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Monday, July 15, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate- The Third Circle

Hello again! We have reached part 2 of the book Teach Like a Pirate!
So far, we have discussed the acronym PIRATE.

Today we will start looking at the PIRATE Hooks to keep students engaged and focused on learning.

"A good teacher, like a good entertainer, first must hold his audience's attention. Then he can teach his lesson." - Hendrik John Clarke

Burgess makes this analogy in the book- it's like riding a bike with flat tires. You can keep pedaling and be going to right direction, but with flat tires you won't be going anywhere fast, and it's going to take you a lot more effort to get there.

The tires on your bike represent your teaching content and your technique and method.  Those are very important things! You can't teach without them, cause there would be nothing to teach without them!

"If you don't have the content element of your lesson in place, you are either just entertaining or babysitting." (Burgess p.76)

The hooks that Burgess goes on to describe in this section of the book can't be used unless you know your content. But just having the tires on your bike doesn't mean you're going anywhere. You need air in those tires! The air for the tires is called Presentation. That's the third circle.

Another analogy that Burgess uses is going to a BBQ. Think back to this past July 4th for all you who had a get-together. What food choices added to making it a great get-together?

Welcome to the Educational BBQ! Take a little of everything!

Main dish
Side dish

Burgess points out that it takes all of these food choices to make a successful BBQ. Teaching is just like a BBQ! You can't hand a student a raw slab of meat (the content) and expect them to swallow it whole! Let's go through necessities to hosting a successful Educational BBQ:

1. Meat- your content and standards. You can't make a lesson without knowing what you're covering!

2. Seasonings and marinade- your presentational strategies. Unseasoned meat is edible, but not tempting. Your students are counting on you to "marinate" your content so it goes down easier.

3. A working grill- Heat! Energy! Get things fired up, then let it simmer as needed!
"Just like meat has to be turned and basted, you have to continually add engaging twists, turns, and changes of pace throughout the lesson." (Burgess p. 78) 

4. Side dishes and desserts- the activities, games and projects that add flavor to the lesson. These are not time wasters! These things add to a student's experiences and help content comprehension. 

Once you have everything you need to host a successful Educational BBQ (aka- a lesson) make sure your transitions from one activity to another is flowing properly. Try not to have any stop-and-starts.

"Your key content- the most important information you are trying to teach- should be delivered at the moment of peak engagement." (Burgess p.81)

"To keep your students form mentally checking out, try to get all administrative activities out of the way before beginning your presentation. If students will need materials, have them get them out before you start." (Burgess p.81)

I admit to be horrible when it comes to that second quote. I'm convinced that if students have to materials before I give directions are start the lesson that they will be playing with them the whole time I'm talking. 
Let me say this- if they're playing, then you're not engaging enough. You should be so active and interesting that the students are focused on you, not the scissors and glue.

**Discussion Question- Imagine yourself going to the Educational BBQ and you're been asked to bring something to the table. Which item would you be able to bring with no problem? The meat, seasonings, the grill, or a side dish?**

To answer that one myself, I would have to say the grill. I am good about getting super excited about lessons, and I know I can turn up the heat on different topics.

I look forward to hearing from you!

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