I’ll consistently update this page when I find new inspirational articles or resources not just from the field of education, but from a wide range of sources. Check back regularly to see the categories and lists expand as I read more books and articles and discover new online resources.
Rethinking Schools is one of my favorite education journals. Here is an article about using bilingual poetry in the classroom and another on how to create visual self-portraits based on students’ poetry.
I’m impressed with the way Edutopia documents educational practices with multiple media.
When I taught a course at Brown University — Education, Community, and the Arts — I always began the course with We Make the Road by Walking by Myles Horton and Paulo Freire. It’s about social change, organizational leadership, teaching, and literacy. The book is in the form of a conversation. The organization we started in Mexico, Habla, is partly inspired by Horton’s center Highlander and Freire’s philosophies about literacy and language development.
For theater education the best book I’ve found is Acting, Learning, and Change by Jan Mandell and Jennifer Wolf. It’s the perfect combination of practical theory and concrete ideas that are immediately applicable to the classroom. When I’m stuck lesson planning, I always open Mandell and Wolf’s book to be inspired.
I told the story in one of my blogs about the first book I read as an educator, Ted Sizer’s Horace’s School. I still love opening this book to any page and reading a few paragraphs. By now I know the ideas — I still read it to appreciate how tenderly and gracefully Ted writes about education.
Thanks to a the recommendation of my colleague Patricia Sobral I’m reading Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit. I could do without the activities for developing your own creative potential, but I do like reading about her creative process and when I need a jolt of new ideas for my writing sometimes I open her book and read a chapter.
I’ve always enjoyed educational narratives: teachers writing about their own classrooms. My three favorites are Mike Rose’s classic about literacy Lives on the Boundary, James Herndon’s Beat-style How to Survive in your Native Land, and one that is not as well known, Ron Berger’s An Ethic of Excellence.
Diane Ravitch’s The Death and Life of the Great American School System is a must-read for educators at every level: teachers, school administrators, academics, and policy makers. For years Ravitch was a supporter of NCLB and all that comes with it. Then, based on the research, she changed her mind. This book is a stunning review and analysis of the research that led to her about face. It’s refreshing to hear someone of such status talking about why she thinks she was wrong.
Update: March 30, 2011
In Fires in the Mind: What Kids Can Tell Us About Motivation and Mastery Kathleen Cushman documents the opinions and ideas of teenagers who share profound insights about what helps them to learn something deeply. It has clear implications for school design and teaching. Kathleen also has a companion blog to her book where she hosts conversations with educators and provides ideas about how to implement the findings of her research.
I can’t believe I hadn’t run into this book before. Perhaps because it is geared more towards parents than teachers, but it’s essential reading for any educator and/or parent: The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. Now in its sixth edition, Trelease presents the last forty years of research around reading in a smoothly flowing narrative filled with stories and sage advice. This book compiles much of the research I’ve read in academic articles and compiles it in such a cogent and fluid way.