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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Five Books That Have Influenced My Teaching

Mary Beth Hertz

K-8 Technology Teacher in Philadelphia, PA

It's the holiday season, which means, once the eating and entertaining is over, many of us will have some free time on our hands. If you want to spend some of that time snuggling up with a great book, here are some books that I have read (or re-read) in the past year or so that have influenced my teaching. Not all of them are technology-related, but they have applications for technology integration.

The books are not listed in any particular order of importance.

1) Digital Tools for Teaching by Steve Johnson

This book offers an easy-to-follow format for integrating 30 e-tools into the classroom. I found the tool choices to be spot-on and the application recommendations to be great. It also gives an easy explanation for how to get started using the tool, including pitfalls. There is also a great introductory section that sets the stage by describing today's learner and the changing roles of teacher and student.

2) Curriculum 21 edited by Heidi Jacobs

This book makes a strong argument for how we need to rethink the curricula we use in schools. The authors provide ideas on rethinking everything from content to school organization and scheduling to how we treat technology in the learning process. A must read for today's educator.

3) Never Work Harder Than Your Students by Robyn Jackson

Do you always feel exhausted by the end of the day? Do you feel like you are sometimes more tired than your students? Jackson spells out how to set high expectations for your students and for yourself as a teacher. There is a focus on feedback and scaffolding to build student independence so they are doing the work, not you.

4) Checking for Understanding by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey

The techniques and practical theory in the book has helped me focus my instruction and has been vital when teaching my students new skills or concepts in the lab. I can now be assured that my students have 100% mastery of the objective I have laid out (i.e. import a photo into iPhoto) before moving on to the next step.

5) Applying Standards-Based Constructivism by Don Mesibov, Pat Flynn, Paul Vermetter and R. Michael Smith

The 2-Step model in this book breaks the learning process into the Exploratory Phase and Discovery phase. It provided me with an explanation for why I felt 'wrong' grading students when they were first introduced to a concept. It also helped me structure my units and lessons.

For more ideas for great books about teaching with technology, these are some recommendations I was given on Twitter:

Reinventing Project-Based Learning with Technology by Suzie Boss

From Fear to Facebook by Matt Levinson

You can always check ISTE's publications for great titles, too.

What are some books that have changed your teaching? Any others you'd suggest for some good holiday reading?

Comments (17)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Beverly's picture
Beverly
Fourth Grade Teacher, Grad Student at Walden Unversity

As a teacher in a Title 1 district, I found the insights from Ruby Payne's book, A Framework for Understanding Poverty, very useful in understanding my students and the mindset of their families.

Shakeya Bond's picture

I think you have read some interesting books and you make me want to read them. Especially book # 3 because I always feel like I am working to hard but then again I am still a student!

frances rice's picture

Although I primarily teach elementary art, I teach a variety of classes across the academic curriculum. I'm looking forward to reading the book you suggested on standards and constructivism. One book that I am reading now is Van de Walle's book Elementary and Middle school Mathematics. His comparison of traditional math teaching and constructivist math education is wonderful. My sweetie who is a jr. college math instructor said his master's program in math education is an extended exploration of just what Van de Walle describes. The best books I have read this year are Engaging Learners in Art Making by Douglas and Jaquith, Studio Thinking by Hetland, Winner,Veenema and Sheridan as well as The Story in the Picture by Mulcahey.

Melissa Aho's picture

I am a Technology teacher in Michigan and am so happy to have found this blog! I plan on reading two of the recommended books over my Christmas vacation. Thanks so much for the suggestions. Does anyone have a "favorite" book of lessons for Jr. High Tech, or a place where Tech teachers share lesson ideas? I could use some more fresh ideas.

Melissa Aho's picture

Steve Johnson, your book sounds very interesting! And how cool is it that an author is posting to this blog! Way to connect with your readers :)

Melissa Aho's picture

Beverly,
That is an excellent book! Have you ever gone to one of her conferences? I have had the opportunity to go to two of them and LOVED them! I highly recommend going, if you ever get the chance. I am a Walden student, too. I am surprised they don't have her lessons in our class, but then again I still have a lot of classes to take.

Lin Savory's picture

Give yourself a great 2011 New Year Gift and get inspired about teaching. Read "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson. You will never look at your students, teaching, or education the same way again. He has a second book to read; "Stones into Schools." Greg has changed my outlook on Scholarship and Peace entirely.

Phil's picture
Phil
Teacher and Ed-Tech Blogger at BrokenAirplane.com

This book has a lot of amazing insights into why we and our students will lose interest or follow through with passion. It is one of my favorite books and I just convinced our school to make it our book club book for the year.

I also have a winter book list of books that have helped me grow as a teacher on my site BrokenAirplane.com

Thanks for the great suggestions. Something to use my Amazon Gift Cards on. I always love great book recommendations.

Hubert V. Yee's picture
Hubert V. Yee
social media and marketing manager of startup

I'm looking for input on building a summer reading list for new teachers. Any thoughts on "must reads"? Share them in our summer reading list discussion.

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