Teaching Books

This is a list of “how-to” manuals and practical teaching books that I have found helpful (or hope to find helpful).

  • Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom by Thomas Armstrong
    This book reviews Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences and offers many practical ways to incorporate this into the classroom. It is full of ideas for how to seamlessly add in many, if not all, multiple intelligences into lesson plans and student activities.
  • The Daily Five: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades by Gail Boushey & Joan Moser*
    A literacy curriculum program.
  • Literacy: Helping Students Construct Meaning by David J. Cooper
    This is a textbook that encompasses the balanced literacy approach through a constructivist lens. It blends theory with practical usage, which has helped me to see the basis behind why students need to “construct” their abilities.
  • Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56 by Rafe Esquith*
    This book offers ways for teachers to teach with enthusiasm and amusement. Unenthusiastic teachers are the worst!
  • The Passionate Teacher: A Practical Guide by Robert L. Fried*
    This book claims to show teachers how to renew (or never lose) their passion for teaching. I’ve heard that many new teachers feel burnt out and discouraged by the challenges they face, so I’m hoping this book will show me ways to combat that.
  • Cooperative Learning by Spencer Kagan & Celso Rodriguez*
    One of the go-to resources for cooperative learning grouping strategies.  Cooperative learning is distinguished from groupwork in that each member of the group is individually accountable, holds a unique role, and promotes “positive interdependence” of all group members.  Examples of cooperative learning structures include reciprocal teaching, jigsaw, think-pair-share, and the Williams.
  • Blowing Away the State Writing Assessment Test: Four Steps to Better Writing Scores for Students of All Levels by Jane Bell Kiester*
    Although I’m not someone who would specifically “teach to the test,” I think it’s important to give my students every advantage that I can. I will try to incorporate the specific testing strategies Kiester describes into a balanced literacy program.
  • Why Didn’t I Learn This in College? by Paula Rutherford*
    This book attempts to give new teachers all the information that you can’t exactly learn in class: classroom management techniques, grouping strategies, assessment ideas, and questioning techniques. This is the type of stuff that teachers learn by teaching – I’m hoping to get some ideas before entering the classroom.
  • Social Studies That Sticks: How to Bring Content and Concepts to Life by Laurel Schmidt
    Explains how to teach different types of concepts in social studies (i.e., economics, civics, history, and geography). Full of great, social studies-specific ideas on designing lessons, activities, and units.
  • The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide: Ready-To-Use Strategies, Tools, & Activities for Meeting the Challenges of Each School Day by Julia G. Thompson*
    I think the title is self-explanatory; I’m awaiting my copy in the mail! I’m hoping to use it as a resource in my classroom management plans.
  • How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms by Carol Ann Tomlinson
    This book concisely describes the practice of differentiating instruction. Tomlinson is an expert in this specific area, and offers concrete ideas for differentiation. Differentiating instruction focuses on differentiating process, product, or content to adeptly meet the needs of each learner.
  • Literacy for the 21st Century: A Balanced Approach by Gail Tompkins
    I was assigned this textbook in my graduate school reading course. Unfortunately, the professor’s teaching methods and my learning style did not match. Luckily, this course text saved me! I learned SO much from it – it’s the one textbook I would never give up. It encompasses everything from foundations of reading to how to set up your reading and writing classroom. Really, it is a superb resource. (PS. I was preparing for the MTEL Foundations of Reading test, and this really helped!)
  • Language Arts: Patterns of Practice by Gail Tompkins
    This is another book I was assigned (in my teaching social studies & English language arts course). I really like Tompkins’ practical advice. She provides outlines of minilessons, ideas for unit organization, and how to connect themes throughout the content areas.
  • Teaching Students Who Are Exceptional, Diverse, and at-Risk in the General Education Classroom by Sharon R. Vaughn
    I like this book because it is tailored specifically to general education teachers who must also become special education experts. Every elementary school teacher has diverse classrooms (culturally, racially, ability-wise, socioeconomically, etc). This comprehensive book gives the teacher a background on special education in the United States (i.e., laws and requirements) as well as a description of how special education works (e.g., RTIs, IEPs, 504s, team meetings, etc). In addition, it provides the teacher with knowledge on various types of exceptionalities (e.g., learning disabilities, medical conditions, ELLs) and how to meet the needs of all learners in a classroom. A must-read for all teachers.
  • The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher by Harry K. Wong & Rosemary T. Wong
    A professor once described this book to me as “The Teacher’s Bible.” Its primary focus is on how the first days of school are crucial to the success of the rest of the year. It offers plenty of research-based evidence on what contributes to the success or failure of a teacher. The 4 major units are basic understandings, positive expectations, classroom management, and lesson mastery. Although I like this book and got many ideas from it, it does get very repetitive. The tone is a bit condescending, but I think the authors are just trying to be clear. Overall, I think it will be helpful to have in student teaching and my first few years teaching.
  • What’s Your Evidence: Engaging K-5 Children in Constructing Explanations in Science by Carla Zembal-Saul, Katherine L. McNeill, & Kimberly Hershberger
    This is a shorter book on a relatively new idea in science education: requiring students to construct their own explanations. This seems obvious and not new, but the authors provide a fresh framework for science instruction. Students are to make a claim backed by evidence and using reasoning. My science methods professor based her course on this theory (as well as the 5E learning cycle). I was skeptical at first – I thought, “Of course students are constructing explanations!” However, this book shows how to do so in a professional, consistent manner that will create a classroom of scientists, not science students!

*I plan on reading this book.


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