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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

Steve Johnson's picture
Steve Johnson
Technology Facilitator, Writer
Blogger 2014

Just wanted to say thanks for mentioning my book- it's an honor! Plus, I've got this book on it's way to me:

Five Miles Away, A World Apart, by James Ryan. It was a book that I saw @jonbecker tweet about and the topic is really one I love to learn more about- how ed policy affects different populations in different, sometimes unintended ways. (http://www.amazon.com/Five-Miles-Away-World-Apart/dp/0195327381)

Not really light reading, but I'm looking forward to it!

Allen Berg's picture
Allen Berg
curriculum and projects learning centers

Thank you Mary Beth for this year-round-wrap*up with great books...

Books are some of my Best Friends :-)
They don't curse, they don't have temper-tantrums, they don't throw spitballs in the classroom...

I seem to like "old-fashioned" books sometimes, because they have a long history with me, as I am a long-careered teacher... :-)

About 35 years ago, just starting out "Getting my Credential",
I read a wonder-full small paperback book that I still own and cherish:

Alfred North Whitehead: The Aims of Education

They are short essays printed from his various lectures leading up to 1929. The man is erudite (in the British Tradition) and down-to-earth real-experienced in classrooms and heaths... Basically, he is a Spirited-Alive Genius.

And he expects his teachers and students to strive towards this Artistry. I love the Man and his Wisdom: He insists that learning be fun. What a radical idea...

Highly recommend this short profound read...

Phineas St. George aka: Allen :-)

Mary Beth Hertz's picture
Mary Beth Hertz
K-8 Technology Teacher in Philadelphia, PA
Blogger 2014

Thanks for the book suggestions, guys! I needed some new titles to explore.

Mike Gwaltney's picture
Mike Gwaltney
Teacher, Portland, OR

Steve - is your book available in a digital format? Please say yes or risk comments re: the irony. ;) ... I'm eager to read it! Cheers.

Rod McQuality's picture

Some other books that may be of interest to you that I have found helpful as a school administrator: "Fair is Not Always Equal"; "Differentiation"; and "Meet Me in the Middle". All three books are written by Rick Wormeli. I am a retiring administrator and have never been pleased with the fragmented PD we generally offer our teachers. I have developed online PD that allows all participants to be active, learning from other educators all over the world. These online book studies are the most reasonable PD you will find anywhere. No need for subs, all work can be completed from your home or work computer. Each book study is open for a 3 month period. All three books listed above are available for study during the upcoming quarter beginning January 1, 2011. Find out more info at mcqualityeducserv.com or email me at rod@mcqualityeducserv.com

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