Here are some of November’s top new books for educators:

Alphabet Books book cover

Alphabet Books: The K-12 Educators’ Power Tool
Bonnie Mackey, Hedy Schiller Watson

Alphabet books are perfect for establishing introductory lessons and serve as a starting point for project ideas. Alphabet Books: The K–12 Educators’ Power Tool is ideal for school and public librarians as well as teachers who need to meet specific learning standards. The indexing by topic, grade level, and content area helps in finding just the right book for the aligned instructional objective.

Some 300-plus alphabet books are additionally categorized according to the complexity of the text structure. Featured books for three grade level categories (Pre K–2, 3–6, and 7–12) are accompanied by instructional strategies to use with these books. Images of the finished student projects for every described strategy are included to clarify the instructional values. A chapter that focuses on the use of alphabet books in the English language learners’ classroom offers strategies for the specific needs of this student group.

Book features:

  • Presents in-depth indexing and coding for more than 300 alphabet books for grades K–12, providing an easy-access resource for librarians and teachers
  • Includes analysis of text structures and instructional values that helps educators link curriculum objectives to specific alphabet books
  • Provides lessons and strategies with featured books for pre-K through 12th grade
  • Describes specific instructional suggestions that can be used with ELL students with lists of second-language titles

Argument in the Real World book cover

Argument in the Real World: Teaching Adolescents to Read and Write Digital Texts
Kristen Hawley Turner, Troy Hicks

Every day, our students are inundated by information—as well as opinions and misinformation—on their devices. These digital texts influence what they buy, who they vote for, and what they believe about themselves and their world. Crafting and analyzing arguments in a digital world could be our greatest possibility to improve dialogue across cultures and continents… or it could contribute to bitter divides.

In this book, Kristen Hawley Turner and Troy Hicks draw from real world texts and samples of student work to share a wealth of insights and practical strategies in teaching students the logic of argument. Whether arguments are streaming in through a Twitter feed, a Facebook wall, viral videos, internet memes, or links to other blogs or websites, Turner and Hicks will guide you—and your students—in how to engage with and create digital arguments.

The authors’ companion wiki provides all of the links to the web-based examples referenced in the book, as well as additional resources to support you as you implement instruction in digital arguments.


Design Education book cover

Design Education: Creating Thinkers to Improve the World
Robin Vande Zande

Design Education: Creating Thinkers to Improve the World is a curricular resource that offers theoretical concepts and practical advice for teaching lessons in design to PreK-12 grade students. The book is for art educators at the preK-12 level in schools, museums, and enrichment programs, and university professors in teacher preparation programs. Design education is about problem-solving, learning through objects of our daily lives, and the role design plays in social responsibility and the creative economy.

Designers utilize research methods, technology, sketching, and the construction of prototypes. The basis of these techniques, systems, and tools may be taught to Prek-12 students. Students need lifelong skills that build their creativity and problem-solving capabilities to better understand the world and themselves and use visual communication to advance their abilities to express ideas.

Design is a study about life and can touch on all school subjects, making it a valuable interdisciplinary study. Students are able to directly apply thinking strategies and learning about facts, figures, and concepts at the same time they are crafting meaningful ideas about the importance, influence, and social implications of everyday items and the potential to improve the world.

Media Today book cover

Media Today: Mass Communication in a Converging World, 6th Edition
Joseph Turow

Media Today uses convergence as a lens that puts students at the center of the profound changes in the 21st century media world. Through the convergence lens, they learn to think critically about the role of media today and what these changes mean for their lives presently and in the future. The book’s media systems approach helps students to look carefully at how media content is created, distributed, and exhibited in the new world that the digital revolution has created. From newspapers to video games and social networking to mobile platforms, Media Today prepares students to live in the digital world of media.

The Teacher-Writer book cover

The Teacher-Writer: Creating Writing Groups for Personal and Professional Growth
Christine M. Dawson

The Teacher-Writer shows how teachers can pursue and sustain personally and professionally worthwhile writing practices, even amidst the many demands associated with teaching. It meets teachers wherever they are—as novice teachers just beginning to pursue writing, as teachers emerging from a professional development experience, or as accomplished writers seeking to further their craft. Chapter by chapter, the book provides strategies to help teachers get started on projects, build energy for writing, overcome obstacles of limited time, create support systems using online technologies, and develop coherence across their writing lives. The text includes useful writing group routines, questions for framing collaborative inquiry, methods for adapting writing communities to online settings, and rich examples of conversations and texts shared in actual teacher writing group meetings.

The Teacher-Writer:

  • Focuses on teacher-writers and their actual experiences working together in a writing group, including benefits and challenges.
  • Includes vignettes taken from writing group meetings that demonstrate the variety of ways teachers may participate and engage in writing.
  • Offers practical suggestions for teachers seeking to form writing groups, including plans for online groups.
  • Shares strategies to help teacher-writers expand their concepts of writing to include everything from exploratory texts to professional and academic writing.

Speaking of teacher-writers, here’s a bonus book for November!

Coaching Teacher-Writers book cover

Coaching Teacher-Writers: Practical Steps to Nurture Professional Writing
Troy Hicks, Anne Elrod Whitney, James Fredricksen, Leah Zuidema

When teachers write, good things can happen; writing helps educators to better understand themselves, as well as students, parents, and colleagues. This practical book illustrates how to encourage, lead, and sustain teacher-writers, especially in group contexts. In contrast to guides on writing and teacher research, this book is designed for those who support teacher-writers, such as teacher educators and literacy coaches. The authors offer descriptions of key practices they have developed over years of coaching, teaching, and collaborating with K–12 teachers who write about classroom instruction, teacher research, or advocacy for better policy and pedagogy. Knowing firsthand just how hard writing can be for teachers, they provide a repertoire of strategies to elicit writing, to support teachers as they write, to find audiences for the teachers’ work, and much more.

This book offers clear guidance to coach teacher-writers to:

  • Choose topics and shape ideas.
  • Conquer insecurities and draw from their strengths.
  • Establish authority with their audience.
  • Navigate publishing, including choosing venues and working with editors.
  • Find time and space to write and create the habits of writing daily.
  • Respond to audience reaction to their writing.
  • Reflect on their teaching and writing.
  • Develop a voice and vision as a professional.
Did you miss last month’s recommendations? It’s not too late to see October’s top new books for educators.

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Ashleigh Lutz

Born and raised in the Phoenix area, Ashleigh graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Women and Gender Studies. She spent over three years in higher education developing student/counselor resources and working directly with online students to help them find success. Ashleigh is eager to support Where Learning Clicks and the team’s commitment to helping teachers and students meet important goals and explore their own passions. In addition to writing, a few of Ashleigh’s favorite things include trivia, the outdoors (away from the Phoenix heat), gardening, and cats.