- Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56
The only reason this book receives any demerits is because if all teachers taught this way, we would all be separated from those we love, have raised abandoned and screwed up kids, and probably die before they graduate high school. However, one cannot help but be inspired and encouraged by Rafe Esquith. You just need to read with a filter.
- The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School
Dense and fully discouraging, yet, filled with hope. Amazon explains it better than I can: Postman suggests that the current crisis in our educational system derives from its failure to supply students with a translucent, unifying "narrative" like those that inspired earlier generations. Instead, today's schools promote the false "gods" of economic utility, consumerism, or ethnic separatism and resentment. What alternative strategies can we use to instill our children with a sense of global citizenship, healthy intellectual skepticism, respect of America's traditions, and appreciation of its diversity? In answering this question, The End of Education restores meaning and common sense to the arena in which they are most urgently needed.
- The Smartest Kids in the World: And how they got that way
There won't be much here in terms of pedagogy or assessment, but being able to see a glimpse of other types of schooling, the rigor many students can endure, and the dangers of high expectations (plus several great stories) is a plus for anyone.
"In a handful of nations, virtually all children are learning to make complex arguments and solve problems they’ve never seen before. They are learning to think, in other words, and to thrive in the modern economy. Inspired to find answers for our own children, author and Time magazine journalist Amanda Ripley follows three Americans embedded in these countries for one year" (Amazon review).
- Teach Like a Champion: Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College
The danger in this type of book is that if you follow the techniques without thinking or intentionality, it can make you a terrible teacher. Because you're doing the very thing we encourage our students NOT to do. However, working through this book slowly, adapting and manipulating various strategies throughout the year can provide a toolbox of teaching techniques that will last you a lifetime of teaching.
For Language Arts:
- You Gotta Be the Book: Teaching Engaged and Reflective Reading With Adolescents
Some of the ideas aren't new or groundbreaking, but the encouragement and/or refreshment of how stories should be taught made the whole book worth reading. This is a must-read for any English teacher. If nothing else, its sets a high bar of expectations.
- Walking on Water: Reading, Writing, and Revolution
One of my favorite reads, ever, in any genre. Writing and reading is and should be about so much more than just the words and story on a page, and this book exemplifies this idea more than any I've ever read.