UNC Faculty Publish Professional Development Books for Educators

University of Northern Colorado faculty have written two new books as part of a professional development series for teachers.

UNC Professor Emeritus Michael Opitz wrote the anchor and lead book in the series, which he also co-edited. Titled Engaging Minds in the Classroom: The Surprising Power of Joy, it's a a must-read for any educator who understands that developing students' love of learning is the catalyst for achievement at every level.

Associate Professor of Reading James Erekson's book, Engaging Minds in Social Studies Classrooms: The Surprising Power of Joy, explains how educators can integrate the joyful learning approach with social studies standards, including the Common Core; the National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies; and the College, Career, and Civic Life framework. In addition to exploring how to create a student-centered classroom, Erekson provides specific strategies that will enhance teaching. Read a sample chapter (PDF).

The books were published as part of a four-book series by ASCD, a global community of more than 140,000 members in education dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading.

Opitz is a specialist in classroom planning, teaching, and evaluating lessons on different aspects of literacy. He helped develop a reading series for reluctant young readers, geared especially for boys as research shows they struggle with reading more so than girls. He's the author and co-author of several books including Literacy Lessons to Help Kids Get Fit & Healthy, Don't Speed! Read! 12 Steps for Smart and Sensible Fluency Instruction and Listen Hear! 25 Ways to Enhance Listening Comprehension.

Erekson is a former elementary language arts teacher who collaborates with K-12 teachers on reading, writing and oral language. He has successfully used social studies content to help students develop into stronger readers and writers and has presented his work nationally and internationally. He recently worked with Denver Public Schools' elementary teachers on a three-year state-funded learning experience on social studies and literacy. Erekson is co-authored with Opitz on Reading Diagnosis and Improvement: Assessment and Instruction and Accessible Assessment: How 9 Sensible Techniques Can Power Data-Driven Instruction.