Outside the Classroom

December’s Top 5 Education Book Releases: See What’s Coming Out This Month!

The end of the year is coming up fast, which means time to rest, relax, and recharge. It’s also a great time to do some reading, whether it’s for professional development, personal growth, or pleasure, so we’ve picked out December’s top 5 education book releases to help you choose what to read during your time off.

This month’s books cover teaching gifted students, the development of soft skills in young children, why we need to view movement in the classroom as a part of children’s development, and more. And if you’re looking for some more relaxing reading options, check out these books to help you relieve some stress during your break from school.

We hope you find some good information in our list of December’s top 5 education book releases. Enjoy your well-deserved time off, and happy reading!

In Teachers We Trust: The Finnish Way to World-Class Schools
Pasi Sahlberg and Timothy D. Walker

Seven key principles from Finland for building a culture of trust in schools around the world.

In the spring of 2018, thousands of teachers across the United States—in states like Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Arizona—walked off their jobs while calling for higher wages and better working conditions. Ultimately, these American educators trumpeted a simple request: treat us like professionals. Teachers in many other countries feel the same way as their US counterparts.

In Teachers We Trust presents a compelling vision, offering practical ideas for educators and school leaders wishing to develop teacher-powered education systems. It reveals why teachers in Finland hold high status and shows what the country’s trust-based school system looks like in action.

Pasi Sahlberg and Timothy D. Walker suggest seven key principles for building a culture of trust in schools, from offering clinical training for future teachers to encouraging student agency to fostering a collaborative professionalism among educators. In Teachers We Trust is essential reading for all teachers, administrators, and parents who entrust their children to American schools.

From Able to Remarkable: Help Your Students Become Expert Learners
Robert Massey

In From Able to Remarkable: Help Your Students Become Expert Learners, Robert Massey provides a pathway to help teachers guide their students through the gauntlets of the gifted, the underpasses of underachievement, and the roadblocks to remarkable on their learning journeys.

What makes remarkable students remarkable? Attributes such as resilience, curiosity, and intelligence may come to mind—and we might also add others, such as intuition and tenacity. But what has helped make them what they are?

Were they born this way, or did their “remarkabilities” emerge during their schooling? Such questions may make teachers feel uneasy, prompting them to reflect on the sometimes limiting scope of what is often labeled as “gifted and talented provision” in their school.

Robert Massey argues, however, that these remarkabilities are there, latent and dormant, in many more students than we might at first acknowledge. In From Able to Remarkable, Robert shares a rich variety of practical, cross-curricular strategies designed to help teachers unearth and nurture these capabilities and signpost a route to the top for every learner.

Informed by educational research and evidence from the field of cognitive science, the book talks teachers through a wide range of effective teaching and learning techniques—all of which are appropriate for use with all pupils and not only with top sets or high attainers. Robert also shares ideas on how teachers can improve their students’ abilities to receive, respond to, and then deliver feedback on both their own work and that of others. To complement the feedback process, he presents practical methods to help teachers make questioning, self-review, and greater student ownership of their questioning within lessons a staple of day-to-day classroom interaction.

Venturing beyond the classroom, the book also explores approaches to whole-school provision for high-attaining students and offers some robust stretch and challenge to educational leaders in considering what widespread excellence in education might look like.

Suitable for teachers and gifted and talented coordinators in both primary and secondary schools.

What to Expect When You’re Expected to Teach Gifted Students: A Guide to the Celebrations, Surprises, Quirks, and Questions in Your First Year Teaching Gifted Learners
Kari Lockhart

What to Expect When You’re Expected to Teach Gifted Students is a practical, easy-to-read guide that:

  • Reviews expectations versus likely classroom realities that first-time gifted teachers may face.
  • Includes real-world advice for navigating the joys, surprises, and frustrations.
  • Addresses specific topics related to gifted education, including students’ social–emotional needs.
  • Includes considerations for choosing appropriate curricular materials and working with parents and families.
  • Features ways to advocate for gifted and advanced programming and tips for continued professional learning.

In each chapter, readers dive into issues that are frequently cited as challenges for new gifted teachers and emerge equipped with resources and strategies to build a successful classroom that meets the needs of high-ability students. This book is perfect for any teacher new to the field of gifted education.

Acting Out! Avoid Behavior Challenges with Active Learning Games and Activities
Rae Pica

Movement is not misbehavior.

Current policies in the early childhood field ask teachers to treat children as though they exist from the neck up—even though research clearly demonstrates that the mind–body connection is vital to development. Rae Pica, founder and director of Rae Pica Keynotes & Consulting and author of the Moving and Learning series, advocates for active learning, not only because it’s developmentally appropriate but because doing so promotes a calmer, friendlier, and less challenging learning environment.

Section I provides theory, research, and language to advocate for active learning. Section II offers suggestions on how to update learning environments, and Rae offers some of her own past missteps in hopes that readers will be able to learn from her mistakes. Section III contains 200 ready-to-use movement activities that can be easily implemented into the day. Most require no materials, and every activity includes a “Curriculum Connection,” so readers can understand and clearly explain why the children aren’t “just playing.”

Soft Skills for Children: A Guide for Parents and Teachers
Nancy Armstrong Melser

Children today are growing up in a culture of confusion and uncertainty. Their lives are often hurried and overcommitted. Structures like bedtime and manners are often not practiced in homes and schools. Parents and teachers are looking for how to teach important skills such as manners and organization to the children in their lives.

This book will focus on 14 important skills in the development of children and will offer advice for both parents and teachers on how to successfully teach and model these skills to them. Skills such as teamwork, motivation, resilience, balance, and empathy are presented in each chapter and provide examples for how to use these skills with children.

Each chapter begins with an overview, has suggestions for parents and teachers, and wraps up with key points for each of the 14 soft skills presented. The book is practical, and while based in research, is easy to read and comprehend. The guide will help parents and teachers see many ways to teach soft skills, as they will impact children in their future classroom performance, professional demeanor, and various areas that will help them become successful in all areas of life!

Did you miss last month’s recommendations? It’s not too late to see see November’s top 5 education book releases.

About the Author


Laura Almozara

As a child, Laura spent a lot of time reading and telling stories, at one point reading a new book every day. She took that interest with her to college, where she studied English and journalism. She then started working in publishing and eventually made her way to edtech. Laura is excited to be a part of the Where Learning Clicks team, helping to provide innovative education tools to some of the people who need them most.