50 Books for Rethinking School

We held our first ever professional learning pop-up course recently, titled Rethinking School. The course had over 200 participants from nearly 50 schools in 9 countries.

Our team mined the content created from all the participants in the course, including book recommendations. We asked educators to name a recent book they’ve read that impacted them as they (and their colleagues) rethink school.

One book was mentioned over a dozen times (Berger’s A More Beautiful Question). We also appreciated that some people listed books that weren’t necessarily education books per se (such as the biography of Alexander Hamilton or the children’s book What To Do with an Idea?) and still deeply resonated with  educators. Also of note: very few of these books are directly about technology, which doesn’t really surprise us here at GOA.

Technology is now an integral part of how young people see and interact with the world, maybe so much so that technology neither leads the conversation nor is viewed merely as a tool to be explored (at least, in this list) but rather is a vehicle for context, connection, and learning. So yes, what’s missing from this list are books about online or blended learning. Instead, this list features loads of books about learning science, teaching, learning, coaching, conversation, inquiry, design, equity, creativity, and more!

Get our your Kindle or Audible, head to your library or your favorite bookstore! Here are 50 books for Rethinking School.

50 Books for Rethinking School

  1. A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger
  2. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  3. Artificial Maturity: Helping Kids Meet the Challenge of Becoming Authentic Adults by Tim Elmore
  4. Assessment 3.0: Throw Out Your Gradebook and Inspire Learning by Mark Barnes
  5. Better Conversations by Jim Knight
  6. Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation by Tim Brown
  7. Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools by Ron Richheart
  8. Creative Schools: The Grassroots Movement That’s Transforming Education by Sir Ken Robinson
  9. Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students by Zaretta Hammond
  10. Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
  11. Discover Your True North, Becoming an Authentic Leader by Bill George
    Dive Into Inquiry: Amplify Learning and Empower Student Voice by Trevor Mac Kenzie
  12. Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
  13. Embedded Formative Assessment by Dylan Williams
  14. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
  15. An Ethic of Excellence by Ron Berger
  16. Future Wise: Educating Our Children for a Changing World by David Perkins
  17. Got Data? Now What: Creating and Leading Cultures of Inquiry by Laura Litman and Bruce Wellman
  18. Grading From the Inside Out: Bringing Accuracy to Student Assessment Through a Standards-Based Mindset (How to Give Students Full Credit for Their Knowledge) by Tom Shimmer
  19. High Impact Instruction: A Framework for Great Teaching by Jim Knight
  20. If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? by Raj Raghunathan
  21. In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney
  22. Intentional Talk: How to Structure and Lead Productive Mathematical Discussions by Elham Kazemi and Allison Hintz
  23. Leaders of Their Own Learning by Ron Berger
  24. Leading Change by John P. Kotter
  25. Learn Better by Ulrich Boser
  26. Literacy: Reading the Word and the World by Paulo Freire
  27. Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown
  28. Most Likely To Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith (and The Most Likely To Succeed movie)
  29. Moving the Rock: 7 Levers We Can Press to Transform Education by Grant Lichtman
  30. Myth of the Muse: Supporting Virtues that Inspire Creativity by Douglas Reeves
  31. Play Anything by Ian Bogost
  32. Redeeming Administration: 12 Spiritual Habits for Catholic Leaders in Parishes, Schools, Religious Communities, and Other Institutions by Ann M. Garrido
  33. Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers by Eric Gutstein and Bob Peterson
  34. Socializing Intelligence Through Academic Talk and Dialogue edited by Lauren Resnick et al
  35. Spark Learning: 3 Keys to Embracing the Power of Student Curiosity by Ramsey Musallam
  36. Start with Why by Simon Sinek
  37. Stratosphere by Michael Fullan
  38. Thanks for the Feedback, the Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen
  39. The End of Average by Todd Rose
  40. The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity by George Couros
  41. The New Art and Science of Teaching by Robert Marzano
  42. The World as 100 People by Aileen Lord
  43. Tinker Dabble Doodle Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind by Srini Pillay
  44. Unmistakable Impact: A Partnership Approach for Dramatically Improving Instruction by Jim Knight
  45. Upstanders: How to Engage Middle School Hearts and Minds with Inquiry by Harvey “Smokey” Daniels and Sara Ahmed
  46. What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom
  47. What if Everything You Knew about Education Was Wrong? by David Didau
  48. What the Best College Teachers Do
  49. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Tatum
  50. Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock

We’re interested in book reviews around here at GOA. If you would like to submit a book review as a blog on any of the books here, we’d love it. Submit to hello@globalonlineacademy.org with the title “book review” and we’ll get right back to you. We are especially interested in hearing how a book on this list impacted your classroom, your practice, your students, and your school. What else are you reading? Tweet us @GOALearning with the #RethinkingSchool hashtag and share other books or articles with us.

Stay tuned to GOA’s blog and our newsletter for the big announcement of our next pop-up course.

Global Online Academy (GOA) reimagines learning to empower students and teachers to thrive in a globally networked society. Professional learning opportunities are open to any educator. To sign up or to learn more, see our Professional Learning Opportunities for Educators or email hello@GlobalOnlineAcademy.org with the subject title “Professional Learning.” Follow us on Twitter @GOALearning. To stay up to date on GOA learning opportunities, sign up for our newsletter here.

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