another book I’ve recommended to at least 2 dozen folks (parents, neighbors) anyone who is truly interested in education is Tony Wagner’s Global Achievement Gap; it will really get people thinking!

  7. Necessary Endings by Dr. Cloud. Once we find something that works, we don’t just stick with it forever after. We need to keep reevaluating if it is still the best way to go. Carol Dwecks Mindset and Patrick Lencioni’s The Advantage are honourable mentions.

  8. As a parent and educator I love Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner. Wagner profiles real life innovators and their parents and the educators who influenced them. I’m seriously thinking about how our school can do a better job of developing innovators.

    “From the research, a pattern emerges—a childhood of creative play leads to deep-seated passions, which in adolescence and adulthood blossom into a deeper purpose for career and life goals. Play, passion, and purpose: these are the forces that drive young innovators.”
    http://creatinginnovators.com/

  9. What Teachers Make by Taylor Mali. An inspiration for all teachers and reminder of the power we wield. The perfect book to read before heading back to school.

  10. Pathways to the Common Core : Accelerated Achievement by Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth, and Christopher Lehman was a very informative and motivational read in preparation for transitioning my staff into common core. It explains how the new standards will work and creates an easy to follow roadmap that helps a CCSS novice navigate through this new transition and movement.

  11. My top read of 2012 for educators is Dave Burgess’ Teach Like a Pirate. Dave shows teachers how to develop energized lessons, the kind that make his classes among the most popular on campus. Teach Like a Pirate offers specific strategies on how to tap into and cultivate the wellspring of creativity educators already possess! This book is an empowering read, transcends disciplines, and is the type of book I wish had been included in my own teacher preparation program.

  12. Classroom Habitudes by Angela Maiers. Kids need to be told that they are geniuses! They need to keep that spunk and assertiveness well into high school, so they can truly show their geniuses as they mature, instead of being ashamed of what they do. Great lessons embedded, and resources any grade can use.

  13. This was a year of many great education reads and for this reason I cannot narrow it to just one best read. Each of my favorites has earned this spot for a different reason- there are so many things happening I education and so many perspectives.

    Several of my favorites have already been listed here but I have to lend my support to them as well! Creating Innovators is a fantastic read as it tells an important story by spotlighting students and families. Pathways to the Common Core is also a great tool to support our transition. I’m only half way through it, but it’s impacting my work tremendously.

    Other favorite that were not yet listed include:
    Best practices, 4th edition as it reflects on what we know works and incorporates the new movements/initiatives thoughtfully.

    Blackants and Buddhists for proving a concrete example of teaching perspective, tolerance, openmindedness, evaluating for biases, and for its usefulness as a tool for my equity team.

    Looking forward to you New Year’s Day post!

  14. Sensible Mathematics, 2nd Ed. by Steve Leinwand. There aren’t a ton of books written about teaching math, or leading the reform that math education needs in this country. Leinwand hits the nail on the head with this book, laying out exactly why and how math class needs to change if we are to realize the promise of the CCSS. His companion work, Accessible Mathematics, geared more towards classroom teachers, is equally as good.

  15. I would agree with Matt Renwick on Opening Minds by Peter Johnston. This book has influenced my own work in the classroom and also my understanding of my dissertation work. As Johnston says, words create worlds, and each interaction I have with my students creates a particular type of world. Johnston has helped me become more conscious of what worlds I’m creating and be more intentional with my language. I believe that all teachers should read both Choice Words and Opening Minds several times during their careers as with experience and new circumstances, Johnston’s ideas become more relevant.

  16. I share a strategy a week with our staff from Doug Lemov’s “Teach Like a Champion; 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College”

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