Laney Lee

Classroom Management Teaching Strategies x Uncategorized

Great Books for New (or Returning) Teachers

Welcome to summer! This is the perfect time of year for future teachers and veteran teachers alike tackle a few books on the “to be read” list. Let’s be honest…there isn’t always time for a lot of pleasure reading or even professional development books during the school year. Personally, I love to choose a good book or two each summer that will help enhance my classroom instruction. If you’re looking for a great way to spark your motivation for teaching or open your mind to new teaching practices, here are a few great books for new or returning teachers.


Whether you are a first-year teacher or your teaching career has spanned decades, there are things all of us could learn to have more effective teaching practices. After all, we as teachers set the tone for student learning within the walls of our classrooms. These books offer practical guidance and professional development suggestions to help you become the motivating, effective teacher you’ve always wanted to be!

Teach Like A Pirate

By Dave Burgess

This book offers innovative lesson plans and teaching best practices that will reignite your passion for teaching and engage your students in their active learning.

Raising the Rigor

By Eileen Depka

In her book, Raising the Rigor, Eileen Depka focuses on the instructional technique of “questioning.” She shares how thoughtful questioning can be used to increase critical thinking skills in both young children and older students alike.

Happy Teachers Change the World: A Guide for Cultivating Mindfulness in Education

By Tich Nhat Hanh

Packed with practical tips and inspirational stories, this great book focuses on the notion that teachers must first cultivate a practice of mindfulness in their own lives if they are going to support their students in creating this same habit.


Alright, if you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that classroom management is one of my passion topics! Why? Because I really struggled with it as a new teacher! In fact, it was these difficult years that inspired me to create my own classroom management resource: The Ultimate Guide to Classroom Management. If you can relate to this common struggle, here are a few books you might want to read:

When Adults Change, Everything Changes: Seismic Shifts in School Behavior

By Paul Dix

In this book, author Paul Dix suggests that effective classroom management must begin with understanding our students, their behaviors, life experiences, and potential traumas.

Teaching With Love & Logic

By Jim Fay and Charles Fay

This book offers practical exercises and tangible tips that teachers can use to help their students become more internalized in their discipline and behavior choices, rather than relying on external forces such as rewards and punishments.

Character Matters

By Thomas Lickona

Psychologist and educator, Thomas Lickona, offers practical advice that teachers and school districts can use to help students build strong personal character.

Better Than Carrots or Sticks: Restorative Practices for Positive Classroom Management

By Dominique Smith, Douglas Fisher, and Nancy Frey

In this popular book, the authors share good ideas that teachers can use to create a classroom community in which students and teachers can work together to overcome behavioral issues.

Discipline That Restores: Strategies to Create Respect, Cooperation, and Responsibility in the Classroom

By Ron Claassen and Roxanne Claassen

In this book, the authors offer teaching methods and strategies that will transform disciplinary moments from stressful situations into learning experiences that improve effectiveness and create positive change in your relationships with your students.


I don’t know about you, but I can’t resist a good story about an inspiring teacher! Whether it’s a book or a made for TV movie (looking at you, Ron Clark) – there’s just something about stories of teachers working hard and making a difference in the lives of their students that makes me want to be a better teacher! If you’re in need of a good book that will “get you in the feels” — here are some inspirational teacher stories you should check out:

The Freedom Writer’s Diary: How A Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing To Change The World Around Them

By The Freedom Writers

This books is a collection of essays written by the students of then new teacher, Erin Gruwell. These students were considered to be the “unteachable students” but, despite their obstacles, each of these students went on to graduate high school.

Because of a Teacher: Stories of the Past to Inspire the Future of Education

By George Couros

In this inspiring book, more than fifteen of today’s most impactful teachers share the stories of the teachers and administrators who made a positive impact in their own lives, ultimately inspiring them to pursue a career in education.


It’s a good idea for all teachers to occasionally read books pertaining specifically to their own subject matter. Just as the field of science is constantly evolving to keep up with new technologies and discoveries, so too is the field of science education. Here are a few great books for or returning teachers that can help take your science instruction to the next level!

An Educator’s Guide to STEAM

By Cassie Quigley and Danielle Herro

This book offers powerful strategies and specific examples that teachers can use when implementing STEAM education practices within their own classroom.

Picture-Perfect Science Lessons

By Emily Morgan

In this groundbreaking book, author Emily Morgan shares how engaging children’s picture books can be combined with standards based science content to create lessons that engage our students and guide them towards deeper science inquiry.

Secondary Science: Respiration is not Breathing

By Catrin Greene

This book is packed with advice for the middle and high school science teacher! It has everything from fun science game suggestions to tips for increasing mathematical skills needed within the science curriculum.


I don’t care how old your students are, or what subject you teach…read aloud time is something all students and teachers can enjoy! A good read aloud book can be a great way to start or end each class period. They could have a connection to your current content topic or read for the pure pleasure of the story. Either way, time spent each day (or week) reading aloud to your students is time well spent! Here are some great books that can be used as read aloud’s in the middle school science classroom:

The Radium Girls: Young Readers Edition

By Kate Moore

In this book, students will learn of the shocking true story about the twentieth century watch painters and the deadly scandal they found themselves wrapped up in.

The Walking Fish

By Kopel Burk and Rachelle Burk

This science mystery book focuses on a seventh grade protagonist on a hunt for an unusual fish. This book’s unique combination of humor and mystery will have your students begging for more!

The Reinvention of Edison Thomas

By Jacqueline Houtman

Eddy, a middle school student with Asperger’s Syndrome, uses his unique brain and problem-solving abilities to solve a problem at his school. This is a great book for teaching about disabilities and acceptance, as well as the engineering process.

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