It’s that time of year again! Our popular annual “Teacher Reading List” series is back. We’ve uncovered 40 of the very best books for teachers this year and are sharing them with you in the roundup below. As always, we have some books for your professional growth, as well as for your classroom and some that are just for fun as well. Here’s to a summer filled with good books and great ideas!
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Click any of these subtopics to find our recommended books:
ALL ABOUT MINDSET
MINDSETS IN THE CLASSROOM
Have you heard about the “growth mindset” but aren’t sure what that actually looks like in the classroom? This book provides great examples, insights and strategies for cultivating the growth mindset in all students, no matter what class they are in!
MINDSET: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SUCCESS
Carol Dweck is the author of the groundbreaking work surrounding having a growth mindset. In this book, she talks about the WHY and the HOW rather than just the what that we teach. It’s an important read for anyone who believes that mindsets are flexible and not already set when they reach our classrooms.
THE INNOVATOR’S MINDSET
“Kids walk into schools full of wonder and questions. How you, as an educator, respond to students’ natural curiosity can help further their own exploration and shape the way they learn today and in the future.” We LOVE this fantastic new book and all of the ways author George Couros offers to empower us to teach in a way that builds forward-thinking learners.
HOW TO THINK LIKE DA VINCI
We all know that da Vinci was the ultimate Renaissance Man. But did you know that there are ways you can cultivate your own talents and intelligence to go beyond what you ever imagined? This book uses da Vinci’s own notebooks, artwork, and inventions as springboards into the Seven daVincian Principles for curiosity.
THE THIRD TEACHER
This book, from an international team of architects and designers, explores the critical link between the school environment and how children learn. The Third Teacher reading list offers 79 practical design ideas, both great and small, to improving school from the inside out.
DESIGN FOR HOW PEOPLE LEARN
In Design For How People Learn, you’ll discover how to use the key principles behind learning, memory, and attention to create materials that enable your students to both gain and retain the knowledge and skills you’re sharing.
WORLDS OF MAKING
Interested in creating a makerspace in your school? This handy book provides some great ideas and considerations to think about before you leap in. Plus, it’s very reasonably priced at just under $12. Includes lots of practical information like:
- How to create an action plan for your own personalized Makerspace
- Align activities to standards
- Showcase student creations
THE GENIUS HOUR GUIDEBOOK
If you’ve been interested in the idea of using a Genius Hour in your classroom or school, but aren’t sure of how to set it up so that it’s successful and maximizes your time, this is a terrific book to grab. Very practical, with instantly applicable ideas to put into action in your own classroom. Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.
TEACHING RESOURCES & IDEAS
UNLEASH YOUR INNER CREATIVITY
If you don’t think of yourself as “creative”, then you’re thinking about it all wrong. This powerful book helps us all to connect with what it means to be creative and how to connect with our own unique brand of artistry. Even trained artists can have trouble with creativity! This book helps to break down the science and the art of “stealing back your creative genius”. Excited to add this one to my summer teacher reading list!
MATH ART FUN
This terrific book is a must-have for those who are looking to create arts integrated math lessons. Robin is an Associate Director for Curriculum Integration at Rice University and will also be sharing more about this topic at our upcoming online conference. In this book, she provides immediately-actionable activities for finding mathematical connections in various artwork from Pollack to O’Keefe. Great for both the classroom and art class library!
LEARN LIKE A PIRATE
Our entire team here at EdCloset LOVES the book Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. In this next book, Paul Solarz brings the principles to us as learners and the transformations are incredible. Definitely grab this one as part of your own “growth” library this summer.
Ever wonder how to provide students with an authentic grade that is reflective of both their knowledge and their growth? In this book, Lewin and Shoemaker share both integrated thematic units and how to develop/implement performance tasks that make sense.
THE 4 LENSES OF INNOVATION
Ever wonder where big, breakthrough ideas come from? It’s not a magical event! This book shares how we can cultivate innovation by learning from others who have done it, like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos. Originally written for business leaders, this book translates so easily into our own classrooms and how we develop innovative thinkers along the way.
MAKING LEARNING WHOLE
This book from Harvard’s Project Zero co-director David Perkins provides a framework for teaching that walks you through how to teach both the bigger picture and the discrete ideas through integrated approaches. Practical and eye-opening!
PBL FOR 21ST CENTURY SUCCESS
In this book from respected journalist Suzie Boss, we’re given practical advice for those who are interested in how to facilitate PBL in our own classrooms. From project design to getting parental and community support, this is a great overview of how to bring Project-Based Learning into your room without getting bogged down and frustrated.
VISIBLE LEARNING FOR TEACHERS
This book from John Hattie is the next step in his groundbreaking research on how visible learning impacts students. In this teacher reading list, he takes it to the next level with practical implementation strategies, lesson planning, and checklists/resources you can use right away.
From celebrated art historian, former curator of the MoMA, and teacher Sarah Lewis, this book takes an interesting look at how our most creative endeavors—from innovation to the arts—are not achievements but corrections after failed attempts. After hearing Sarah speak last year at the ASCD conference in Houston, I can say this book is a MUST-READ for all educators.
THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION
If you need a little “pick me up” or as a reminder that our uniqueness is exactly what the world needs, then you need to pick up a copy of this book. So often, we pursue pathways because we think it’s what we should do, rather than because it’s our passion. This book helps peel back the layers and guides us all in embracing who we really are.
I was so excited about the release of this new book from one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert (who also wrote Eat, Pray Love and The Signature of All Things). Once I picked it up, I moved through it in just under 2 days. There are so many important lessons in here for all of us who want to inspire, create, and connect with the world but are sometimes blocked from doing so. This book gives us all hope that creativity isn’t for the lucky few, but is a birthright of our own humanity.
SWITCH: HOW TO CHANGE THINGS WHEN CHANGE IS HARD
As we all know by now, trying to make significant changes like using Arts Integration, STEAM or PBL is difficult. I think this is especially true in schools! This book not only shares why this happens, but practical ways we can do something about it. If you’re tired of the status quo and want to create change in your school, this is definitely a great place to start.
MEANINGFUL: THE STORY OF IDEAS THAT FLY
THIS is the book we’ve been waiting for! Written for the new “maker” entrepreneur, the connections that are available for schools, leadership, innovative efforts (like Arts Integration and STEAM) are written over every single page. You’re going to be inspired in each section and want to go make your classroom, school or district even better.
MAKE JUST ONE CHANGE
This book is a must-read teacher reading list for any educator who is sick of hearing crickets whenever they ask a question (even an easy question) in their classroom. This helpful resource shares the Question Formulation Technique that any teacher can use to help students ask their own questions that are rich, meaningful and spark their own curiosity for learning.
Almost all of us know of Sir Ken’s pivotal TED Talk on why Schools are Killing Creativity. It has been seen more than any other TED Talk. In his new book, though, Sir Ken is going deeper and taking a look at what creative schools might look like, what that would require and the fundamental shift that needs to take place to make this happen.
As an educator, you know all about taking risks. In this beautiful book by Brene Brown, you’ll be encouraged to reach even farther and take the risks that matter most. Daring you to push yourself and others in your life (and classrooms) to dream bigger is the greatest gift you can give.
SEEING WHAT OTHERS DON’T
Ever wonder why you can put the pieces together around a topic or arts area that others just can’t? This fascinating book from Gary Klein explore what makes us tick and why each of us has a unique set of abilities and talents that give us incredible insights.
THE POWER OF HABIT
This book is a fantastic reminder of why we practice and how we practice a habit. There have been more and more studies recently that habitually practicing your creativity can make you a healthier, happier, and more productive person. Who wouldn’t want that?
TEACHING OUTSIDE THE LINES
We’re going to keep adding to your professional bookshelf with this quick-read by Doug Johnson. In this book, Doug shares why creativity is not a nice “extra” but a “must-have” in the 21st century classroom. This book delivers surefire strategies for equipping learners across all grades and subjects with the motivation and critical thinking skills to thrive in our high-tech future.
WIRED TO CREATE
I am fascinated by what causes us all to have our own unique stamp on creativity. This book, Wired to Create, offers a glimpse inside the “messy minds” of highly creative people. Showcasing current research, along with engaging examples of artists and innovators throughout history, the book shines a light on the practices and habits of mind that promote creative thinking.
If you ever feel like you’re alone in the world, this is the book for you. Inside, Adam Grant showcases how the people who make the biggest, most lasting changes to our world are those who stand just outside of the box. As innovative educators, you’ll find yourself reflected in page after page in this book.
THE LITTLE SPARK
In this book, The Little Spark: 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity, you’ll find not only some great exercises to open up your creative spirit, but also tips for how to make room for it in your daily life.
THE CROSSROADS OF SHOULD AND MUST
This book is from artist and author Elle Luna, who will be a keynote speaker at this summer’s online Arts Integration and STEAM conference. It’s about the difference between jobs, careers, and callings. If you’re looking for an inspirational, quick read – this is a great option.
WHAT TO DO WHEN IT’S YOUR TURN
Any book by Seth Godin immediately goes to the top of my teacher reading list and this one is no different. Once you start to read this book, you’re going to have trouble getting through it. Only because you’ll want to get up and get started on whatever it is that you’re passionate about.
VOCABULARY GAMES FOR THE CLASSROOM
Need some new ways to teach vocabulary? There are 13 different games provided in this book with terms from E/LA, Math, Science and Social Studies. I’ve also found that these games work well with key terms found in all arts areas.
FOR YOUR CLASSROOM LIBRARY
This is a great book and teacher reading list to have on hand in any classroom – there are so many connections to math, visual art, music, dance, and of course, English/Language Arts. A book all about belonging and finding where you fit into the larger picture, this is a fantastic read!
MATH AT THE ART MUSEUM
Need a classroom book that your students will love? This book is a fantastic addition to any arts integration or art classroom! The young boy in the story is suspicious when his father tells him there is math in his favorite artworks. But through some hands-on activities (that your students can do right along with the boy in the story), the connections begin appearing.
FULL STEAM AHEAD: A CHILDREN’S BOOK
We are HUGE fans of Peter and Paul Reynolds (infamous for the book, The Dot) and were so excited to find this book and teacher reading list to use in the elementary classroom. Inside, the two characters use STEAM to learn about the water cycle and to solve a problem going on with their flowers. This is definitely something we’d recommend for any elementary class library.
JUST FOR FUN
YEAR OF YES
I love Shonda Rhimes. She’s smart, funny and an incredible writer. So I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share with you this teacher reading list, her book, The Year of Yes. What would happen if we all said YES to more opportunities and just saw where that took us? That’s exactly what Shonda did and she chronicals it all in the new book. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, but also an inspirational journey for all of us who aren’t perfect.
THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO
Sometimes, we just need a good fictional read. This story from Mitch Albom shares how a young war orphan touches the world through his guitar playing. Even more remarkable is that the entire story is told from the voice of Music.
A MAN CALLED OVE
This is one that’s just a good old-fashioned teacher reading list beach read. It’s a story about a cranky old man who doesn’t realize the impact his life has had on countless others. A wonderful reminder to us all that we reach many more than we could possibly know.
GO SET A WATCHMAN
This story from Harper Lee was actually written before her famed, To Kill a Mockingbird. Quite intense, but there are so many fascinating connections to current events of this teacher reading list. Definitely a powerful read that takes you back in time while simultaneously offering a fresh perspective for today.
There you have it! 40 books for Teacher Reading List to get you through the summer months. Did we miss any of your favorites? If so, share them in the comments below – let’s keep our list growing!
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.