DEN Reads… and Shares!

A few weeks ago, we kicked off the DEN Reads Campaign. We are hoping that our DEN readers and leaders will share their favorite books as recommendations for others. Several of our readers have really stepped up, and we wanted to share a bit of what the DEN is reading this month! Check out these recommendations and add your own!


Why School? by Will Richardson

Rating: 5, DEN Finger Worthy

This very short book puts our educational dilemmas into perspective with the Common Core and other educational initiatives, and asks the very important question: Are we headed in the right direction to best serve our students?




Drive by Daniel Pink

Rating: 5, DEN Finger Worthy

It really helps in understanding some of the reasons why some students seem to lack motivation when in school.

Favorite Quote: “Motivation needs autonomy mastery and purpose.” Get this and you will transform how you teach!

What Stuck? Rewards and stick actually decrease motivation over time; so, basically, our school systems set students up to be unmotivated learners.



Science Formative Assessment by Page Keeley

Rating: I would give the book a 4.5. This is an awesome resource for any subject not just science. It gives you many examples of formative assessments and how they can be implemented in the classroom. These assessments are not only for elementary and middle school, but high school teachers can use them. Keeley does a great job introducing the strategies.

Favorite Quote: “Formative assessment classroom techniques (FACTs) are rooted in good teaching practice.”

Shifts: I really didn’t need to shift my thinking about formative assessments. What I did need was a bit of help and suggestions for implementation!

My Take Away: A variety of assessments I never knew existed, and now I have used some of them in class! It is an ongoing task to find the ones that work in the class for me.


Deeper Reading by Kelly Gallagher

Rating: 4, This is a great resource for any teacher who wants their students to read deeper and take understanding to a new level.

Shifts? I already knew this to a certain extent, but I didn’t realize HOW important it is to prepare students for what they are about to read. It’s not effective to just hand a student a book and tell them to read it. Background knowledge is crucial to gaining meaning from text.

My Take Away: I must immerse my students in all different kinds of text – novels, short stories, blogs, news articles, fiction, non-fiction, etc.


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  1. Kass Bates said:

    Love this idea! Can’t wait to share these titles with my administration and other LMS buddies. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Peg Hartwig said:

    I loved the book “Why School?” I really felt while reading that the trend toward preparing our kids for the 21st C workplace and college is coming to a head. We are on the verge of an educational shift and it will take all of the DEN power we have to help bring it out effectively and efficiently.

  3. Carolyn Rains said:

    OKay, you ‘ve motivated me to read “Drive”. I’ve looked at it before, but claimed I didn’t have the time. Now it’s moved to the top of my list!

  4. Kelly Hines said:

    The audio version of Drive is really good and available from many public libraries. I just re-“read” it this month!

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  6. Cynthia said:

    Kelly, this is an awesome idea! I am always looking for book recommendations, and I look forward to the monthly suggestions! I have read Why School & Drive, and I give them both a 5 (DEN Finger Worthy).

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  8. Janice Abernethy said:

    A book I really love that teaches you how to be positive, how to take responsibility for how you are feeling, and how to cut the energy vampires out of your life is called THE ENERGY BUS by Jon Gordon. I read it and loved it and I have even read it to my students. I saw an immediate impact on the energy level and positivity in my classroom.

  9. Paula Naugle said:

    Hi Kelly,

    I am so glad to have this resource to refer to during the summer when I will be able to catch up on some reading. I just received an email from PLP Network that contains a list of 20 books for summer reading I thought I’d share here –

  10. Robin Martin said:

    Some great suggestions here for my summer reading list! I read The Art of Explanation by Lee Lefever and got some good ideas to use in training classes. It is a quick read. When students try to create CC style videos, they have to write very differently. Try it sometime.

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