1.Urban Village Schools: Putting Relationships at the Heart of Secondary Schools Organisation and Design, James Wetz.

This book provides case studies of successful schools and systems around the world and highlights particular elements that stand out in these schools. It has a strong focus on the growing achievement gap between students from high and low socioeconomic backgrounds and this equity focus uncovers some extraordinary schools doing fantastic things with students of all backgrounds. The book also emphasises relationships as the core of successful schools. Definitely worth a read!

2. Edupreneur: Unleashing Teacher Led Innovation in Schools, Aaron Tait & David Faulkner 

The co-founders of Education Changemakers put this little gem together to help teachers what needs to change at their school. I like this one as it provides practical tools, tips and stories that can be easily transferred into any school environment to better the school. It aims to help teachers make positive change at the school from the classroom up taking you through four stages of innovation. I particularly like the visual way the book helps teachers identify areas of change at the school. This book is super inspiring and will have you walking back into 2019 with a purpose!

3. Transforming Schools: Using Project Based Learning, Performance Assessment and Common Core Standards, Bob Lenz. 

Written by Bob Lenz (who I was lucky to have a meeting with recently and was given my own signed copy!), this book describes how project based learning (PBL) can create deeper learning. It provides ways in which PBL can align to core standards and assess performance in an intellectually challenging way. From the basics of what PBL is, to planning PBL, developing assessments and showcasing work, this book gives a great overview of how to create deeper learning in the classroom. There are also some great case studies in the book and some videos provided on the CD (although I couldn’t find anything to play them!). There is also a section at the back with useful templates. I think this is a really good book for those new to PBL and also one to use with your colleagues who aren’t quite sure about using PBL as it dispels many PBL ‘myths’.

4. Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, Tony Wagner.

The author in this book has a wealth of experience in innovation and shares profiles of young innovators uncovering the underlying factors that enabled these young people to be successful. He focuses on how creativity and imagination were built and how failure was embraced as a learning opportunity in their lives. The book profiles successful schools and workplaces and draws out how teachers and employers have created environments where imagination and innovation can flourish. Some of the schools (e.g High Tech High) are well known as innovative hubs, but there was a couple I hadn’t heard of which was useful. The book also points to a bunch of videos throughout as well which are on their website (I haven’t had a chance to watch all of them yet!). It definitely gives some great advice on how to develop creative environments and is bursting with examples. It’s good reference point to research further about innovative schools, workplaces and colleges more.

5.Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain, Daniel J. Siegel.

This is a nice reminder of all that stuff happening in teenagers brains at the same time as we are trying to teach them! The author is a neuropsychiatrist and he provides some nifty little visuals of the brain that make it easy to understand and would be useful for young people to gain understanding into their own mind as well. It is aimed at parents but I think its useful for anyone working with young people to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying reasons for their behaviour and ways to support them.

What are your favs? Feel free to share in the comments below.

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