Outside the Classroom

Top Books for Educators: Back to School Reading List

The 2017–2018 school year is underway! We’ve put together a back-to-school reading list to give you some guidance and motivation and help you get back into the swing of things. Check out these books for principals and teachers to help put yourself in the back-to-school spirit this season.

Books about Change and Leadership in the Digital Age:


Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools
Michael B. Horn, Heather Staker

Blended is the practical field guide for implementing blended learning techniques in K–12 classrooms. A follow-up to the bestseller Disrupting Class by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael Horn, and Curtis Johnson, this hands-on guide expands upon the blended learning ideas presented in that book to provide practical implementation guidance for educators seeking to incorporate online learning with traditional classroom time. Readers will find a step-by-step framework upon which to build a more student-centered system, along with essential advice that provides the expertise necessary to build the next generation of K–12 learning environments. Leaders, teachers, and other stakeholders will gain valuable insight into the process of using online learning to the greatest benefit of students, while avoiding missteps and potential pitfalls.

If online learning has not already rocked your local school, it will soon. Blended learning is one of the hottest trends in education right now, and educators are clamoring for “how-to” guidance. Blended answers the call by providing detailed information about the strategy, design, and implementation of a successful blended learning program.Tailor your coaching practices to meet the needs of each educator

  • Discover a useful framework for implementing blended learning
  • Unlock the benefits and mitigate the risks of online learning
  • Find answers to the most commonly asked questions surrounding blended learning
  • Create a more student-centered system that functions as a positive force across grade levels

Educators who loved the ideas presented in Disrupting Class now have a field guide to making it work in a real-world school, with expert advice for making the transition smoother for students, parents, and teachers alike. For educational leaders seeking more student-centered schools, Blended provides the definitive roadmap.

Leading 21st Century Schools: Harnessing Technology for Engagement and Achievement, 2nd Edition
Lynne R. Schrum, Barbara B. Levin

The pace of technological change picks up speed with each passing day. Educators must place the proper emphasis on technology leadership—using proven methods—if they are to prepare students to thrive in the classroom and beyond.

When first published in 2009, this book empowered administrators and teachers to plan and execute effective strategies for enhancing student engagement and achievement through technology.

This second edition features 80% brand new material addressing the latest technological developments, combined with the authors’ tested methods for applying them in schools. Features include:

  • Aligning technology to the ISLLC Standards, ISTE Standards, and Common Core State Standards
  • Comprehensive guides to the newest technologies and trends that school leaders need to know
  • A companion website featuring a massive volume of resources for additional progress

With this book close at hand, school leaders will confidently guide students into the exciting digital future.

Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow’s Schools, Today
Eric C. Sheninger, Thomas C. Murray

With all that we know about how students learn, the nature of the world they will face after graduation, and the education inequities that have existed for centuries, maintaining a traditional, one-size-fits-all approach to teaching and learning is tantamount to instructional malpractice.

International security, the success of global economies, and sustainability as a global society all depend on the success of our education system in the years to come. It’s our obligation to prepare our students for their future—not our past.

Authors Eric C. Sheninger and Thomas C. Murray outline eight keys—each a piece of a puzzle for transforming the K–12 education system of teaching and learning—to intentionally design tomorrow’s schools so that today’s learners are prepared for success . . . and stand ready to create new industries, find new cures, and solve world problems.

The traditional model of schooling ultimately prepares students for the industrial model of the past. If we want our students to become successful citizens in a global society, we must dramatically shift to a more personal approach. Failure is not an option. We can no longer wait. Let Learning Transformed show you how you can be a part of the solution.

The authors encourage you to use the hashtag #LT8Keys to continue the discussion online.

Books for Administrators


Planning for Technology: A Guide for School Administrators, Technology Coordinators, and Curriculum Leaders, 2nd Edition
Bruce M. Whitehead, Devon Jensen, Floyd A. Boschee

Students and classrooms are growing more technologically savvy every semester, which presents you with an essential choice: Will you let these learning tools sit idle, or will you unleash the power of technology for your students and staff?

The first edition of Planning for Technology created leaders who empowered students to master the technological tools now required for success. This second edition will prepare you for the coming decade, when the pace of change will be much faster. In addition to the core methods and exercises, this book includes:

  • Revisions addressing essential digital developments of the past decade that school leaders must learn to utilize
  • New content covering guidelines for addressing the new Common Core State Standards, distributed leadership, adult learning theory, digital citizenship, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and more
  • A new chapter on creating a “culture of technology” that goes beyond user manuals to create responsible, tech-savvy students

Technology is no longer optional—it is a requirement for success in the 21st century. Planning for Technology is the go-to resource for ensuring your students thrive.

The Principal’s Survival Guide: Where Do I Start? How Do I Succeed? When Do I Sleep?
Susan Stone Kessler, April M. Snodgrass, Andrew T. Davis

This hands-on school leadership guide for new and veteran principals and administrators offers practical advice for leading a school successfully. Want honest student input? Try texting. Got a group of angry parents? Arrange one-on-one meetings—you’ll avoid a mob scene and give each family the attention it deserves. Trying to make a teacher feel appreciated? Shoot a quick email after stopping by his classroom and describe something cool you saw him do. It takes ten seconds but has a big impact.

These tips and hundreds more are the collective wisdom of three experienced principals who know how to connect with kids, staff, families, and stakeholders, and help students succeed.

Books for Teachers


Classroom Management in the Digital Age: Effective Practices for Technology-Rich Learning Spaces
Heather Dowd, Patrick Green

The education landscape is shifting. Information accessibility grows while attention spans shrink. Media is king and yet teachers are expected to effectively harness it for learning while also managing the distractions technology tools bring. Keeping up with the times while keeping time-wasters and senseless screen-staring down is new and difficult territory for the most seasoned educator.

Don’t fear the devices! In the willing teacher’s hands, this is a new and welcome age to harness for exponential learning. It is a frontier where technology-equipped teachers learn alongside students and utilize current tools to maximize collaboration, creativity, and communication in relevant ways. Classroom Management in the Digital Age guides and supports established and transitioning device-rich classrooms, providing practical strategy to novice and expert educators K–12.

Update your own operating system for the digital age by

  • Getting attention from those device-focused faces
  • Establishing procedures for daily class routines that harness the power of technology tools
  • Cultivating a culture of student ownership and responsibility
  • Developing routines that increase on-task behavior and lessen teacher anxiety
  • Communicating with parents on best practices and consistent school to home behaviors
  • Decreasing distraction with simple, helpful tips
  • Letting go of being the expert and taking charge by partnering in learning

Classroom Management in the Digital Age offers teachers competency and confidence. If you have devices in your classroom already or if you’re moving towards implementing tablets, iPads, Chromebooks, or any other device, Classroom Management in the Digital Age will partner with you in creating relevant classrooms where learning rules.

Courageous Edventures: Navigating Obstacles to Discover Classroom Innovation
Jennie Magiera

Let’s go on an edventure! Do you want to innovate and take risks in your teaching? Looking for ways to troubleshoot common classroom challenges? Whatever obstacles you and your students face can turn into edventures, and this book will show you how to navigate them with grace, humor, and grit. Jennie Magiera charts a course for you to discover your own version of innovation, using the limitless possibilities of educational technology. You will learn:

  • How to create your own Teacher-IEP (Innovation Exploration Plan)
  • Keys to problem-based innovation (PBI)
  • Strategies and solutions for tackling common classroom problems
  • Methods for putting learning into the hands of students
  • How to find innovation in everyday places

Packed with real-world, immediately applicable solutions to the problems teachers face in their classrooms every day, Courageous Edventures shows how technology can be a fun and easy tool to improve classroom management and student learning!

The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide: Ready-to-Use Strategies, Tools and Activities for Meeting the Challenges of Each School Day, 3rd Edition
Julia G. Thompson

This award-winning book gives beginning educators everything they need to survive and thrive in the classroom. The third edition covers new material including working as a part of a professional learning community (PLC), teaching media literacy and social responsibility, incorporating Common Core State Standards, handling “homework pushback” from parents, changes in classroom technology, techniques for motivating students, seeking feedback, and much more.

  • A fully revised edition of a trusted resource, offering solutions to challenges and typical scenarios encountered by new teachers
  • Bonus CD features downloadable versions of the book’s checklists, forms, worksheets, and self-assessments
  • Includes discussion questions and a handy training guide for professional development providers

This popular resource offers teachers an essential guide for knowing what to expect when they begin their career and ideas for solving classroom problems.

And for some stress-relieving laughs during this hectic time, check out these:


If You Don’t Feed the Teachers They Eat the Students!: Guide to Success for Administrators and Teachers
Neila A. Connors

Packed with words of wisdom and inspiration, this is one book no administrator or teacher should be without. Dr. Neila Connors presents practical tips to improve school climate, communicate with parents and students, teach to the standards, and make a difference in students’ lives. All this in an enjoyable, easy-to-read format, If You Don’t Feed the Teachers They Eat the Students will leave you laughing your way to a more successful school year.

Teacher Life: A Snarky Chalkboard Coloring Book
Papeterie Bleu – This company also has a slew of trendy planners, journals, and notebooks!

You’ve molded play dough and minds and guided lessons and lives. You’re a coach, counselor, and cape-less hero who deserves endless thanks and a starting salary of ten million dollars a year. When inspiring and shaping the future of the world gets to be too much, flip open this coloring book for grown ups for some laughs and love!

#Teacherlife is the best life! Happy coloring!

Additionally, here’s a list of picture books that are perfect for young students during the first few weeks of school. We wish you a very happy back-to-school season!

Did you miss our previous recommendations? It’s not too late to check out our last 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.