Friday, June 28, 2013

5 books that every educator should read!

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.
            -Ray Bradbury

5 Books Every Educator Should Read:
I believe that it is very important for educators to read book in order to stay connected to the latest trends, current news, creative pedagogy, and for inspiration and creativity.  I have read hundreds of books on education over the past ten years and many of them have had a major influence on the way I teach and the way I perceive the world.  These are some of my suggested books:

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1.  DRIVE by Daniel Pink - This book completely changed the way that I see the world!  Daniel Pink does an excellent job of illustrating some myths about motivation in this book and explains that people are more intrinsically motivated than we give them credit for.  He describes the importance of providing autonomy, mastery, and purpose and how these principles have transformed businesses such as Google, 3M, and others.  After reading this book, I have never viewed education quite the same.  Although I knew that education needed to be reformed and improved, this book left me thinking that we need to make some major changes.....NOW!  We need to find ways to tap into students' intrinsic motivation instead of using the "carrots and sticks" methods of grades and punishments.  Please, please, please read this book.  I wish it was mandatory reading for every teacher as I feel it has the power to transform education into a place in which students learn how to learn and are excited to learn regardless of "how many points it is worth" or "how they can get an "A"'.
Purchase this book: 

2.  THINKERTOYS by Michael Michalko - Creativity is often deemed as an "inherited trait" that you either have or you do not have.  NOT TRUE.  Michael Michalko is a creative genius that helps show you ways to improve your creativity and the way you look at the world.  I believe this book will instantly have you thinking "outside of the box" and creating engaging, interesting, new lessons in your classroom, while also learning how to teach students how to be more creative, which is essential for the future of our educational system.

Purchase this book: 

3.  CLASSROOM HABITUDES by Angela Maiers - Excellent book at illustrating what 21st Century Skills are and how we can inspire students to develop them.  This book is extremely motivating.  Angela Maiers is a "GENIUS" at helping you realize that you are a genius.  She also is wonderful at helping you understand how you can help each of your students realize that they are geniuses as well.  In this book, Angela illustrates the seven most important "Habitudes" - which are habits of disciplined decisions and specific attitudes that students will need to succeed in the 21st century "real world". These include imagination, curiosity, self-awareness, perseverance, courage, passion, and adaptability.  I wish this book was a mandatory read for all teachers.  This is the direction that education needs to be headed.  We need to cut back on content and increase the concepts that are clearly laid out in this book.

Purchase this book:

4.  OUT OF OUR MINDS by Sir Kenneth Robinson - Do you think that education needs to be reformed?  Sir Kenneth Robinson argues that it needs more than this, it needs to be TRANSFORMED.  This book is a wonderfully written and thought-provoking perspective on our NEED to make changes in education immediately.  Why do we spend $9,000 yearly per student on average to be educated but $29,000 yearly per prisoner to be incarcerated?  Why have we allowed education to remain the same for over 100 years despite the fact that everything else in the world has changed and the skills needed today are not the same as they were back then?  Why do we continue to only value standardized tests and IQ, while cutting arts and other creative programs from our schools.  Read this book.  If you have already seen his TED TALK (which is phenomenal), READ THIS BOOK.  If you disagree with the belief that education needs to be transformed READ THIS BOOK.  If you agree that it does, READ THIS BOOK!

Purchase this book:

5.  TEACH LIKE A PIRATE by Dave Burgess - I am going to be completely honest.....I didn't like the title of this book and cannot believe that I decided to read it.  With that said, I heard so many people talking about it, that I had to read.  Wow!!!  I am glad that I did.  This book is excellent.  If you want an instant injection of passion along with clearly defined ways to make your classroom a more engaging and memorable experience, while providing a top-notch education to EVERY student, READ THIS BOOK.  The book is very well written.  Dave Burgess uses humor, motivation, and clear explanations to get his points across.  This book will teach you how to build better rapport with your students and coworkers, how to be passionate in class every day, even if the specific content of that unit isn't your favorite, and provides very clear and specific examples of how to get students more engaged.  I really like this book and the attitude of Dave Burgess.  Pirates "refuse to conform to any society that stifles creativity and independence."  Maybe we all need to be a little bit more like a Pirate. 

Purchase this book:

There are many other EXCELLENT books out there.  I plan to review others in the future, but wanted to start out with these five.

PLEASE LET ME KNOW in the comments if you have a book that you would recommend!  I love to read and I love to learn.

Com-Passion Based Learning:

Oliver Schinkten
Co-founder of Communities at ONHS
Lifelong Learners


  1. The Power of Why by Amanda Lang is also a very good read. I just finished it!

  2. Role Reversal by Mark Barnes was my latest read that you would enjoy...! ;-)


Please engage in the discussion. I would love to hear what you have to say!