#amplifiEDUbookclub: Our Summer Reading Recommendations

#amplifiEDUbookclub: Our Summer Reading Recommendations

By in Book Recommendations | 0 comments

If you’re like me, you start the summer with an ambitious to-read list of professional development books. I’m a bit like a kid in a candy store when it comes to filling my shelves (both real and virtual).
In addition to choosing from all the exciting new titles, I love to revisit old favorites that inspire me with something new each time I read them. I also love adding to my list using recommendations from my network of amazing educators.

We thought it would be fun to share some of our favorites with you, as well as a few from our “plan to read” list. We want to hear from you, too. What are your favorite professional development books? What are you planning to read this summer? Please share here in the comments or on Twitter using the hashtag #amplifiedubookclub.

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I just purchased Dave Burgess’s Teach Like a Pirate and will definitely be reading it this summer. I have followed the #tlap Twitter chat (mostly as a lurker) for a while, and I’m so inspired by the passion and energy that comes with that hashtag. According to the review,

This groundbreaking inspirational manifesto contains over 30 hooks specially designed to captivate your class and 170 brainstorming questions that will skyrocket your creativity. Once you learn the Teach Like a PIRATE system, you’ll never look at your role as an educator the same again.


Silvia recently read Visible Learners by by Mara Krechevsky, Ben Mardell, Melissa Rivard, and Daniel Wilson, and she was completely inspired. This is another must-read!

Based on the Reggio Emilia approach to learning, Visible Learners highlights learning through interpreting objects and artifacts, group learning, and documentation to make students’ learning evident to teachers. Visible classrooms are committed to five key principles: that learning is purposeful, social, emotional, empowering, and representational. The book includes visual essays, key practices, classroom and examples. Visible Learners asks that teachers look beyond surface-level to understand who students are, what they come to know, and how they come to know it.”

Speaking of Silvia, if you have seen her present or have perused her blog or Slideshare, you know that that it is no exaggeration to use the word “breathtaking” to describe her slides and visuals. Visual communication and basic design skills are not optional in the year 2016- not for us nor for our students. Silvia recommends Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds to help you learn to transform your visuals. It’s easy and so satisfying to go beyond the Power Point templates!

“Best-selling author and popular speaker Garr Reynolds is back in this newly revised edition of his classic, best-selling book, Presentation Zen, in which he showed readers there is a better way to reach the audience through simplicity and storytelling, and gave them the tools to confidently design and deliver successful presentations.”

Curriculum 21, edited by Heidi Hayes Jacobs, and with contributions from a wide variety of educators, was the manifesto used to inspire change at our school. We required our entire faculty to read it as an attempt to get people on the same page (pun intended 🙂 ) It’s like a basic primer on modern learning or what many people call “21st century learning.” Great overview to remind ourselves of the need to keep growing and connecting with the world in which we live in order to prepare our students for their futures (not our past).

“What year are you preparing your students for? 1973? 1995? Can you honestly say that your school’s curriculum and the program you use are preparing your students for 2015 or 2020? Are you even preparing them for today? With those provocative questions, author and educator Heidi Hayes Jacobs launches a powerful case for overhauling, updating, and injecting life into the K-12 curriculum.”

Alan November‘s Who Owns the Learning?: Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age is another old favorite. Alan November (also a contributor to Curriculum 21) is all about empowering students with meaningful work. We love his idea of creating the “digital learning farm,” a place where today’s kids use digital tools in much the same way that kids who once helped on the family farm knew their contributions and work were important.

“Learn how to harness students’ natural curiosity to develop them into self-directed learners. Discover how technology allows students to take ownership of their learning, create and share learning tools, and participate in work that is meaningful to them and others. Real-life examples illustrate how every student can become a teacher and a global publisher.”

The cover and title alone make me want to grab Ditch That Textbook! But if that’s not enough inspiration for you, check out author Matt Miller‘s wonderful collection of sketchnotes. (This book is another favorite of Silvia’s, too!)

“You know potential exists for innovative, engaging, revolutionary education if you get the right ideas, right tools, and right people, all in the right order. If that sounds like you, then you’re ready to DITCH old mindsets and methods and replace them with empowering, liberating ones.”

 I absolutely love and highly recommend both of Donalyn Miller‘s books, The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child and Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer’s Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits.  If you want inspiration to transform classroom culture when it comes to reading, definitely read them both. If you only have time for one…..I’m going to choose Reading in the Wild. It’s full of ideas for every teacher who loves reading and wants to share that love with every student.

“In Reading in the Wild, reading expert Donalyn Miller continues the conversation that began in her bestselling book,The Book Whisperer. While The Book Whisperer revealed the secrets of getting students to love reading, Reading in the Wild, written with reading teacher Susan Kelley, describes how to truly instill lifelong “wild” reading habits in our students.”

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