Engaging Books

Here are some professional books that I highly recommend.  They have each had an enormous impact on my teaching, and I am so grateful for the wisdom shared by these authors.

  1. Mindset, the New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck, has been an absolute game-changer for me.  Reading this book inspired me as a teacher and as a parent to model and promote a growth mindset.  “Growth mindset” may seem like just a trendy term at the moment, but I fundamentally changed my philosophy as an educator as a direct result of this book.  I have witnessed incredible student successes because of this, and even implemented a Parent/Teacher book study group on our campus centered on this book.  I also have a Pinterest Board of Growth Mindset Videos and Lessons.
  2. Shift This, by Joy Kirr, reaffirms all of my beliefs about the importance of student-centered classrooms.  Kirr is a Genius Hour pioneer who has been working on changing her middle school ELA classroom to one that focuses on student interests and learning rather than on testing and grades.  For anyone who wants to change, but is afraid to leap into it, Shift This gives practical advice, resources, and reflection questions to help you make gradual adjustments that will transform you and your students.  Make no mistake.  Though Genius Hour is one possible change to implement, this book is about much more. You can access her resources here.
  3. Teach Like a Pirate, by Dave Burgess, is all about engaging your students no matter what the topic.  As you can tell from the title of my blog, I’m all about that!  I wrote a review of the book awhile ago that you can find here.  The two questions that stuck with me from Dave’s book, and I am forever asking myself are, “If your students didn’t have to be there, would you be teaching in an empty room?”  and “Do you have any lessons you could sell tickets for?”  The one that I add to that is, “Would I want my own child to have me as a teacher?”  From Dave, you will learn the importance of a teacher’s passion when we want to inspire learning, whether we use costumes, simulations, music, or suspense. By the way, many of the books that you will find on this page are products of Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. – another way that Dave has made a huge impact on education!
  4. Kids Deserve It, by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome,  is about the power of relationships and how important it is that we work on building connections with our students, their parents, and our colleagues.  Both men share stories of innovations and obstacles they have encountered along the way.  In my teaching career, I have avoided making many selfish decisions by asking myself, “But what is best for the kids?”  Todd and Adam don’t just ask themselves; they ask everyone! Through social media, they communicate with people all over the world so that, even when they get the “alien look” from educators who doubt them, they have the courage to take risks for the sake of the students in their care.
  5. The Culture Code, by Daniel Coyle, has become one of my favorite books of 2018 so far.  This is not a book written specifically for educators, but has a lot of applicable stories and research about leadership. I did a blog post about this one that you can read here.
  6. When, by Daniel Pink, is a book about the science of timing.  If you want to know more about how many breaks students should have during the day, when to assess them, and how to be the most productive person you can be, this book will tell you all of those and more.  Here is my recent blog post with more details.