Teacher Life / Jun 09, 2021

The Fantastic Five: Great Summer Books for All Teachers

Blog 5 Great Summer Books For Teachers Image Blog (1)

After the year we’ve all had, summer is definitely the opportune time for teachers to get in some well-deserved R&R- Rest and Reflection, that is! More often than not, a rested mind produces an open mind, one that is open to new ideas and new possibilities. So after the summer trips, pool dips, and sweet sips, jump the line and be all the more ready for Fall with ClassTag’s “Fantastic Five: Great Summer Books for All Teachers”!

These 5 books will place teachers ahead of the back-to-school prep game, or will just simply make for some fantastic summer reading!

SUMMER BOOK ONE

  • I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything for Our Kids by Kyle SchwartzI Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything for Our Kids

Filled with inspiration and honesty, I Wish My Teacher Knew was birthed when third-grade teacher Kyle Schwartz posed this sentence starter for her students to respond to: “I wish my teacher knew_________.”  While some answers tickled her funny bone, others were absolutely heart-wrenching. Yet, there was a commonality found in all responses. It showed a great need for not only Schwartz, but for all teachers, to understand the unique realities students endure. Then, take that information and create an open, safe, and supportive classroom environment.

Schwartz, whose #1 priority is to “actively build community”, published the results online and an instant global viral phenomenon occurred. Now turned into book form, she tells the story of #IWishMyTeacherKnew and includes students’ emotional and insightful responses. 

Honest about not being the perfect teacher who made her fair share of mistakes, Schwartz offers suggestions in I Wish My Teacher Knew that will assist teachers in helping to:

  • increase learning;
  • foster a sense of community; and
  • provide a more inclusive and supportive environment.

This eye-opening summer read will remind us all of the importance of children’s basic human needs. As well, we relearn the unfortunate baggage- transitioning schools, abuse, grief, etc.- they come to the classroom with. Ultimately, I Wish My Teacher Knew provides an invaluable guide to assist teachers, parents, and communities in best serving the children they care for.

SUMMER BOOK TWO

  • In All Lanes: Action Steps for New Leaders to Empower Black and Brown Students, Rethink School and Transform Behavior by Dr. Taryn L. FletcherIn All Lanes: Action Steps for New Leaders to Empower Black andBrown Students

After the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools and families were left to “figure it out”. Inequities in education, work, and technology was further exposed when virtually all students were forced into distance learning. This was especially true for minority students as their communities typically lack equity and access. Clearly, this past year’s events have radically shifted both the physical and cultural landscape. This left many in education wanting to reimagine school to advance cultural equity and enable social change.

The book In All Lanes sheds light on the importance of “culturally relevant pedagogy” for black and brown students’ academic success. It also explains how behavior is relative to one’s environment. Further, Dr. Fletcher dares to expose ideas about what’s not working in our school systems. She also offers much to help educators build a bicultural learning environment. Essentially, this book forces its readers to “rethink school” to include what students of color need in order to feel empowered, valued, and courageous. 

Within the book In All Lanes,  you will find:

  • what culturally relevant coaching looks like;
  • the skill sets educators can adopt to help ensure that all students are supported; and 
  • clear, actionable, and long-term steps that help build the stamina needed to fight social justice issues in schools and communities.

In All Lanes will surely help unlock deeper learning and extended engagement for your minority students. But, just as with all great teaching practices, all students stand to benefit.

SUMMER BOOK THREE

  • Integrating Technology Into The Curriculum 2nd Edition (Effective Teaching in Today’s Classroom) by Kathleen N. KoppIntegrating Technology Into The Curriculum

Digital components are commonplace in education. So, teachers must learn how to best incorporate technology into the classroom. Integrating Technology Into The Curriculum by Kathleen N. Kopp offers educators useful information and much-needed support. She guides readers on how to handle the shifting advancements in technology that affect students’ learning environments.

In this simple-to-understand book for teachers, Kopp offers an abundance of targeted tips, suggestions, and lesson ideas. These all support the seamless and intentional integration of technology into instruction spanning all content areas. Additionally, this book gives teachers access to many resources and websites with free tools. These things help proper preparation for and successful navigation through the 21st Century classroom.

Integrating Technology Into The Curriculum features standards-based lessons and topics such as:

  • distance learning;
  • virtual schooling;
  • blogging and social networking; and
  • interactive games, simulations, and activities

Integrating Technology Into The Curriculum is an excellent teacher’s read for all grades. It offers essential information needed to capitalize on the benefits technology has to offer today’s learners who are preparing for tomorrow’s jobs that are already here.

SUMMER BOOK FOUR

  • Relentless: Changing Lives by Disrupting the Educational Norm by Hamish BrewerRelentless: Changing Lives by Disrupting the Educational Norm

Hamish Brewer is, by no means, what most would describe as your “typical school administrator”. Known as “The Tattooed Skateboarding Principal”, Brewer shares in his book, Relentless: Changing Lives by Disrupting the Educational Norm, his history of growing up in familial dysfunction plagued by poverty and addiction. His life experiences have allowed him first-hand knowledge of how to better relate to the students he currently serves.

In his book, Brewer charges teachers to “disrupt the norm of desperation” that overwhelms so many children. He urges the creation of learning environments that inspire youth to be their best, believing that absolutely anything is possible.

In Brewer’s authentic sharing through Relentless, he inspires all to:

  • believe that something bigger and better is possible;
  • pursue your best, whatever it takes;
  • transform your school;
  • become the educator you always dreamed of being; and
  • leave a legacy that pushes others to achieve their best!

“Relentless” is his motto and “disrupt the norm” is his challenge. Brewer’s story calls all educators, students, families, and communities to seriously consider the legacy they leave behind as there’s no room for complacency.

SUMMER BOOK FIVE

  • The Power of a Teacher by Adam L. SaenzThe Power of a Teacher

Too many times, teachers who’ve faced an abundance of obstacles over the course of their careers can begin to lose sight of the calling they once felt during Year One. Whether you’re searching for a reason to believe or you just need a hope-filled reminder, the bottom line is that as an educator, you have incredible power to truly make a difference. Adam L. Saenz’s book The Power of a Teacher is the result of years of wellness research coupled with professional development conducted within school districts nationwide.

This book’s intention is to (re)ignite your passion while prioritizing your emotional wellness. This is something that is often sacrificed for the benefit of students. This thoughtful book offers teachers unique encouragement as well as an accessible wellness guide.

In The Power of a Teacher you will:

  • develop well being through taking Dr. Saenz’s 50-item Teacher Wellness Inventory to identify strengths and weaknesses in the occupational, emotional, financial, spiritual, and physical areas of your life;
  • get connected through discussion questions that will evoke interaction and dialogue between you and your colleagues; and
  • be inspired by reading stories of real people whose lives were changed by real teachers.

The Power of a Teacher is a perfect summer read. This book helps teachers identify areas that lead to burnout. It also offers practical ways to rejuvenate the spirit. Read it and rediscover your needs as a teacher and how they drive your mission, reconnect you to be the best version of yourself, and ultimately, help you do what you signed up to do in Year One: best serve your students.


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