Classroom Management

5 Books Every Art Teacher Needs to Read

We all embark on our teaching journeys eager to teach. Most of the time, we have a few basic classroom management strategies to get us started. Throughout my coursework and student teaching, I developed a toolbox of strategies I would be able to use in my own classroom. Those tools and strategies were helpful, but after the honeymoon period passed my first year, I was struggling. Struggling is a HUGE understatement.

I was exhausted, mentally, physically, and emotionally.

I needed better ways to communicate my expectations and get my students’ attention. I needed to minimize transitions, improve my efficiency, and have routines run smoothly.

I sought direction from my colleagues and fellow art teachers. They suggested a course provided by our district: Teaching with Love and Logic. This class was the catalyst that dramatically transformed my teaching. The book and course provided me with tools I could immediately implement.

I was hooked. I needed and craved more effective and substantial classroom management books, strategies, and tools.

This led me to AOE’s own Managing the Art Room course, where I was introduced to my classroom management hero, Michael Linsin. Attending an EdCamp led me to Dave Burgess and his book, Teach Like a Pirate. My own elementary school adopted the Top 20 approach to teaching…and quite frankly, life.

Drawing from these experiences, I’ve listed the five books that have most impacted my teaching and why YOU should read them too! Of course, the short descriptions barely scratch the surface af all the spectacular strategies you’ll find in each!

5 Books

1. Dream Class – Michael Linsin

Learn to set boundaries and stick to them like glue. According to Linsin, when students know exactly where the boundary lines are they “have the freedom to develop and excel.”

2. Classroom Management for Art, Music, and PE Teachers – Michael Linsin

Learn to be self-aware and purposeful in your classroom management practices. Read implementation strategies designed for immediate application for everyday routines and improving your teaching environment. Gain thoughtful tidbits like “your temperament and composure matter.”

3. Teaching With Love and Logic – Jim Fay and David Funk

Effectively use One-Liners to diffuse any argument, and cultivate autonomous and responsible students by turning your words into gold.

4. Top 20 Teachers – Paul Bernabei, Tom Cody, Willow Sweeney, and Mary Cole

Discover how to live “above the line” and improve your relationships with students, parents, staff, and your administration. The Top 20 philosophy transformed my thinking and my school’s entire climate.

5. Teach Like A Pirate – Dave Burgess

Find out what it means to be a Purple Cow and make your class a highlight of your students’ day! Pick and choose from an extensive list of hooks and approaches for engaging lessons and learn why it’s important to get your hands dirty. A must read for any art teacher!

There is so much valuable information in each of these books. Like I stated above, these engaging reasons were my biggest insights. I re-read and reference these books often. Every time I open each book, I find more relevant information, tools, and strategies.

Have you read any of the above? How did they impact your teaching? 

What other books would you add to the list?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Alecia Eggers Kaczmarek

Alecia Eggers Kaczmarek, an elementary school art educator, is a former AOEU Writer. She is passionate about teaching and reaching students through an innovative and meaningful arts education.

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