Ami Turner DelAguila’s Top-10 Book Picks: Professional Development


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Summer of Learning Professional Development

If you’re like many educators, summer is the perfect (and only!) time to catch up on all of those “teacher books” you’ve wanted to read all year. Here are 10 of my favorites—some are new and some are classics—but they all offer fresh, smart ideas you can use in your classroom.

  • Talking in Class: Using Discussion to Enhance Teaching and Learning,by McCann, Johannessen, Khan and Flanagan, has many secondary English strategies that I used in my own classroom. If you’re looking for new ways to implement discussion-based activities and assessments, this book will provide you with a road map to make these ideas a reality.
  • Teaching Outside the Box: How to Grab Your Students by Their Brains, by LouAnne Johnson, helps craft a classroom culture where all learners can succeed. From establishing trust to maintaining control to overcoming student skepticism, this text is great because it has tips that are easy to implement.
  • STEM to Story: Enthralling and Effective Lesson Plans for Grades 5-8, by 826 National, is a great interdisciplinary text for middle school students. The activities in this book will help get students engaged in STEM by using their imaginations and creative writing. The best part? These activities are aligned with both the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards.
  • The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide, by Julia G. Thompson, is my No.1 pick for new teachers because it isn’t intended to be read from beginning to end. Instead, it’s divided into sections that break down areas of difficulty for new and experienced teachers alike. The tone of this text is so positive and encouraging that you can’t help but feel ready to get back and tackle your own classroom challenges. If you haven’t heard of Julia G. Thompson, check out the free upcoming and on-demand webinars we have that feature her.
  • Discipline in the Secondary Classroom, by Randall S. Sprick, is one of the most tried-and-true books on secondary classroom management around. Both new and veteran teachers will find valuable ways to create a classroom management plan that will be effective in their classrooms. Did your school implement PBIS? Then don’t miss Sprick’s on-demand webinar on Share My Lesson.
  • Making Thinking Visible, by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church and Karin Morrison, and Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools, by Ron Ritchhart, are two of my favorite texts because they offer a great combination of high-level education research and practical classroom ideas all designed to help make your classroom a space where students engage in deep, critical thinking. These books build off one another, and help educators look beyond tests toward creating a classroom culture that supports thinking and learning.
  • The Together Teacher, by Maia Heyck-Merlin, is essential for any teacher who thinks that he or she is overscheduled and overwhelmed. Learn how to establish simple yet successful organizational systems that will (gasp) allow teachers to enjoy their limited free time. And there’s no need to spend tons of money at an organizational store. Most of these techniques can be easily and inexpensively implemented in your classroom.
  • Write Like This, by Kelly Gallagher, shows educators how important modeling is in the learning process. Real-world examples are the backbone and structure of this text as Gallagher focuses on specific parts of writing that each student should learn. Gallagher helps teachers feel more comfortable with the modeling process, and provides ideas that will help students learn the writing skills they need to become successful adult writers.
  • The Differentiated Classroom, by Carol Ann Tomlinson, helps teachers tackle that buzzword that seems so hard to attain in the everyday classroom: differentiation. Today’s schools are more diverse than ever, and this text contains the theoretical basis for differentiation as well as tangible tips that teachers can use in their classrooms. As a bonus—this is a fast and engaging read that is accessible to all teachers.