5 Books for the Educator this Holiday Season

The holidays are here again!  You’re in search of that perfect gift, but you don’t want to buy a fruitcake, mug, or poinsettia for the educator this year.  You’re tired of the same stuff, and you want to give a meaningful book this holiday season to someone who is an educator and WANTS to read something related to it.  No ‘chicken soup’ or feel-good books; books that will help an educator, won’t break your wallet, and will be appreciated this holiday season.

(Note: all images were procured from amazon.com)


Connecting Your Students with the World

by Billy Krakower / Jerry Blumengarten / Paula Nagle

An easy read combined with methodical steps, I bought the book for every teacher in my District. The book offers an easy path to give your students a more interactive, authentic learning experience, shows you how to use web tools to get K–8 students in touch with other classrooms worldwide,and helps you find and communicate with other teachers and classrooms and even design your own collaborative online projects. The book also includes detailed instructions for each activity and connections to the Common Core, ISTE, and Next Generation Science Standards.  Order it here.

The Power of Branding: Telling Your School’s Story

by Joe Sanfelippo and Tony Sinanis

Yes, Tony and Joe are my friends, but their book is to the point and easy to implement upon first read. You get  step-by-step guidance through the process of using tech-based tools to inform, engage, and support your school community. The book also examines the benefits of branding and will help you create an action plan for sharing the excellent things unfolding in your classroom, school, or district. Perfect for the teacher or administrator who’s still dipping the toe in the social media water. Order it here.

Worlds Of Making:  Establishing a Makerspace for your School

by Laura Fleming

Simply put, Laura is a rockstar. The book is perfect for the librarian / GT teacher / administrator who wants to hop on the MakerSepace Express and get something up and running.  You don’t needs scads of cash; just junk and some shoeboxes!  From inception through implementation, you’ll find invaluable guidance for creating a vibrant Makerspace on any budget. Practical strategies and anecdotal examples help you create an action plan for your own personalized Makerspace and also helps one to align activities to your curriculum standards. Buy it here.

The Prize  by Dale Russakoff

A few years ago, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced to a cheering Oprah audience his $100 million pledge to transform the downtrodden schools of Newark, New Jersey, then mayor Cory Booker and Governor Chris Christie were beside him, vowing to help make Newark “a symbol of educational excellence for the whole nation.” But their plans soon ran into the city’s seasoned education players, fierce protectors of their billion-dollar-a-year system. It’s a prize that, for generations, has enriched seemingly everyone, except Newark’s children.

This book has it all: drama, celebrity politics, big philanthropy, extreme economic inequality, the charter school movement, and the struggles and triumphs of schools in one of the nation’s poorest cities.   Not the feel-good book of the year, but for those that like politics and like to think, this is for you.  Order it here.


Leaders Eat Last  by Simon Sinek

All teachers and administrators get leadership books, and lately get their fair dose of emotional intelleigence (EI) books as well.  How do you siphon through them all to see what works and what does not? Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled. Today,  great leaders are creating environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things. The book delves in to by leaders who create and cultivate rockstart teams, where they are able to trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other, with the concrerte being “leaders eat last”. This principle has been true since the earliest tribes of hunters and gatherers. Sinek stresses thoroughout the book that it’s not management theory; it’s biology. To quote Sinek, “We thrived only when we felt safe among our group. Feeling safe leads to stable, adaptive, confident teams, where everyone feels they belong and all energies are devoted to facing the common enemy and seizing big opportunities.  When it matters most, leaders who are willing to eat last are rewarded with deeply loyal colleagues who will stop at nothing to advance their leader’s vision and their organization’s interests.” This was an awesome read.  Order it here.


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