The Essential Guide to High Quality Curriculum and Instruction: Handbook for Texas Teachers and Leaders

One of ED311’s perennially useful and highly praised texts, The Essential Guide to High Quality Curriculum and Instruction helps educators (including administrators!) access best practices for creating high-impact curriculum and lesson plans.  Dr. Crain has studied volumes of academic theory, research, and expertise, and he has “translate[d] and synthesize[d it] into practice—what you do every day with students.”  This book is designed for administrators as they coach and lead their staff, for experienced teachers who want to strengthen their craft, and new teachers who are building their tool kits and putting theory into practice for perhaps the first time.  In his own words, this handbook ‘s “goal is to support your noble quest to design rich, rigorous, meaningful, and joyous learning” for students. 

Dr. Crain describes his guide as an “everyday handbook for teachers and leaders.”  He deftly meshes educational jargon and language with informal, conversational writing that is simple to follow.  It’s easy to absorb the theory behind the practice, and he includes step-by-step instructions for designing high quality curriculum.  The book contains many examples, visual models, charts, and graphics that help distill the content for the reader.  This is not your typical academic tome with dense language, fat paragraphs, and a boring tone because Dr. Crain practices what he preaches!  The book is a joy to read.  (Crain’s Redneck Lesson Cycle is a hoot, and a very useful hoot at that.)  The guidance is applicable to all levels and all content areas, and it includes specific ideas and strategies for Math, ELA, Science, and Social Studies. 

At a time when education is struggling on many fronts due to staff shortages and high turnover, the ever-present need for more funding and resources, and the lingering effects of Covid, this guide is an invaluable tool for boosting both the quality of instruction in classrooms and the morale of the educators who struggle daily to do right by their students.  One of the few things that teachers have control of is how well they instruct their students.  The Essential Guide to High Quality Curriculum and Instruction can help teachers make a bigger impact for students during an increasingly difficult era for educators.

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