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Outside the Classroom

Top New Books for Educators in 2017

Happy New Year! Now that most schools are back in session after the winter break, we’re here to help you get back into the swing of things with our regular recommendations for the top new books for educators. This time around, we’re featuring a couple books that were already published in January, as well as new releases coming at the end of the month and in February. Hurray for kicking off 2017 and the final semester of the 2016-2017 school year in style!

Here are some of January’s top new books for educators:

Code in Every Class book cover

Code in Every Class: How All Educators Can Teach Programming
Kevin Brookhouser, Ria Megnin

It’s an accepted fact that all students need exposure to certain academic disciplines—algebra, world history, chemistry, and probably a Shakespeare play or two. Unfortunately, computer science has not yet risen to must-have status. Given society’s reliance on technology in almost every aspect of modern life, author-educators Kevin Brookhouser and Ria Megnin find the lack of programming education in schools shocking.

Code in Every Class explains why computer science is critical to your students’ future success and shows you how to take tech education into your own hands. And here’s the best news: You don’t have to be a computer genius to teach the basics of coding.

You’ll learn…

  • How to incorporate fundamental programming skills into your existing lessons—even if you don’t have computer coding experience.
  • How to teach coding principles without a computer
  • Why computer literacy levels the playing field for underprivileged students

Too many students have never been shown how to take control of computers and other digital devices. They’re stuck as consumers, when they should be learning how to use tech tools to be creators and problem-solvers. Code in Every Class will allow you to open a world of opportunities to your students, one lesson at a time.

Literary Success for Emergent Bilinguals book cover

Literacy Success for Emergent Bilinguals: Getting It Right in the PreK–2 Classroom
Theresa A. Roberts

This practical book will help early childhood teachers (preK–2) understand and respond to the multiple influences (school, home, and societal) that affect emergent bilingual children’s academic achievement. The author explains the foundations of first- and second-language development and then provides teaching and curriculum practices specific to reading and English language arts. Chapters address incorporating first-language strengths, acquiring a second language, learning to read, building vocabulary, comprehending and thinking with text and language, helping children persevere, and more. Approaches for collaborating with families accompany each chapter. This book is designed to help teachers understand the underlying principles so they can modify, develop, and adjust their practice to be most effective for the emergent bilingual children they teach. It is a valuable resource for developing bilingual programs, teacher preparation, and professional development.

Book features:

  • Teaching practices aligned with Preschool Learning Frameworks and the Common Core and other state standards.
  • Summaries of teaching strategies and educational principles for easy reference.
  • Broad coverage that includes language, literacy, motivation, and family collaboration.
  • Key concepts illustrated with detailed lesson examples.
  • Seamless integration of research findings and practical applications.
  • “Apply Your Knowledge” sections to support ongoing dialogue for courses, coaching, and professional development.

Students at the Center book cover

Students at the Center: Personalized Learning with Habits of Mind
Bena Kallick, Allison Zmuda

Educators’ most important work is to help students develop the intellectual and social strength of character necessary to live well in the world. The way to do this, argue authors Bena Kallick and Allison Zmuda, is to increase the say students have in their own learning and prepare them to navigate complexities they face both inside and beyond school. This means rethinking traditional teacher and student roles and reexamining goal setting, lesson planning, assessment, and feedback practices. It means establishing classrooms that prioritize:

  • Voice – Involving students in “the what” and “the how” of learning and equipping them to be stewards of their own education.
  • Co-creation – Guiding students to identify the challenges and concepts they want to explore and outline the actions they will take.
  • Social construction – Having students work with others to theorize, pursue common goals, build products, and generate performances.
  • Self-discovery – Teaching students to reflect on their own developing skills and knowledge so that they will acquire new understandings of themselves and how they learn.

Based on their exciting work in the field, Kallick and Zmuda map out a transformative model of personalization that puts students at the center and asks them to employ the set of dispositions for engagement and learning known as the Habits of Mind.

They share the perspectives of educators engaged in this work; highlight the habits that empower students to pursue aspirations, investigate problems, design solutions, chase curiosities, and create performances; and provide tools and recommendations for adjusting classroom practices to facilitate learning that is self-directed, dynamic, sometimes messy, and always meaningful.

Ten Steps for Genuine Leadership in Schools book cover

Ten Steps for Genuine Leadership in Schools
David M. Fultz

This book provides busy educators with insight on genuine processes and decision-making that maximizes student learning and overall academic success. Full of examples, templates, reflective prompts, and suggestions on how to plan for and drive daily practice, Ten Steps for Genuine Leadership in Schools explores the importance of a genuine learning environment, genuine instructional practices, genuine innovative processes, a genuine vision and mission of your school, and genuine relationships between staff, students, parents, and community. Covering specific strategies that can be implemented immediately, this book is a straightforward and honest approach in doing what really matters in the principal’s chair to elicit positive student outcomes.

February’s top new books for educators:

Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher book cover

Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher Second Edition
Stephen D. Brookfield

Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher is the landmark guide to critical reflection, providing expert insight and practical tools to facilitate a journey of constructive self-critique. Stephen Brookfield shows how you can uncover and assess your assumptions about practice by viewing them through the lens of your students’ eyes, your colleagues’ perceptions, relevant theory and research, and your own personal experience. Practicing critical reflection will help you…

  • Align your teaching with desired student outcomes
  • See your practice from new perspectives
  • Engage learners via multiple teaching formats
  • Understand and manage classroom power dynamics
  • Model critical thinking for your students
  • Manage the complex rhythms of diverse classrooms

This fully revised second edition features a wealth of new material, including new chapters on critical reflection in the context of social media, teaching race and racism, leadership in a critically reflective key, and team teaching as critical reflection. In addition, all chapters have been thoroughly updated and expanded to align with today’s classrooms, whether online or face-to-face, in large lecture formats or small groups.

Blended Vocabulary for K-12 Classrooms book cover

Blended Vocabulary for K–12 Classrooms: Harnessing the Power of Digital Tools and Direct Instruction
Angela Peery, Kimberly A. Tyson

Created for teachers, administrators, instructional coaches, and literacy teams, this resource outlines a research-based model that will help you ensure English learners, general education students, and special education students master tiered vocabulary. With greater understanding of how to teach vocabulary effectively and incorporate digital tools, you can develop a blended approach to word learning that makes a significant impact on achievement.

  • Understand the importance of students’ vocabulary development and ways educators at the classroom, school, and district levels can positively impact vocabulary building.
  • Learn how to develop effective literacy leadership teams.
  • Explore digital tools and how to use them to support word learning in interactive ways.
  • Discover instructional strategies for teaching vocabulary to elementary students, secondary students, special education students, and English learners.
  • Access activities, recommended books, and other resources that support the three tiers of vocabulary instruction.

Bold Moves for Schools book cover

Bold Moves for Schools: How We Create Remarkable Learning Environments
Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Marie Hubley Alcock

What will it take to create truly contemporary learning environments that meet the demands of 21st-century society, engage learners, and produce graduates who are prepared to succeed in the world? What skills and capacities do teachers and leaders need to create and sustain such schools? What actions are necessary?

Bold Moves for Schools offers a compelling vision that answers these questions—and action steps to make the vision a reality. Looking through the lenses of three pedagogies—antiquated, classical, and contemporary—authors Heidi Hayes Jacobs and Marie Hubley Alcock examine every aspect of K–12 education, including curriculum, instruction, assessment, and the program structures of space—both physical and virtual—time, and grouping of learners and professionals.

In a new job description for teachers, Jacobs and Alcock highlight and expound on the following roles:

  • self-navigating professional learner,
  • social contractor,
  • media critic and media maker,
  • innovative designer,
  • globally connected citizen, and
  • advocate for learners and learning.

With thought-provoking proposals and practical strategies for change, Bold Moves for Schools sets educators on the path to redefining their profession and creating exciting new learning environments. The challenge is unprecedented. The possibilities are unlimited.

Cleverlands book cover

Cleverlands: The Secrets behind the Success of the World’s Education Superpowers
Lucy Crehan

As a teacher in an inner-city school, Lucy Crehan was exasperated with ever-changing government policy claiming to be based on lessons from ‘top-performing’ education systems. She became curious about what was really going on in classrooms of the countries whose teenagers ranked top in the world in reading, maths and science.

Determined to dig deeper, Lucy set off on a personal educational odyssey through Finland, Japan, Singapore, Shanghai and Canada, teaching in schools, immersing herself in their very different cultures and discovering the surprising truths about school life that don’t appear in the charts and graphs.

Cleverlands documents her journey, weaving together her experiences with research on policy, history, psychology and culture to offer extensive new insights and provide answers to three fundamental questions:

  • How do these countries achieve their high scores?
  • What can others learn from them?
  • And what is the price of this success?

Preparing Educators for Arts Integration book cover

Preparing Educators for Arts Integration: Placing Creativity at the Center of Learning
Gene Diaz, Martha Barry McKenna

This resource examines professional development approaches from across the United States to help schools and allied arts groups integrate the arts into an already crowded K–12 curriculum. The authors document the purposes and structures of a broad spectrum of current efforts and programs. Several of these programs have been in place for decades, thus demonstrating their sustainability and effectiveness. Emphasizing the value of collaboration among teachers, artists, educational leaders, and community partners, the book draws on the broad range of experiences of the authors, who came together as a working group of the Art Education Partnership. Readers will find strong, empirically tested models of arts integration to inform curriculum development and teacher professional learning.

Book features:

  • The first critical reflection on arts-integration training programs and projects from across the United States.
  • Promising practices for pre- and inservice teacher professional development programs in arts integration.
  • A summary list of recommendations for actions based on the authors’ collaborative experiences.

School Culture Recharged book cover

School Culture Recharged: Strategies to Energize Your Staff and Culture
Steve Gruenert, Todd Whitaker

Why do some schools succeed while others struggle? Why do policies and programs often fail to deliver what they promise? In this follow-up to their insightful School Culture Rewired: How to Define, Assess, and Transform It, authors Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker offer practical advice and strategies that help you build positive energy to reinvigorate your school’s culture and staff.

Written as a standalone guide, School Culture Recharged clarifies the difference between culture and climate and zeroes in on key school improvement efforts, including:

  • Moving from the culture you have to the culture you want;
  • Using the school’s culture to improve teaching, job satisfaction, and morale;
  • Maximizing the intentions of professional learning communities; and
  • Developing organizational habits—rules and rituals—that can contribute to positive change.

For education leaders at all levels, this book delivers a compelling message: Understanding and harnessing the transformative power of school culture can propel your school into the kind of place where teachers want to work, administrators can focus on what matters most, and students can thrive.

Did you miss last month’s recommendations? It’s not too late to see December’s top new books for educators.

About the Author


Ashleigh Lutz

Ashleigh graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Women and Gender Studies. She spent over three years in higher education developing resources and helping students succeed in online courses. During her tenure at Edgenuity, Ashleigh was eager to support Where Learning Clicks and the team’s commitment to helping teachers and students meet important goals and explore their passions. In addition to writing, a few of Ashleigh’s favorite things include rock climbing, chocolate, and cats.