So much of the daily work of leading a classroom is never taught in an education classroom. This book has received a great deal of buzz among teachers thanks to its detailed, step-by-step teaching techniques written in a tone that is totally teacher-to-teacher. Rather than lots of flowery “inspirational” text, Lenov lays out specific classroom teaching practices like how to check for understanding, how to plan a tight lesson, and yes, 47 more ways to increase student response and individual performance. The training activities at the end of each chapter are not bogus “quizzes” that will stay empty. They show you how to customize the tactics for your teaching style and student population.
Favorite quote: “Teach students how to do things right, don’t just establish consequences for doing them wrong.”
Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids
by Chris Biffle
Don’t let behavior issues sap your love of teaching and precious classroom time! This book is all about strategies to keep you and your students learning together, not flipping cards and writing referrals. We are especially enamored with Biffle’s ingenious Scoreboard system that turns classroom management into a video game come to life for the students.
Favorite quote: “We believe there will be no substantial educational reform until administrators, specifically principals, roll up their sleeves, step into rebellious classes and show teachers how to instruct unruly students. We need educational leaders … not financial bean counters.”
The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child
by Donalyn Miller
“I hate reading” is the Voldemort-esque phrase that shall not be said and eliminated completely from classrooms. Miller provides ideas on turning even reluctant students into bookworms. She is anti-drills and worksheets and pro helping students choose books they will love. The end result is life-long readers, as well as vastly improved student vocabularies, reading comprehension and writing skills.
Favorite quote: “Reading helps you escape the confines of school and pursue your own education. Through characters—the saints and the sinners, real or imagined—reading shows you how to be a better human being.”
Conscious Discipline: 7 Basic Skills for Brain Smart Classroom Management
by Dr. Becky A. Bailey
This is the social-emotional learning primer. It provides teachers with the philosophies and then gives instruction on how to model the skills with students. The real-world examples are particularly enlightening, showing teachers how to teach students how to manage their emotions instead of acting out. Social-emotional learning has been found to be effective in communicating and setting limits with students, so if you have been meaning to learn more about the practices, this is a good place to start.
Favorite quote: “Discipline is not something you do to children; it is something you develop within them.”
Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time
by Brigid Schulte
This book wasn’t just written for teachers, but as feeling overwhelmed in the great big balance of life is a common educator feeling, it makes our list. Schulte studies what makes modern people feel stressed, even as we have more technology to help us, theoretically, manage our time. Her findings may ignite for you ways in which you can eliminate stresses in your school year and take better control of your limited hours (and happiness).
Favorite quote: “The stuff of life never ends. That is life. You will never clear your plate so you can finally allow yourself to get to the good stuff. So you have to decide. What do you want to accomplish in this life?”
The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher
by Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong
An oldie (well, the first edition came out in 1999) but a goodie, the fourth edition of this classroom-management Bible has been updated with research and current examples, as well as an implementation DVD, that keep it from feeling too out of the loop. The Wongs’ premise that what teachers do on the first day of school sets the stage for the entire year is a bit pressure-filled, but the overall tips for mastering your classroom and promoting positivity toward your students can be used effectively all year.
Favorite quote: “The most important day of a person’s education is the first day of school, not Graduation Day.”
Teaching students from under-performing areas, with big behavior problems or with limited English skills is not a hardship for Esquith. Instead, he sees those challenges as ways to pack more learning in his students’ days and make more of an impact on their lives. If this sounds too good to be true, it is inspiring to learn that Esquith continues to put his ideas into practice in a fifth grade classroom in a Los Angeles public school, even after winning the President’s National Medal of the Arts. This first-person account is more of a motivational bedtime story for the nightstand than a how-to, but it will make you laugh and look forward to seeing your students in the morning.
Favorite quote: “There are so many charlatans in the world of education. They teach for a couple of years, come up with a few clever slogans, build their websites, and hit the lecture circuit. We can do better. True excellence takes sacrifice, mistakes, and enormous amounts of effort. After all, there are no shortcuts.”
Teach Like a PIRATE
by Dave Burgess
Commanding control with creativity … and a lot of zaniness … is the PIRATE philosophy. No, you do not have to shout “Avast, me hearties” or “Shiver me timbers” in front of the class (unless you want to). PIRATE is an acronym for Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask and Analyze, Transformation, and Enthusiasm, the keys to drawing students in and capturing their attention. We like Burgess’s 30 “hook” ideas for engaging students.
Favorite quote: “If you haven’t failed in the classroom lately, you aren’t pushing the envelope far enough. ‘Safe’ lessons are a recipe for mediocrity at best.”
Teaching With Love and Logic: Taking Control of the Classroom
by Jim Fay and David Funk
See if you can borrow this old-school book from your mentor before buying, or check the teacher’s lounge for a copy. Its philosophies of dignity and respect for others in the classroom have worked well for decades, drawing on the concepts of positive reinforcement and “good choices.” Combined with your school and district discipline policies, this book provides an empathetic counterpoint and helps to eliminate classroom and student-to-student power struggles.
Favorite quote: “When we do discipline without showing frustration, the odds for success increase in a very big way.”
Is your favorite teaching book missing? Share it in the comments!
Taken from our friends at We Are Teachers. Written by Jessica McFadden.