Both of these books are great resources for teachers and administrators who are using Google Classroom for the first time or want to know how it can be used beyond assignment submissions. I have been using Google Classroom since 2014 and it definitely is a game changer. Alice Keeler (follow her on Twitter @alicekeeler) and Libbi Miller do a great job of presenting the general functions of Google Classroom as well as creative ways it can be used with students as well as with staff, including professional development. Since I have been using this platform for multiple years, much of the book was review but, as the EdTech Coordinator for my school site I find this as a great tool my “n00b” teachers can use. I definitely recommend these books.
Ditch That Textbook by Matt Miller
The philosophical approach Matt Miller has regarding the current state of education and where it needs to go is a mindset we all need to have. The premise of his book is “Ditch” the mindset of the textbook being THE resource with prescribed, cookie-cutter lessons. Learning should be about creativity and investigation and teachers should create lessons that inspire students to work hard and discover because they want to, not because they have to. The approach behind Ditch That Textbook focuses on DITCH:
Different: Using teaching models that different from what students see day after day, class after class.
Innovative: Inventing new ideas or modifying others’ ideas, then testing them in the classroom, even if their success isn’t guaranteed.
Tech-laden: Incorporating digital sites, tools, and devices to learn more efficiently or in new and different ways.
Creative: Tapping into students’ original ideas as well as creating and producing meaningful work.
Hands-on: Letting students make and try things on their own
One of the most powerful quotes I found in this book (and there are many) is from Dave Burgess of Teach Like a Pirate “if your students didn’t have to be there, would you be teaching in an empty room?” I HIGHLY recommend this book.
Leadership on the Line by Ronald A Heifetz and Marty Linsky
This book a great resource for school leaders, whether you’re a teacher or administrator. The focus of the book is to help leaders understand the challenges and pitfalls of adaptive change (addressing problems that don’t have easy solutions and often require getting people out of their comfort zone). Leadership is different from authority because true leaders will have people follow them because they believe in the vision of that leader. Heifetz and Linsky provide great examples of the real struggles of leadership as well as tips to help stay the course. This books is a must read for anyone who finds themselves in a leadership position, including within their own classroom.