Must Read

Best Books for Lesson Planning

The books below live on my desk. I couldn’t survive without them, and despite years of experience, I still begin each unit by perusing the relevant chapters in these books first. To me, they are more precious than gold (although I might be willing to trade one of them for a brick)!


The Original Van de Walle

The first book I ever read about math teaching was: Elementary and Middle School Mathematics  by John Van de Walle and Sandra Folk.  It is still the first place I go when I have a new unit to plan. It is torn, bent, covered in coffee and even has some bite marks from my cat; which only shows that it has been at my side consistently for the past 10 years. I find it is still current although, I am starting to use it less often, in favour of the newer 3 volume set below. But it was my first love. Sigh.




The Van de Walle Math Series

The emergence of The Van de Walle Professional Mathematics Series: Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics  by Van de Walle and Lovin is a nice upgrade to my old text. Volume 1, 2 and 3  covers all grades from K-8. Every math teacher should have one by their side. The only thing I’m disappointed about, is that I don’t have the newest edition of each. As a result, the covers don’t match…I need patterns and symmetry people!!


Marilyn Burns: Teaching Math



Although I live and breathe Van de Walle, who doesn’t love Marilyn Burns, About Teaching Mathematics. I have finally upgraded my original copy printed in 1992 that was given to me by a colleague (thanks SVB!) and had a much younger Marilyn on the cover. Now I have the new 2015 edition! Woohoo!





Marian Small: Good Questions

Good Questions: Great Ways to Differentiate Mathematics Instruction by Marion Small is a great little book and my new favourite right now. Unlike the ones I just mentioned, this gem doesn’t concentrate on how to teach, but instead gives you the important points for each lesson: big ideas, teaching tips, open questions and parallel tasks…for every grade from pre-k to 8! In a time when math teachers should be concentrating on problem-solving and open-ended tasks, this book is brilliant!




 Great Books to improve your teaching



Mathematical Mindsets is Jo Boaler’s new book written for teachers. It’s what made me fall in love with Jo Boaler. It explains the power of the growth mindset, the value of making mistakes and the importance of productive struggle within a math classroom. It includes lots of teaching tips and lesson ideas. It changed my teaching and I guarantee it will change yours!




 Another great book for teachers and parents is Jo Boaler’s What’s math got to do with it?. This book addresses the current problems in math education and suggests how we can fix them.  I would strongly recommend it to parents that are doubters of the common core curriculum or parents that value a more old-school approach to math instruction. Really though, I would recommend it to everyone who has a vested interest in mathematics either because of the children they parent or the children they teach.


Have more suggestions? Leave a title in the comment section below!






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