4 Amazing Teaching Books That You Need To Read

4 Amazing Teaching Books That You Need To Read recommended by A Word On Third

These are books that I think you absolutely, positively HAVE. TO. READ. They have impacted my teaching career really positively, and I'm thinking they will help you too. The best thing is that you don't have to wait for your next break or long weekend (or... let's be real... SUMMER) to read them. They are quick, easy reads.

1. The Happy Teacher Habits

Ok, I'm not done with this one yet, but it's so great! In short, there are eleven "happy teacher" habits that will make your life easier. It's simple and practical. So far, my favorite chapters are the ones about envisioning and bridging. I have noticed both making my day better. This book also talks about the 80/20 rule, which I am a firm believer in. Get it by clicking on the picture below.

2. 80 Morning Meeting Ideas

This isn't a conventional read. You can flip through and pick and choose new Morning Meeting greetings, shares, activities, and message ideas when things feel stale. The book organizes all Morning Meeting ideas by skills covered and more. There's even ideas about how to introduce each new activity/greeting/etc.. I've only read the grades 3-6 version of this book, but there's a K-2 version too! I linked both below. Definitely the perfect companion book for the Morning Meeting junkie!


3. Closing Circles

This book is similar to the 80 Morning Meeting Ideas book because you can flip through for ideas as you need them. The little introduction at the beginning helped me to reshape the way my days end. We start with a meaningful Morning Meeting, why would we end in a chaotic or abrupt way? Now I end my days intentionally, as a whole class, and I think it's important. My closing circles are far from perfect, and if I'm honest, they are very quick at times, but they make a difference to my classroom community. 

4. The Writing Strategies Book

Another fabulous book you can skim or actually read through more thoroughly. This has great, practical ideas for conferring with struggling writers. She even has little anchor charts you can copy for your kids. I usually make them a little bigger on the copier, and BOOM! Strategy group all done! I know she has a reading book too, and I'm dying to snag it.

Have you read any of these? If so, what do you think? What are some other books you love? Comment below!

1 Sure Way To Get Your Students Engaged In Writing

1 Sure Way To Get Your Students Engaged In Writing: writing classroom news with A Word On Third

Even my most reluctant writers get excited when we write the class news report. Last April I came up with the idea to film a weekly class news segment.

It became so successful in my classroom, making such an impact on my writers, that I decided to run with the idea.

One of the best parts of the class news report is that it not only keeps my students excited about writing, but it also informs the students' families about what we do in class. Double win!

Here's how it works in my classroom from start to finish in under 40 minutes:

  1. Pick 5 students to write the news. Each student picks one subject area to cover in the news report. Students have about 25 minutes to write their pieces.
  2. Spend about 10 minutes reading over the news. Focus on making sure the news report has a smooth flow, full of transitions from news anchor to news anchor.
  3. Have students practice reading their news segment for fluency for another minute or two.
  4. Film the news, all in one take. I'm serious--one take! MAYBE TWO if you want to get fancy, but one is really all you need.
I edit the news segments in iMovie, but this year I'm hoping to have my students start editing too. You might edit yours, but you don't have to.

You can even add in some extra pizazz by having students interview others, write special interest reports, or create book commercials. How cute would it be to break from your news report for a message from "sponsors?" We've even started adding in special music breaks once in a while. I record my students during the last minute of music classes sometimes.

You can do this yourself too, with simple writing paper and any recording device. That's literally all you need. You really don't have to edit it if that intimidates you; after all, it's a class news report, not a real TV program! You can film during a writing period with a small group, or you might decide to film on Thursdays at lunch time like I do. Luckily for me, my schedule allows me to switch my lunch and prep around on the days I record the news. Just share your finished piece on Seesaw or email it as a google file to families.

If you want some resources to help you get started, I am selling my student-run classroom news resource on Teachers Pay Teachers for only $2.50. 

Click here or on the above picture to check it out! You'll get:
  • teacher tips for writing, filming, and editing the news,
  • a sample news introduction for your students to read at the beginning of each report,
  • prompts to develop on-screen communication between student news anchors,
  • a sample student script to assist students in writing their own,
  • a student script direction sheet and template,
  • a book commercial template,
  • a special interest news report template,
  • and an interview template.
If you try this out, please comment below and let me know what cool ideas you come up with for making your news report awesome!