It’s that time of year again — time to share the choices from readers of this blog for the best education-related book they read in the this past year.
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I broke my own rules and chose two instead of one, and you can see them in the photo illustrating this post. In addition, I did interviews over at my Education Week Teacher column with the authors of both books:
Now, here are the choices of thirty-four readers to sent their comments and tweets (even if you didn’t send them in earlier, you can still leave your favorites in the comments):
I recommend Whole Novels for the Whole Class, by Ariel Sacks, published by Jossey Bass. Her approach engages students in the love of reading as if they were in a book club, while improving their literacy skills and ability to analyze and critique literature.
Mindset by Carol Deck It was recommended by a colleague. The book helps me understand many of my students.
Made to Stick by Chip Heath & Dan Heath. While not an education specific book, the way it shows how ideas are best conveyed AND received makes it very valuable to any educator and education leader. It also helps you to consider what ways to best motivate students.
Building Academic Language Second Edition by Jeff Zwiers
Zwiers broadens and the popular buzz words “academic vocabulary” to include various features of language that are important for students to understand content deeply. I found it valuable as a Literacy Coach to assist teachers across disciplines to teach the concepts in their content area as well as the language of the content.
A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger. The author takes the concept of questioning and applies is across many different areas and interests. He offers strategies for using questioning to come up with new innovations. This is and will be an essential resource for me, as a school leader and lifelong learner.
“Building a Better Teacher” by Elizabeth Green. I loved the comparisons with Japan where teachers have time to work together and share best practices and the Italian language school. I’m a social studies teachers but I found the information about elementary math teaching (Deborah Ball and others) fascinating.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg, while not solely an education book, gave me pages full of ideas I could, should, and will apply in my classroom and in my own practice. It helped me see how to structure my classroom in a way that is organic to my personal style while still creating an atmosphere that is conducive to inquiry, risk-taking, and skill-building. Not only could I apply so many of these ideas to my job, but it helped me home in on why I do what I do, personally and professionally, and how to do what I do better!
What Teachers Can Learn from Sports Coaches by Nathan Barber.
This is a great book that motivates and inspires. Even though I wouldn’t claim to be a sports enthusiast, I enjoyed the quotations from all the coaches and was amazed by the similarities that exist between the playing field and the classroom: I have already implemented a couple of ideas this year. No matter how many years you have been teaching, you will find an idea in every section that can transform you into a “game-changing” teacher.
Understanding the Digital Generation: teaching and learning in the new digital landscape, by Jukes, McClain, and Crockett.
The author’s contend that, because brain cells are continually replenished via input experiences (pp.20-21), there is a need for “intensive, sustained, progressively challenging stimulation and focus…over extended periods of time.” (P.24)
Favourite education related book is:
The Dyslexic Advantage
by B.L. Eide and F.F. Eide
Love this book because of (1) the positive insights on students with dyslexia, and (2) the surprising insights I gained into how my own brain is wired, though I never considered myself dyslexic.
LearningReIMagined by Graham Brown Martin was my best Ed read for 2014
Make Learning Personal: The What, Who, WOW, Where and Why by Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey. Barbara and Kathleen’s research demonstrates how shifting the responsibility for learning to the learner is vital to personalized learning. Their Personalization vs. Differentiation vs. Individualization chart is a critical resource in understanding what is and what is not, personalized learning.
Notebook Know-How by Aimee Buckner. The forward is written by Howard Gardner, however, the book is written about how to use a writer’s notebook from a teacher’s perspective. Lesson plans included. Fantastic!
My top 3 for 2014:
“This Is Not A Test”, by Jose Vilson. Funny, smart, and touching. Sounds like a movie, but in my opinion it’s one of the most real books about teaching in urban schools since I read my mom’s copy of “Up The Down Staircase” decades ago.
“#EdJourney”, by Grant Lichtman. A great road-trip story, covering lots of different kinds of schools doing tons of great things. Grant writes very eloquently about what changes need to be made in schools and what changes are happening now.
“Trivium 21c”, by Martin Robinson. Deep, philosophical, and a wonderful history of the use of grammar, dialectic and rhetoric in the training of the mind. Schools truly using this model would generate the critical thinkers policymakers only pay lip service to wanting.
Quiet by Susan Cain — every single teacher and parent (and spouse) should read this book and develop an understanding of our world and the way many people perceive it and the difficulties they may face in a world that glorifies and pushes people to become a hyper extrovert. I found it to be life changing in the way I see students and teachers.
The Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley — this book takes a close look at high preforming countries on the PISA test and analyzes how their school systems benefit their students (or don’t). The book focuses on Finland, South Korea and Poland with a taste of the United States. I found the similarities within these systems and the dramatic differences to be fascinating and found several ways we could improve our system.
Using Common Core Standards: to Enhance Instruction and Assessment by Marzano et al. Tremendous resources for teachers and ed leaders to grasp the standards and how to apply them to their instruction/school vision. Proficiency scales are being used as school wide assessment of Student Learning Objectives.
Mindset by Dweck. This is beginng to shape how we look at instruction and specifically how we look at human potential.
Mike took mine! As I’ve written elsewhere, I think José Vilson’s “This Is Not a Test” should be taught in teacher ed programs.
I would also recommend Jose Vilson’s “This Is Not a Test” which I reviewed here.
In the category of books about teaching practice, the book I’ve heard the most buzz about (and a book I’ve read myself) is The 8 Myths of Student Disengagement by Jennifer A. Fredricks, which would make an excellent read in a teacher/PLC book club.
Getting Schooled by Garret Keizer is an amazing book that clarified a lot of my thinking about what it means to be an English teacher.
Make It Stick: The science of successful learning by Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel thoroughly changed the way I perceived learning in my classroom. Incorporating the book’s principles has led to more retention in my classroom.
The Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley, and How Children Succeed by Paul Tough.
I hadn’t thought if Quiet as an education related book (I just liked it as an introvert), but based on another poster’s comments, I’d give it a vote.
“On Your Mark” by Tom Guskey. The time has come to challenge the traditional grading practices that have been harming students and reporting skewed grades for decades. Not only does he provide a research-based rationale for changing grading practices, but he suggests specific strategies that can be implemented right away.
Notice and Note by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst. It provides the most practical approach I have ever found for teaching close reading strategies. I feel like I have given my 8th graders a tool that they will use for the remainder of their educational careers
The Skillful Teacher by Stephen Brookfield. I loved his interpretation of what students go through in their learning journey through higher ed. Empathy for college age kids…what a concept!
Thanks to everyone who contributed!
Again, feel free to share your own recommendations in the comments section…