Brianne Gidcumb | August 2016

19 Books for Teachers Going Back to School

This year, I introduced you to my effort to hold myself accountable to my new school year resolution: to increase my reading on topics of personal and professional growth. Over the course of this year, I’ve shared my reads and recommendations in the hopes that you find something that will be beneficial to your own personal and professional growth, and today, I share with you my sixth installment!

Today’s installment is short and sweet, but I’ve also included links to past recommendations from this series – find something that sparks your interest and joy and gives it a go! Here are the 19 books for teachers that they can use when going back to school. 

Finding The Right Books for Teachers

Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student (John Spencer & A.J. Juliani)

I LOVE this book! The launch is full of practical strategies for using design thinking in the classroom to engage, inspire, and empower students. It addresses the concerns and fears of teachers wishing to venture into the creativity of design thinking and maker spaces in a system that is still very much focused on data, success, and high-stakes testing.

Spencer and Juliani outline several different creative “identities” or approaches that each teacher might find themselves in to begin forging their path into creative education, and then provides a very clear step-by-step guide to how to begin the journey, starting with questions to ask students, to different ways to go about the research or brainstorming process, to the creative process (my favorite is the “March Madness”-style bracket of interests!), to the feedback process.

This book is an incredible resource for any educator, in any content or grade level, looking to step outside of the cookie cutter model of education of yesterday and into today’s model of innovation, creativity, and design!

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (Daniel Pink)

Motivation is key to any educational organization- not only in our classrooms as we strive to motivate our students to excellence, but within the school organization itself, keeping morale high and people motivated within a school community.

Daniel Pink asserts that the key to performance and motivation in any capacity, at work, at school, at home, is the need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world. Rather than the forms of external motivation we so often rely on, Pink taps into the elements of true, intrinsic motivation, and offers techniques for putting these into action. A great read for any educator looking for motivation and inspiration within their own lives as well as how to cultivate a community of motivated learners.

Check out past recommendations of books for teachers from this series!

  1. Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person (Shonda Rhimes)
  2. Steal Like an Artist (Austin Kleon)
  3. The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion (Elle Luna)
  4. The Creativity Challenge: Design, Experiment, Test, Innovate, Build, Create, Inspire, and Unleash Your Genius (Tanner Christensen)
  5. The Power of Now (Eckhart Tolle)
  6. Unleash Your Inner Creativity (Seth Cohen)
  7. The Art of Work (Jeff Goins)
  8. Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind (Scott Barry Kaufman & Carolyn Gregoire)
  9. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Marie Kondo)
  10. The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity (George Kouros)
  11. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (Elizabeth Gilbert)
  12. Think Like An Artist (and Lead a More Creative, Productive Life) (Will Gompertz)
  13. Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All (Tom & David Kelley)
  14. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who Are (Brené Brown)
  15. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World (Adam Grant)
  16. Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges (Amy Cuddy)
  17. Hamilton: The Revolution (Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jeremy Carter)

About the Author

Brianne is a former music educator from Chicago and current graduate class instructor with EdCloset’s Learning Studios. She earned her Masters degree in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music and has over a decade of experience in the elementary general music classroom. With her experience in the performing arts, Brianne is dedicated to building connections between the arts and Common Core Standards, 21st century learning skills, inquiry and project-based learning. In addition to her work with EducationCloset, Brianne is a yoga instructor in the Chicagoland area. You can also find Brianne here: