From Unit Plan: Getting Down to Business

These are a few of my favorite books for getting students off to a good start, plus professional resources that I refer to often at the beginning of each school year.


Ten Skills You Really Need to Succeed in School by John Langan
A student workbook, but even better as a resource to high schoolers who may not have found success in school in previous years. The book offers encouragement, advice, and concrete methods with examples to improve school skills such as managing time, taking notes, and studying.
Classroom Tip: I have small groups of students use this book as a reference in developing tips to share with the class on success in high school.


Reader's Handbook by Jim Burke
A student guide for reading, this book is also a reference tool by giving student-friendly advice about making content reading successful.
Classroom Tip: I use selected sections of this book as a basis for mini-lessons, but it is also a great reference for students who may need additional instruction in various reading strategies or tips on successful content reading.


Bullying in Schools: What You Need to Know by Paul Langan
This small book is written to students and discusses both being bullied and being a bully. There are also discussion questions and thoughtful comments by other teens on the topic.
Classroom Tip: I read selections from this book aloud and use it to stimulate class discussion on bullying and how it can be stopped.


Crash by Jerry Spinelli
This classic is always a student favorite. I usually begin the book to give them a tempting taste, then watch students line up to check it out for independent reading.
Classroom Tip: Try giving a short book talk with a favorite YA novel, then reading a bit aloud to capture interest. I would suggest having multiple copies available or scheduling a trip to your library.


Classroom Strategies for Interactive Learning by Doug Buehl
This professional resource is aimed at teachers, but my high-school students reference it for tips on successful skills for content classes in high school.
Classroom Tip: I have groups of students look at this resource and share with the class tips on various school skills such as note taking, vocabulary, and textbook reading.


Qualitative Reading Inventory - 3 by Lauren Leslie and JoAnne Caldwell
This Reading Inventory has several narrative and informational selections at the middle- and high-school level for use in assessment of reading skills.
Classroom Tip: I use the QRI for additional reading level data to assess students if their Scholastic Reading Inventory assessment score does not match other school performance data. I can pull a student right outside my classroom door for the assessment while the other students continue to work independently.