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Outside the Classroom

Top New Books for Educators: See What’s Coming in February!

Each month, hundreds of new books for educators are released, so finding the best ones can be difficult. To better help you, your students, and your coworkers, we’ve put together a list of the top new books for educators that will be available in February. Covering such topics as how to keep dedicated and caring teachers happy in the classroom, guidance counseling for some of our youngest students, and how you can incorporate digital role-playing games into your classroom teaching, these books are full of great information to help you better serve your students and do your job. Check out what we picked for you this month!

Demoralized: Why Teachers Leave the Profession They Love and How They Can Stay
Doris A. Santoro

Demoralized: Why Teachers Leave the Profession They Love and How They Can Stay offers a timely analysis of professional dissatisfaction that challenges the common explanation of burnout. Featuring the voices of educators, the book offers concrete lessons for practitioners, school leaders, and policy makers on how to think more strategically to retain experienced teachers and make a difference in the lives of students.

Based on ten years of research and interviews with practitioners across the United States, the book theorizes the existence of a “moral center” that can be pivotal in guiding teacher actions and expectations on the job. Education philosopher Doris Santoro argues that demoralization offers a more precise diagnosis that is born out of ongoing value conflicts with pedagogical policies, reform mandates, and school practices. Demoralized reveals that this condition is reversible when educators are able to tap into authentic professional communities and shows that individuals can help themselves.

Detailed stories from veteran educators are included to illustrate the variety of contexts in which demoralization can occur. Based on these insights, Santoro offers an array of recommendations and promising strategies for how school leaders, union leaders, teacher groups, and individual practitioners can enact and support “re-moralization” by working to change the conditions leading to demoralization.

The Tyranny of Metrics
Jerry Z. Muller

How the obsession with quantifying human performance threatens our schools, medical care, businesses, and government

Today, organizations of all kinds are ruled by the belief that the path to success is quantifying human performance, publicizing the results, and dividing up the rewards based on the numbers. But in our zeal to instill the evaluation process with scientific rigor, we’ve gone from measuring performance to fixating on measuring itself. The result is a tyranny of metrics that threatens the quality of our lives and most important institutions. In this timely and powerful book, Jerry Muller uncovers the damage our obsession with metrics is causing—and shows how we can begin to fix the problem.

Filled with examples from education, medicine, business and finance, government, the police and military, and philanthropy and foreign aid, this brief and accessible book explains why the seemingly irresistible pressure to quantify performance distorts and distracts, whether by encouraging “gaming the stats” or “teaching to the test.” That’s because what can and does get measured is not always worth measuring, may not be what we really want to know, and may draw effort away from the things we care about. Along the way, we learn why paying for measured performance doesn’t work, why surgical scorecards may increase deaths, and much more. But metrics can be good when used as a complement to—rather than a replacement for—judgment based on personal experience, and Muller also gives examples of when metrics have been beneficial.

Complete with a checklist of when and how to use metrics, The Tyranny of Metrics is an essential corrective to a rarely questioned trend that increasingly affects us all.

The Edtech Advocate’s Guide to Leading Change in Schools
Mark Gura

The education field is in the midst of a complete digital transformation. Accordingly, tech coaches and other school leaders must shift from simply bringing technology into schools to identifying how the various elements of this changing landscape fit together to form an improved version of education.

These changes affect everyone in the school, and as entire school communities are impacted, informed individuals who can guide the transformation are needed. The problem is that there are not nearly enough certified tech coaches in schools, and those who are in place are not always adequately prepared to handle this new mission. This book helps new and emerging tech coaches and school technology leaders embrace their roles and guides them as they make important decisions and take meaningful steps to effectively participate in this education transformation.

The book includes:

  • Advice on planning and guiding change in digital age schools.
  • Examples of digital age schools and advice from “change agents” in the field.
  • Activities, action plans, templates, checklists, and other planning tools to help tech coaches and other leaders put what they learn into action.

Hatching Results for Elementary School Counseling: Implementing Core Curriculum and Other Tier One Activities
Trish Hatch, ‎Danielle Duarte,‎ Lisa K. De Gregorio

School counseling that makes a difference—for all students!

As an elementary school counselor, you’re implementing a comprehensive program to promote academic and social-emotional development for all students. You’re planting seeds of college and career readiness, which means creating core curriculum classroom lessons, delivering engaging content to students and parents, managing classroom behaviors, providing assessments, and sharing the results.

The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. In this guide, three experienced school counselors take you step by step through the creation and implementation of high-quality Tier 1 systems of universal supports. With a focus on proactive and prevention education through core curriculum classroom lessons and school-wide activities, this practical text includes:

  • The school counselor’s role in Multi-tiered, Multi-Domain System of Supports
  • Examples to help with design, implementation, and evaluation
  • Guidance for selecting curriculum and developing lesson and action plans
  • Alignment with ASCA National Model and ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors
  • Vignettes from practicing elementary school counselors
  • Recommendations for including families in prevention activities
  • Management tools, reproducible templates, and reflective activities and processing questions

You teach the academic, college and career, and social-emotional competencies students need to be successful learners. With this book’s expert guidance, you’re prepared to help them get there.

Kids 1st from Day 1: A Teacher’s Guide to Today’s Classroom
Christine Hertz, Kristine Mraz

“This book is a place to start creating the classroom of your dreams from the very first minute of school, a classroom that is research based, child centered, and in step with the world today.”
— Christine Hertz and Kristine Mraz

The classroom of your dreams starts with one big idea. From the first days of school to the last, Kids 1st from Day 1 shares teaching that puts your deepest teaching belief into action: that children are the most important people in the room.

Christine Hertz and Kristi Mraz show how to take that single, heartfelt value and create a cohesive, highly effective approach to teaching that addresses today’s connected, collaborative world. With infectious enthusiasm, hard-won experience, and a generous dose of humor, Kids 1st from Day 1 shows exactly how Christine and Kristi build and maintain a positive, cooperative, responsive classroom where students engage deeply with their learning and one another.

Kids 1st from Day 1 strengthens and deepens the connections between your love of working with kids, your desire to impact their lives, and your teaching practice. It shares:

  • Plans for designing beautiful classroom spaces that burst with the fun of learning.
  • Positive language and classroom routines that reduce disruptive behavior—without rewards and consequences.
  • Suggestions for matching students’ needs to high-impact teaching structures.
  • A treasury of Christine’s and Kristi’s favorite “teacher stuff” such as quick guides for challenging behavior, small-group planning grids, and parent letters.
  • Links to videos that model the moves of Christine’s and Kristi’s own teaching.

Just starting out and want to know what really works in classrooms? Curious about how to make your room hum with learning? Or always on the lookout for amazing teaching ideas? Read Kids 1st from Day 1. You’ll discover that the classroom of your dreams is well within your reach.

Teach Like a Gamer: Adapting the Instructional Design of Digital Role-Playing Games
Carly Finseth

Digital role-playing games such as Rift, Diablo III, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning help players develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving, digital literacy, and engagement. The author examines both the benefits and the drawbacks of role-playing games and their application to real-world teaching techniques. Readers will learn how to incorporate games-based instruction into their own classes and workplace training, as well as approaches to redesigning curriculum and programs.

Using Film to Understand Childhood and Practice
Edited by Sue Aitken

Using Film to Understand Childhood and Practice is an innovative and lively text which allows complex and challenging issues within childhood studies to be explored using the medium of filmed drama. By utilizing popular culture, this book provides accessible narratives to students and lecturers needing to engage with complex theoretical ideas. In exposing theories to tangible situations often from more than one perspective in films, readers are helped to identify and recognize how theories about children and childhood can be applied.

Each chapter uses a specific film to provide the basis for discussion in order to explore and analyze key concepts within childhood studies which include identity, social construction, families, political and biological narratives, children’s rights, and participation. A range of international films are used including Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryRabbit Proof FenceThe Hunger Games, and The Red Balloon. First introducing the theoretical perspective to be discussed, chapters also include a contextual explanation of the film and list the specific scenes that will be used to guide students through. Concluding with discussion questions, students are asked to consider how the theories discussed might be translated in to their own experiences of children, childhood, and practice.

Not only supporting understanding of core principles and key ideas across any childhood studies degree, this book supports students throughout their university career and beyond by engaging with the journey of becoming a graduate as well as discussion of workplace issues and concepts after graduation.

Did you miss last month’s recommendations? It’s not too late to see January’s top new books for educators.

About the Author

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Laura Almozara

As a child, Laura spent a lot of time reading and telling stories, at one point reading a new book every day. She took that interest with her to college, where she studied English and journalism. She then started working in publishing and eventually made her way to edtech. As someone with several teachers in her family, Laura is excited to be a part of the Where Learning Clicks team, helping to provide innovative education tools to some of the people who need them most.