5 Books to Give for the 2016 Holiday

Looking to get the educator in your family something both fun and scholarly to read? Look no further! Yes, educators like other books besides educational reads (and things besides books… i.e. alcohol), but the five books below will be welcome in any educational classroom or office.

1) Collaborative Leadership – Peter DeWitt


Pete DeWitt is awesome–not because he’s a friend, but because his writing hits home, and he says what he really means. Many school leaders today rely on transformational and instructional leadership in their classrooms /  buildings / district. Pete steers away from that and speaks about how you can apply a holistic leadership approach, so that all stakeholders can buy in–AKA collaborative leadership. Pete identifies six factors framed through John Hattie’s research while showing the importance of meeting stakeholders where they are, motivating them to strive for improvement, and then even modeling how to do it. He also writes about how to transform your leadership practice, identify where you can make change, build and empower your team, and incorporate all stakeholders into the conversation.

This book is available by clicking here.

2) The 20time Project: How educators can launch Google’s formula for future-ready innovation Kevin Brookhauser


I first heard of this book at the NJASA Techspo workshop last year. They brought in Kevin Brookhouser, a teacher from California who spoke about the concept from start to finish. He then did a workshop with Green Hills Superintendent John Nittolo (our school took a field trip to see him in action) on how his entire building (grades K – 8) is incorporating the idea into classes. The concept?  To help inspire innovation and creativity, Google offers employees 20% of their time to work on a project of their own choosing. Teachers who offer the same to their students can meet learning goals while creating powerful experiences that lead to increased motivation, creativity, and divergent critical thinking. This book illustrates how to develop a 20time program in middle and high schools across curricula, how to effectively communicate the rationale of the program to administrators, parents, and students, and how to execute the program, so that students are able to manage their time effectively for a successful final project.

You can purchase the book by clicking here.

3) Hacking Leadership: 10 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students, and Parents Love – Tony Sinanis & Joe SanFellippo


Tony and Joe are also friends of mine, but that’s not why I am plugging their book. Tony and Joe are an academic powerhouse who have taken the country by storm. From hosting the BAMMY Awards to partaking in scads of twitter chats during the week, these men have some of the best insights into education today. When school leaders join teachers, students, and parents in a collaborative effort to improve teaching and learning,  achievement soars and schools turn into vibrant communities, filled with enthusiastic members. In Hacking Leadership, Tony and Joe demonstrate how to increase learning by leaving the office and engaging directly with all teachers and learners. They identify 10 problems with school leadership and provide dynamic solutions. Joe and Tony also cover the concept of “Lead Learner,” as well as addressing staff needs and school culture, breaking down barriers between home and school, eliminating initiative overload, and bringing passion into your school.

This book is available by clicking here.

4) 50 Things To Go Further With Google Classroom – Alice Keeler & Libbi Miller


Alice Keeler is a rock star–again not because we are friends, but because she is the game changer for Google classroom, Google docs, and the GAFE movement.  Alice brings a student-centered approach to the technology that just about every student is using today. Current technology empowers educators to move away from the traditional classroom where teachers lead and students work independently–each doing the same thing. Alice & Libbi offer inspiration and resources to help you create a digitally rich, engaging, student-centered environment. They show you how to tap into the power of individualized learning that is possible with Google Classroom.

This book is available by clicking here.

5) Instant Relevance – Denis Sheeran


Coming from Dave Burgess Publishing (if you haven’t heard of the NYT Best Seller Teach Like A Pirate, you have some reading to do) is the latest in student engagement and leadership motivation.  Denis Sheeran (from the great state of NJ) offers the concept and perspective that students don’t need teachers for information. Virtual course ware, online tutors, and comprehensive textbooks make individualized, self-paced learning easier than ever before. Students have free access to information 24/7, so what can teachers offer students that massive, open, online courses (MOOCS) and online tutorials can’t? Relevance!

Students need teachers to help them make sense of information. Every day students in schools around the world ask the question, “When am I ever going to use this in real life?” In Instant Relevance, author and keynote speaker Denis Sheeran equips you with the ability to create engaging lessons from experiences and events that matter to your students, not just in preparation for real-world application. Your students will begin to see meaningful connections between the real world and what they learn in the classroom, because that’s when learning sticks. You will learn why sharing personal experiences can make lasting content connections for students, how asking questions can lead to relevant learning experiences, where detours from routine can take your class, and how to find unique learning opportunities in everyday circumstances.

This book is available by clicking here.

On a personal note, I am currently penning two books myself based on my experiences as a superintendent.  If you thought your classroom stories couldn’t be made up, you’ll be quite entertained by these two books. I’m looking to have both on the shelves by the summer of 2017.

I hope everyone has a joyous holiday season, and, to those in the field of education, enjoy your winter break.  You’ve earned it!


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