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January 4, 2024

5 of Our Course Writers’ Favorite Professional Development Books

What year would be complete without an “our favorites” blog? Allow us to jump on the bandwagon! Our team of Teaching Channel course writers put our heads together and came up with our Five Favorite Professional Development books for 2023. 

We review hundreds (seriously! hundreds!) of books and work hard to ensure the “vibe” of our PD texts is professional, engaging, applicable, and research-based. That’s no small feat! Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about the types of books educators prefer when enrolling in graduate professional development, and we do our absolute best to meet the mark. (And, we offer plenty of courses that rely on research but don’t include a textbook, too!)

Below, please see our Five Favorite PD Books for 2023!

1. The PD Book: 7 Habits that Transform Professional Development by Elene Aguilar and Lori Cohen

Book Fun Facts

This powerful text can make transactional professional development transformational! 

While we often find initiatives to pass on to colleagues, the delivery can feel like checking something off a list. This book digs into the human dynamics of professional development so we can plan PD experiences that benefit all.
Author Elena Aguilar also hosts the popular and impactful podcast, Bright Morning!

How Teachers Will Learn

“The Five Whys,” activity gives participants the chance to discover the purpose of transformative professional development experiences. 

When purpose is discovered, we grow in our understanding of the ways PD can best benefit our professional teaching practices.

Find this book in Course 5276: Creating Transformative Professional Development!

2. Awakened by Angela Watson

Book Fun Facts

Teacher and author of the books, Fewer Things Better, Unshakable, and Awakened, Watson has a reputation for real, practical strategies educators rely on. 

Awakened provides 4 simple steps (dismiss, distract, reject, replace) to reimagine and retrain our brain into telling new stories and refreshing our mindset.  
With over 9 million downloads of her Truth for Teachers podcast (and encouragement for sticking to a 40-hour work week), Watson is one to watch!

How Teachers Will Learn

Teachers have the opportunity to take Watson’s four strategies: dismiss, distract, reject, replace, and put them to use. (Talk about practical!) 

Teachers are asked to rewrite negative thoughts using one of the four strategies that works best. The template teachers complete can be posted on a computer home screen, printed and pinned to a bulletin board, laminated and shared, all as a reminder about the ways we can create fresh self-talk narratives.

Find this book in Course 5273: Reimagining Your Teacher Mindset!

3. The Reading Comprehension Blueprint by Nancy Lewis Hennessy

Book Fun Facts

Looking for ways to incorporate comprehension into your Science of Reading-aligned instruction?

If you answered yes, this is the text you need! 

Hennesey’s work completely changed our thinking about how reading comprehension develops. As we explored the text, we learned that literacy is built on language and executive functioning processes and that educators must understand both in order to effectively teach comprehension.

How Teachers Will Learn

The “Blueprint,” or framework, outlined in the text gives teachers a starting point for delivering instruction that helps students make meaning from text. 

Teachers will gain a deep understanding about the body of research on comprehension and gather specific, evidence-based strategies focused on vocabulary, syntax/sentence comprehension, text structures, inference and background knowledge.

Find this book in Course 5269: Building Comprehension with the Science of Reading!

4. Educator Bandwith: how to Reclaim Your Energy, Passion, and Time by Jane A.G. Kise and Ann G. Holm

Book Fun Facts

Although the term “bandwidth” is more business than educator jargon, if you can look beyond the moniker this book is like discovering a box of goodies! 

Each chapter includes easy, applicable ways to restore and reclaim your energy, passion, and time.

How Teachers Will Learn

One activity teachers thrive on is the Bandwidth Survey. Early in the course, teachers are asked to review the 8 items where participants who took the survey scored lowest and to think about how they plan and complete their days: 

  1. I attend to emails at set times rather than constantly.
  2. I use power naps to clear my mind.
  3. I have regular meditation or yoga or other reflective practices.
  4. I avoid multitasking.
  5. I set aside uninterruptible blocks of time of at least 60 minutes to work on projects that require deep concentration.
  6. When I am driving, I don’t text or talk on my phone.
  7. I have activities that allow me to relax my mind.
  8. I find time to follow my own creative pathways for learning, research, and problem solving.

Participants learn the ways low bandwidth scores impact their ability to feel and be: energized, effective, efficient, engaged, and emotionally intelligent.

So much learning!

Find this book in Course 5271: Reclaiming Your Passion for Teaching with Balance and Bandwidth!

5. STEM, STEAM, MAKE, Dream by Christopher Emdin

Book Fun Facts

Colorful, engaging, and just plain fun, our team of course writers were smitten with this book from the start! 

Cultivating a sense of belonging is at the center of this course textbook. The author encourages us to see all students as “STEM people!” and to reimagine the ways STEM can be inclusive, equitable, and accessible for all students. 

Read on to see how STEM becomes STEAM (the “A” in STEM) and explore strategies for integrating the arts using creativity and maker culture.

How Teachers Will Learn

An innovative application in this course presents itself in Module 2, when educators discover ways for students to explore their STEM identities. 

Numerous studies have shown a connection between a positive STEM identity, and students’ likelihood of pursuing, persevering, and finding success in STEM educational and career opportunities. This course gives teachers the chance to make an impact! 

In addition, the course provides loads of resources about keeping or introducing girls, and other underrepresented groups, to STEM and how the work of Beyond100k (whose mission is to end the STEM teacher shortage by 2043) is making a difference!

Find this book in Course 5272: Cultivating Equity in STEM!

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