Book Recommendations!
Posted by newbie-tchr at 9:02 pm in Books!, Career planning, recommendations

IMG_4066One Reader, Lyn, mentioned this in a comment, but I agree with her so much I think it’s worth it’s own post. If any teacher has NOT read “Teach like a Champion” by Doug Lemov they should do so immediately! I was lucky enough to have my grad school use it as a required reading for seminar this semester, and I can honestly say it is the most practical book about teaching I’ve read thus far. Too many books are entirely based in theory, and for me, seem to be difficult to translate into real-life situations. “Teach like a champion,” is the first teaching book I’ve read that has specific practical advice, as well as strategies for incorporating these ideas into the classroom. One of my favorite techniques in the book is entitled “no opt out.” The strategy is a simple way to incorporate students whose favorite answer seems to be “i don’t know,” and make them accountable for the information. There’s even a script helping teachers use it – hence this being the most practical book I’ve read thus far.

I also recommend another book entitled “Why are all the Black Kids Sitting together in the Cafeteria” by Beverly Tatum. Unusual title? Yes. I felt incredibly awkward reading this in public. BUT it was such a great read, and I especially recommend it for anyone teaching a history class. Without realizing it, a lot of history teachers have a euro or white-centric curriculum, and the points she makes are excellent for someone trying to incorporate a more accurate and multicultural representation of history. Other teachers can benefit from it too, but as someone whose passionate about history it really hit home in regards to my content. Not to mention that Tatum’s a well regarded academic with a Ph.D in psychology and works with students, so her perspective is both academic and practical. My school in particular seems to be racially divided by tracking and student choice, so a lot of the points she makes in the books have made me feel more aware of the effects this can have on students. If you have a free minute – read it.

Lastly, all history teachers out there – you MUST read “Divided We Stand: Teaching about Conflict in U.S. History” by James Percoco. Percoco taught for years in Springfield, VA and even won a Teacher of the Year award from USA today and the Walt Disney Company. In the book he gives a lot of great ideas for classroom activities, as well as ways to infuse your curriculum with hooks to get students interested. I’ve used several of his methods in my government class already, and so far they’ve all been successful. It’s a great book to motivate you to make history class more interactive – just read it and trust me!

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