Outside the Classroom

July’s Top 5 Education Book Releases

Now that it’s officially summer break, many educators have transitioned from getting through the spring semester to planning for a fall semester that enables them to adapt to their community’s changing needs. As schools, districts, and departments of education consider the upcoming (and still unknown) challenges along with the options for delivering instruction, these summer months are proving to be a very valuable time for planning. Our picks for July’s top 5 education book releases can help you prepare for what’s sure to be another unusual school year.

Distance/virtual learning and technology will continue to be fixtures for many educators and students, and fostering student agency—especially with the widening opportunity gap—and helping to address students’ trauma will be critical components for a successful school year. Learn more about these topics in our selections for July’s top 5 education book releases.

The Distance Learning Playbook, Grades K-12: Teaching for Engagement and Impact in Any Setting
Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie

Effective teaching is effective teaching, no matter where it occurs

The pandemic teaching of mid-2020 was not really distance learning, but rather crisis teaching. But starting now, teachers have the opportunity to prepare for distance learning with purpose and intent—using what works best to accelerate students’ learning all the while maintaining an indelible focus on equity.

Harnessing the insights and experience of renowned educators Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie, The Distance Learning Playbook applies the wisdom and evidence of VISIBLE LEARNING® research to understand what works best with distance learning. Spanning topics from teacher-student relationships, teacher credibility and clarity, instructional design, assessments, and grading, this comprehensive playbook details the research- and evidence-based strategies teachers can mobilize to deliver high-impact learning in an online, virtual, and distributed environment.

This powerful guide includes:

  • Learning Intentions and Success Criteria for each module to track your own learning and model evidence-based teacher practices for meaningful learning
  • A diversity of instructional approaches, including direct instruction, peer learning, and independent work that foster student self-regulation and move learning to deep and transfer levels
  • Discussion of equity challenges associated with distance learning, along with examples of how teachers can work to ensure that equity gains that have been realized are not lost
  • Special guidance for teachers of young children who are learning from a distance
  • Videos of the authors and teachers discussing a wide variety of distance learning topics
  • Space to write and reflect on current practices and plan future instruction

The Distance Learning Playbook is the essential hands-on guide to preparing and delivering distance learning experiences that are truly effective and impactful.

Championing Technology Infusion in Teacher Preparation: A Framework for Supporting Future Educators
Edited by Arlene C. Borthwick, Teresa S. Foulger, and Kevin J. Graziano

Educators learning how to meaningfully integrate technology into their teaching practice will find resources and action plans to prepare them for today’s tech-infused lessons.

Advancing teacher preparation to full adoption of technology infusion is no small undertaking. Written by 20 experts in the teacher prep field, Championing Technology Infusion in Teacher Preparation provides research- and practice-based direction for faculty, administrators, PK-12 school partners and other stakeholders who support programwide technology infusion in teacher education programs. Such organizational change involves almost every individual and system involved in teacher preparation.

Topics addressed include:

  • Defining technology infusion and integration.
  • Systemic planning and readiness of college-level leadership.
  • Programwide, iterative candidate experiences across courses and clinical work.
  • Technology use and expectations for teachers and students in PK-12 settings.
  • Instructional design in teacher preparation programs to include integration of technology in face-to-face, blended, and online PK-12 teaching and learning.
  • Strategies to support induction of new teachers in PK-12 settings.
  • Models for effective candidate and program evaluation.
  • Roles for government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in nationwide collaboration for technology infusion in teacher preparation.

This book will help leaders and teacher educators in preparation programs plan and support the developmental needs of teacher candidates as they learn how to teach with technology. With action steps and “getting started resources” in each chapter, the book is well-adapted for study and planning by collaborative leadership teams at colleges and schools of education.

A Teacher’s Strategy for Thriving in Virtual Classroom: Using The Powerful Tools You Already Have
Cynthia King

As a teacher (educator), do you feel overwhelmed by the sudden mandate to shift your classroom—students, lesson plans, projects, assignments, exams— to a virtual space? Are you panicked by the prospect of what this shift will mean not only for your workload but your effectiveness as a teacher? When things are crazy and seemingly uncertain, it’s time to take personal stock to gain control. This book will show you how to create your own personal reset by directing your attention back to the thing you can control most, YOU! It coaches you in practical strategies and prompts to communicate more effectively with students in times of disruption and instability. The book’s principles range from strategic communication to self-care designed to aid you in communicating more effectively in physical AND virtual spaces.

Author Cynthia King has been an educator for over 20 years. And having overcome her struggle with anxiety and self-doubt, is on a mission to encourage and support other educators to embark upon self-renewal.

The Power of Student Agency: Looking Beyond Grit to Close the Opportunity Gap
Anindya Kundu

How can we promote the learning and well-being of all students, especially those who come from some of the most disadvantaged backgrounds? Anindya Kundu argues that we can fight against deeply rooted inequalities in the American educational system by harnessing student agency—each person’s unique capacity for positive change. To make his case, Kundu draws powerful narratives from a population of individuals who beat the odds to become academically and professionally successful. These strivers have overcome challenges such as broken families, homelessness, unexpected pregnancies, forms of abuse, incarceration, and more, to make it in the world. But it wasn’t simply individualism, tenacity, resilience, or grit that helped them. Rather, as Kundu illustrates, it was a combination of social and cultural supports that paved the path towards their dreams, harnessing the inherent power of their agency.

Book Features:

  • A counter-narrative to the popular misconception that all students need is “grit.”
  • A strengths-based approach to education that is sensitive to students’ communities and cultures.
  • Rich, first-person quotes from individuals who have overcome immense odds.
  • Useful diagrams for educational stakeholders on the relationship between grit and agency.
  • Descriptions of dense sociological concepts presented in plain terms.
  • Inclusion of fundamental and new waves in psychology.

Teaching, Learning, and Trauma, Grades 6-12: Responsive Practices for Holding Steady in Turbulent Times
Brooke O’Drobinak and Beth Kelley

Transform challenging classroom experiences into opportunities for lasting student-teacher relationships, professional growth, and student engagement

Chronic stress and trauma have startling effects on teachers and students alike. From behavior issues and emotional dysregulation to decreased readiness to learn, stress and anxiety make it difficult for students to engage, learn, and maintain healthy self-esteem.

In Teaching, Learning, and Trauma, the authors guide you through the process of creating a learning environment that combats the negative effects of chronic stress and trauma. They show you how to establish rituals and routines, develop personalization, and implement effective student engagement practices that create a relationship-based culture and effectively improve student achievement. This book includes:

  • Self-assessment tools to help teachers make informed decisions
  • Examples of self-care plans and schoolwide policies for maintaining healthy boundaries in and out of school
  • Real-world vignettes and samples of teacher work
  • Planning documents and reflection questions to guide educators in identifying strengths and growth areas

Using a synergistic approach, this book unites compelling research data, theories, stories, and best practices from trauma-informed schools, relationship-based psychology, and effective instructional design to dissolve obstacles caused by chronic stress and trauma.

Did you miss last month’s recommendations? It’s not too late to see June’s top books on education.

About the Author


Where Learning Clicks

Since 1998, Edgenuity has been creating products and services that help all students achieve their full potential. As an extension of our efforts, we also produce Where Learning Clicks to share meaningful and timely ideas about trends, developments, and changes in education, as well as how to further incorporate technology into today’s classrooms.