July 5, 2016
8 Game-Changing Books to Accelerate Learning

8 Game-Changing Books to Accelerate Learning

Our technical assistance coaches recently gathered for their annual Coaches’ Camp – a time when we can all come together in our own Professional Learning Community to reflect on the school year and advance our own learning.

We instituted a new protocol this year, something we’re calling, “Lightning Round Learning.” We asked each participant to bring one new article, video, book, tool, etc. that the coach thinks is a game changer for our work. Each person presented the game changer during “lightning rounds.” Participants shared their resource in pairs or trios, with each person having 5 minutes to share.

Eight books topped the coaches’ list. Here they are, in alphabetical order:

Better Conversations Coaching Ourselves and Each Other to Be More Credible, Caring, and Connected by Jim KnightBetter Conversations: Coaching Ourselves and Each Other to Be More Credible, Caring, and Connected by Jim Knight

This book offers powerful and intentionally reflective professional development for how to improve conversation skills with others so that relationships continuously improve. Conversation is the lifeblood of any school. Key themes throughout this book are are trust, empathy, questions and beliefs and author Jim Knight offers resources for going deeper.

Daring Greatly by Brene BrownDaring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown

Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do us just show up! This book explores themes of vulnerability and opportunity, authenticity, shame, truth, courage, transparency, and whole-hearted living. Rather than focus on winning, this book teachers the value of courage.

For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood … And the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education by Christopher EmdinFor White Folks Who Teach in the Hood … And the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education by Christopher Emdin

Christopher Emdin challenges the perception that urban youth of color can’t succeed in the school. The book addresses teaching approaches that often hurt youth of color and offers food for thought on how to counteract them. He reimagines a classroom where students own their learning.

Hanging In: Strategies for Teaching the Students who Challenge Us the Most by Jeffrey BensonHanging In: Strategies for Teaching the Students who Challenge Us the Most by Jeffrey Benson

Author Jeffrey Benson shares detailed student stories; strategies for analyzing students’ challenges and creating personalized plans; recommendations for teachers and support team; and advice for administrators on how to stick with students until they “get it.”

Kids Deserve It: Pushing Boundaries and Challenging Conventional Thinking by Todd Nesloney and Adam WelcomeKids Deserve It: Pushing Boundaries and Challenging Conventional Thinking by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome

The authors of this book hope to encourage and challenge you to get unstuck and break out of that rut. They ask, “What if learning was exciting and students felt important and empowered every time they walked into the building?” Lots of ideas!

Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind: 16 Essential Characteristics for Success by Arthur Costa and Bena KallickLearning and Leading with Habits of Mind: 16 Essential Characteristics for Success by Arthur Costa and Bena Kallick

In this book, Aurther Costa and Bena Kallick share “a repertoire of behaviors that help students and teachers … navigate problems in the classroom of real life.”  Nearly ten years old, the insights from Arthur Costa and Bena Kallick still hold up. This book contains rubrics for competency-based education.

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua HammerThe Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer

Joshua Hammer shares the story of a race to save literature that will have readers asking, “Would you risk your life to save a book?” That’s what faces the people at the center of this story about saving precious centuries-old Arabic texts from Al Qaeda. Hammer provides a poignant reminder of the importance of literacy and literary works.

True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership by Bill GeorgeTrue North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership by Bill George

This book is a collection of stories from leaders (CEOs, political leaders, etc.) about finding your true leadership style. The common thread throughout is that all the stories are about failure and overcoming that failure – ultimately resulting in triumph.

Guest post by Deborah Howard, former Senior Director of Operations for KnowledgeWorks.

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