Educators’ Summer Reading List - 2021 Edition
Educators’ Summer Reading List - 2021 Edition
Summer break is the perfect time to expand and strengthen your educator skills. If you pick the right books, you can work on your professional development wherever you go this summer!
Every year, we look at the hottest topics in education and society and then highlight books designed to help you reflect, build your knowledge set, and inspire you, while also preparing you for the new school year. Here are our top summer reads for 2021:
Engagement & Innovation
What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers across America by Ted Dintersmith
An inspiring account of teachers in ordinary circumstances doing extraordinary things, showing us how to transform education.
Innovation expert Ted Dintersmith took an unprecedented trip across America, visiting all fifty states in a single school year. He originally set out to raise awareness about the urgent need to reimagine education to prepare students for a world marked by innovation--but America's teachers one-upped him. All across the country, he met teachers in ordinary settings doing extraordinary things, creating innovative classrooms where children learn deeply and joyously as they gain purpose, agency, essential skillsets and mindsets, and real knowledge. Together, these new ways of teaching and learning offer a vision of what school could be―and a model for transforming schools throughout the United States and beyond.
All In: 18 Ways to Create Inclusive Virtual Classrooms by Dr. Paula Kluth
Schools must remain focused on the goal of inclusion, even when students are learning from home. Distance learning poses many obstacles, but it also offers unique opportunities. All In: 18 Ways to Create Inclusive Virtual Classrooms is not an examination of all that is possible in e-learning. Rather, it is meant to be a guide and a starting point for discussion and planning, not only for teaching in virtual spaces but for considering how to bring the learning we acquire in this format back to face-to-face classrooms.
Transform your classroom culture from one of passive knowledge consumption to one of active learning and student engagement. In this well-researched book, author Rebecca Stobaugh shares how to build a culture of thinking that emphasizes essential 21st century skills -- from critical thinking and problem-solving to teamwork and creativity. Gain 50 teacher-tested instructional and student engagement strategies for nurturing students' cognitive development and utilize the book's Take Action activities to help you put the student engagement strategies to work in your classroom.
Social Emotional Learning
TRANSFORMATIONAL 21st Century EDUCATION: Essential Tools for the Development of Social, Emotional, and Academic Excellence by Dr. Jennifer Johnston-Jones and Dr. Pam Herkner-Chasse
If you've ever wondered what can be done about student apathy, bullying, anxiety, inattention, defiance, and how to help students develop a love of learning, this book is for you. You'll learn easy-to-implement methods for integrating social emotional learning, trauma informed practices, and solution- focused discipline to ensure that students can achieve their academic and psychological potential.
Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers by Ruth Ayres
In this moving, personal book, Ruth Ayres weaves together her experience as a mother, teacher, and writer. She explores the power of stories to heal children from troubled backgrounds and offers up strategies for helping students discover and write about their own stories of strength and survival. She shares her own struggles and triumphs and hard-earned lessons from raising a family of four adopted children. Her experience is invaluable to any teacher who’s met children living in poverty, in unstable households, or in fear of abuse.
Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers invites you on a journey to become a teacher who refuses to give up on any student, who helps children believe that they can have a positive impact on the world, and who—in some cases—becomes the last hope for a child to heal.
Educator and theater director Andrew Nance is the author of the popular children's book Puppy Mind, which brought a new dimension of cuteness to the practice of mindfulness in the form of a rambunctious, playful puppy. In this book, Nance brings the puppy and a host of other friendly characters into the classroom to animate a 21-lesson curriculum centered around lively stories and easy-to-lead exercises for young students from kindergarten to third grade. Nance offers a teacher's guide to arts-based mindfulness exercises utilizing storytelling, theater games, and drawing to spark students' self-expression, self-awareness, and social and emotional well-being.
Equity in Education
Most educators want to cultivate an antibias and antiracist classroom and school community, but they often struggle with where and how to get started. Liz helps us set ourselves up for success and prepare for the mistakes we'll make along the way.
Each chapter in Start Here, Start Now addresses many of the questions and challenges educators have about getting started, using a framework for tackling perceived barriers from a proactive stance. Liz answers the questions with personal stories, sample lessons, anchor charts, resources, conversation starters, extensive teacher and activist accounts, and more. We can break the habits that are holding us back from this work and be empowered to take the first step towards reimagining the possibilities of how antibias antiracist work can transform schools and the world at large.
Choosing to See: A Framework for Equity in the Math Classroom by Pamela Seda and Kyndall Brown
Most of the top jobs for the future require students to have a strong foundational understanding of mathematics. Our failure to mathematically educate most students in general, and students of color in particular, is bad not only for these students individually but also for our society. In Choosing to See, Pamela Seda and Kyndall Brown offer a substantive, rigorous, and necessary set of interventions to move mathematics education toward greater equity, particularly in serving the needs of Black and Brown students, who are underrepresented and underserved as math scholars.
The authors’ thoughtful ICUCARE equity framework serves as a lens to help teachers see where they are achieving this alignment and where they are not.
Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique Morris
In a work that Lisa Delpit calls "imperative reading," Monique W. Morris (Black Stats, Too Beautiful for Words) chronicles the experiences of Black girls across the country whose intricate lives are misunderstood, highly judged―by teachers, administrators, and the justice system―and degraded by the very institutions charged with helping them flourish. Pushout exposes a world of confined potential and supports the rising movement to challenge the policies, practices, and cultural illiteracy that push countless students out of school and into unhealthy, unstable, and often unsafe futures.
It was only after years within the education reform movement that Natalie Wexler stumbled across a hidden explanation for our country's frustrating lack of progress when it comes to providing every child with a quality education. The problem wasn't one of the usual scapegoats: lazy teachers, shoddy facilities, lack of accountability. It was something no one was talking about: the elementary school curriculum's intense focus on decontextualized reading comprehension "skills" at the expense of actual knowledge. In the tradition of Dale Russakoff's The Prize and Dana Goldstein's The Teacher Wars, Wexler brings together history, research, and compelling characters to pull back the curtain on this fundamental flaw in our education system--one that fellow reformers, journalists, and policymakers have long overlooked, and of which the general public, including many parents, remains unaware.
But The Knowledge Gap isn't just a story of what schools have gotten so wrong--it also follows innovative educators who are in the process of shedding their deeply ingrained habits, and describes the rewards that have come along: students who are not only excited to learn but are also acquiring the knowledge and vocabulary that will enable them to succeed.
In today’s stressful climate of education budget shortfalls, ever-evolving academic standards, and widespread cultural transformation, how can educators find the confidence to become the leaders they hope to be? Thrive through the Five helps school leaders navigate that challenging 5 percent of work (and life) when things are really, really hard. The goal of this book is to not just help readers survive through those moments, days, and seasons, but to lead through them and truly thrive.
The superintendent of Gunter ISD, a growing school district an hour north of Dallas, Dr. Siler offers a refreshingly honest account of the challenges and pitfalls of leadership. Coupled with her infectious optimism, her wisdom and insight invite educational professionals to take the next best step and move confidently—even through the toughest times.
What can a deejay teach us about the classroom? What does a superintendent do besides decide when to close school for snow? What makes someone a great teacher or a great principal? In this collection of essays, Dr. Joe Clark answers these questions by offering a model for compassionate, principled, and student-centered school leadership. In the process, If the Dance Floor Is Empty, Change the Song offers leaders a handbook for placing kindness, community, and diversity at the heart of successful education.
Full of humor and resilience, Clark’s essays beam with as much range as they do insight. He dives right into issues like changing instructional standards, increased reliance on testing, and anxiety about social media in schools—and others—while providing collegial advice that new school leaders in particular will find indispensable. With an eye toward centering students, supporting teachers, and empowering communities, If the Dance Floor Is Empty, Change the Song never loses sight of the human needs and connections that ultimately drive learning.
Look for more resources centered around professional development? Check out our professional development tag on our blog!