Looking for some great books to read this summer? You’re in luck! We asked Steve Barkley, a trusted friend and partner of PLS Classes, to recommend the top books teachers should pick up and digest this summer. Steve is an educational consultant to school districts, teacher organizations, state departments of education, and colleges and universities nationally and internationally. His recommendations are sure to help you stop and ponder your personal teaching style while you consider new ways to help students think critically and learn more.
Steve Barkley’s Summer Book Recommendations for Teachers and School Leaders
Norwich: One Tiny Vermont Town’s Secret to Happiness and Excellence
By Karen Crouse
The extraordinary story of the small Vermont town that has likely produced more Olympians per capita than any other place in the country—and whose citizens provide a model for achieving excellence while leading a well-rounded life. How did they do it? Find inspiration in this story where hands-off parents encourage children to simply enjoy themselves.
As a grandfather of a competitive swimmer and educational consultant, I was very excited to read this book. In this podcast, Steve sits down with the author to discuss this inspirational story.
Academic Conversations: Classroom Talk That Fosters Critical Thinking and Content Understandings
By Jeff Zwiers and Marie Crawford
Where would we be without conversation? Throughout history, conversations have allowed us to explore different perspectives, build ideas, and solve problems. Conversations, particularly those referred to in this book as academic conversations, push students to think and learn in ways that promote long-term retention. Academic conversations are back-and-forth dialogues in which students focus on a topic and explore it by building, challenging, and negotiating relevant ideas.
The authors of this book identify five communication skills that we should strategically teach and coach our students to develop. As I explored the importance of these skills to enhance peer-to-peer and collaborative work among students in a classroom, I realized that teachers need the same skills to engage in co-teaching, peer coaching, and professional learning communities (PLCs). Read more…
Taking the Lead: New Roles for Teachers and School-Based Coaches
By Joellen Killion and Cindy Harrison
Synopsis: This book explores the complex, multi-faceted roles played by teacher leaders and school-based coaches as well as examining district and school expectations, hiring practices, and deployment of these educators.
I was honored to be asked to write the forward for this book. Listen to my podcast where I interviewed the authors about why they wrote this book and why the concepts are important for school leaders.
Content-Area Conversations: How to Plan Discussion-Based Lessons for Diverse Language Learners
By Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and Carol Rothenberg
Teachers across the country are seeking ways to make their multicultural classrooms come alive by engaging and facilitating student talk. This book is a practical, hands-on guide to creating and managing environments that spur sophisticated levels of student communication, both oral and written.
Getting students to talk in class is worth the effort. Not only do students digest the content better when they talk about it, they also learn from each other. Read more…
WOW! Adding Pizzazz to Teaching and Learning
By Steve Barkley
In the second edition of my book, I offer even more innovative ways to enliven your classroom and your school day.
- Learn how to create WOWs to draw attention and sink learning into memory in schools
- Discover how WOWs make lesson plans fun
- Understand the brain-based power of a well-designed WOW
- Gain creative ideas for celebrations, team building and school events
About Steve Barkley
For the past 35 years, Steve has served as an educational consultant to school districts, teacher organizations, state departments of education, and colleges and universities nationally and internationally, facilitating the changes necessary for them to reach students and successfully prepare them for the 21st century. A prolific published author, his weekly blog, Steve Barkley Ponders Out Loud, has evolved into a go-to resource for teachers and administrators all over the world. Steve Barkley is also the Executive Vice President of PLS 3rd Learning.