It’s that time of year! Our annual picks for the top 20 books for teachers have arrived. Just in time for longer summer days, you can dive into these insightful and perspective-changing reads.
This year, our teacher reading list includes selections for reworking your curriculum, classroom management, sparking your own creativity, and some that are just plain old-fashioned fun to read. We’ve also included a single-sheet downloadable PDF of our top teacher picks so that you can print out for a handy reference anytime. So grab a book, get yourself comfy, and let’s dig in!
Top 20 Picks: Books for Teachers
Meaningful Making – This book from Invent to Learn author Sylvia Martinez helps to move us from a Maker Movement to using making as a fully-embodied learning experience. This book includes ideas for learning spaces, maker spaces and everything in between.
Happy Teacher Habits – What do daffodils, baseball announcing, and Tina Fey have to do with teaching? As it turns out, a lot. In The Happy Teacher Habits, Michael Linsin guides you through 11 little-known habits of the happiest, most effective teachers on Earth.
Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student – If there’s one book that you need to read before heading back to school, it’s this one. The authors know the realities of the classroom and provide a process that can be incorporated into every class at every grade level … even if you don’t consider yourself a “creative teacher.”
What Teachers Make -The incredible speech from Taylor Mali has now been turned into a full-fledged book. If you’ve ever had someone ask you “what do you make?” as a teacher, this book is for you.
Creative You – What’s great about this book is that it places creativity in the context of your personality type – a really different way to look at it. This changed so much for me about how I approach creative education with children.
The First Days of School – I’ve read a bunch of classroom management books and this one still is on the top of my list. The information is concise, easy to implement and it just works. If you struggle with classroom management, or are moving grade levels, this is a great book to have!
Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools – If you’re interested in flipping your classroom or incorporating more mix between traditional and online learning for your classroom, this book is a must-read. It’s whole purpose is to provide a hands-on field guide for creating a blended learning environment in your classroom or school. A great resource!
Six Thinking Hats – Originally written for entrepreneurs, I found this book FULL of helpful ideas for guiding our students through the creative thinking routines and habits just by putting on these six thinking hats.
Presence: Bring Your Boldest Self to your Biggest Challenges – THIS is the book you need to read before starting out your school year. We’re all going to face challenges and anxiety. This book shares how you can overcome those and step confidently into the spotlight.
UNThink: Rediscover your Creative Genius – This incredible book was written by the charismatic and passionate graffiti artist Erik Wahl. I had the joy of interviewing him for our upcoming October STEAMed Magazine and discovered so much about creativity in schools just by listening to him talk about the ideas he shares in this book.
Carry On, Warrior – I recently watched an interview with the author of this book, Glennon Doyle Melton, and was instantly hooked. In this book, she shares the power of truth, creativity, and leaving the false notion of perfection behind.
The Power of Questioning – Teaching and learning cannot happen without questions. Inquiry is the offspring of curiosity and creativity. Questions are incredibly powerful tools that open the world up. The Power of Questioning will help you to make students partners in their own learning.
Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School – This quick read will get you excited about all of the ways you can climb over, go around and bust through those walls that are blocking your way at school. I really enjoyed this one and found some new ideas I’d never considered before!
Digital Storytelling in the Classroom – If you’re looking for ways to integrate the new Media Arts standards into your curriculum, this is an outstanding resource to have available. Author Jason Ohler makes the process practical and realistic for any educator to begin using video, non-traditional text, artwork and more in developing literacy skills.
The ONE Thing – This is such an intriguing read. If you’ve ever been caught in the crosshairs of wanting both LESS (distractions, emails, stress) and MORE (time, productivity, satisfaction), this book is for you. The authors clarify the one thing that actually makes this biggest impact in your life and beyond. I love how this also relates to our classrooms in a very real way as well!
The ZEN Teacher – This book from Dan Tricarico is a great way to get yourself and your students centered and more “plugged in” in the classroom. Dan moderated a recent #k12artchat and his practical techniques for teachers are a breath of fresh air.
Weaving Creativity into Every Strand of Your Curriculum – More and more, people are discovering the power of integrating creativity and the arts into their curricula. This book helps to clarify what that can look like in every area. There are some really good ideas and practical tips inside.
Creative Development – Author Robert Kelly explores how to bridge the gap between design thinking and design doing in this great read.
The Courage to Teach – If you’re looking for something that both honors and pushes you in your teaching practice, this should be on your book list!
Maker Lab – This book from the Smithsonian has over 28 projects to build, invent and create.
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.