6 More Books Every Elementary Teacher Should Read
Hey, y'all. I'm back with a few more must-read books for elementary school teachers. The world is changing quickly and so are our instructional strategies. These books are all fairly recent publications sure to have a huge impact on your classroom instruction. They're also some of my favorites.
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Are you wanting to back-up your case for play-based learning in your classroom? This is THE book for that. Everything you love about teaching--kids talking about their learning, constructing knowledge, hands on learning--is reinforced in this book. As soon as I started reading, my heart started filling up. My copy is covered with tabs and notes on things I can use in the classroom and research to backup the case for play-based, constructive learning.
Written by two teacher bloggers, Unpack Your Impact is an eye-opening book about ways to incorporate social studies lessons within the time constraints of our daily schedule. Many things mentioned in this book fall in line with the social studies stations and phenomenon based learning units I already use (and are available in my store). But there are lots of additional ways to incorporate social studies in even the youngest classrooms.
The Civically Engaged Classroom is written for upper elementary and older students, but many of the ideas in this book can be used with younger students. Obviously, content needs to be modified to fit the developmental stages of the students we work with, but even kindergarten students can get involved with civics. This book was published in 2021, so the ideas are fresh and insightful. If you're looking for ways to get your elementary students involved in the world around them, this is an excellent read.
This one is one of my favorites. It's full of ideas on teaching mindfulness in the classroom, slowing down, breathing, and more. This is the book that introduced me to mindfulness and how much it can benefit students in our classroom. If you looking for ways to cultivate calm in your classroom, this book is it!
I spent the entire time reading this going, "Yes!" "I knew it!" and, "I told them!" If you're having some tough conversations about literacy at your school and you have some strong feelings about how to teach phonics, as well as the importance of it, you need to read this book. Phonics instruction is imperative in the younger grades. This book highlights why and provides strategies to get you going. It will be a game changer in your classroom.
Shifting the Balance discusses the science and brain research behind learning to read. It doesn't just cover the assumptions classroom teachers make based on their own observations. The authors have sifted through pages and pages of research on brain development and language acquisition to determine exactly how students learn to read. It's hot off the presses as of this writing and reviews are hopeful it will "end the reading wars" once and for all. Who knows on that one, but I do know that it's easy to read and understand. It discusses how the brain acquires language and processes words without getting so scientific that it's hard to read. It also offers actionable steps to take in the classroom to set your students up for success based on this research.
These titles are all relatively new and worth a closer look at. If you're struggling to find joy in the classroom, read The Playful Classroom or Happy Teachers Change the World. If you're looking for ways to get your students involved in the world around them, Unpack Your Impact and The Civically Engaged Classroom is the way to go. Wild about reading? Check out A Fresh Look at Phonics and Shifting the Balance.
I have personally read each of these and every one of them has made an impact on my teaching. I'll probably even do a quick re-read of each of them over the summer as I plan out instruction for the fall. None of these are a super heavy read, but all of them are worth it!
I hope you found some new favorite PD books and if you read any of these and have thoughts you want to share, drop them in the comments. I'd love to read them. I hope you have a wonderful week and I'll talk to you soon.