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Monday, July 22, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate- What's in it for Me, All the World is a Stage

Welcome back! We are still working through Part 2 of Teach Like a Pirate!

In this post we are looking at What's in it for Me? and All the World is a Stage.

Some reminders-
1. For my CHES people, this book study is voluntary (and fun!). You are in no way required to read this book, but if you participate you may count this on your PD form for next year.

2. There will be discussion questions during the study. Your answers and comments will be the accountability piece of the PD. All you have to do is leave a comment at the end of the post with your addition to the discussion.

3. To quote my Momma, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Let's not get snarky. (That goes for me as well. I'll keep my sarcasm to a bare minimum. Lord, help me.)

4. Have fun! This book is all about how to become a better, more energetic, more joyful educator. Some parts may resonate more with you than others and that's OK. Take what pieces of information work for you and use them. The rest, you can toss overboard.


"A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil to learn is hammering on a cold iron" - Horace Mann

This chapter drives home a point that I think we can all agree upon: Humans are vain creatures. 
Think about why social media like Facebook and Twitter are so popular- so people can share EVERY SINGLE detail about their mundane lives with others in order to make themselves feel more important.

At least, that's why I use them. :)

It's with this in mind that Burgess shares these Hooks.

Student Hobby Hook: 3 total

  •  Do I even know the hobbies and outside interests of my students and, if not, how can I find out? 
Why do you expect your students to buy into your lesson if you haven't taken the time to buy into their lives? Find out about your students! Use what your learn to add spice and excitement to your lessons.

In my class, I started the year finding out about their Big Plans for the future. We read the book Big Plans, you can see the post {HERE}. 

 After we made our Big Plans poster, we found people to interview! You can check out the Big Plans label at the top of the blog to see all the people we got to talk to. The point is- in my class we talk about student hopes and dreams, then find people who can tell us how to make them happen. 

Real World Application Hook: 4 total

  • How can I show my students why learning this content is important in  the real world?
In my class, my students quickly become accustomed to hearing stories about my sisters and I growing up. 

We call it Story Time with Mrs.Delk.  Not every lesson gets a part in Story Time, but I do it for an important some important reasons: 1. My students need to know that I was once a student  (aka: young) and 2. My students can use Story Tome to make connections with my past, their present, and the lesson. 

This being said, it's hard for me to teach geometry.
I never touched geometry past high school until I started to teach to my students. So, in my whole life I have never found a use for geometry outside of a classroom. Unfortunately, I have no real world application for geometry to share with my students. It won't stop me from teaching it, but I do find it sad. 
So, please, if you have an application that will thrill my 3rd graders, please share it! 

Life- Changing Lesson Hook: 3 total

  • How can I use this lesson to deliver an inspirational message?
 How old would you feel if I told you that my students last year weren't even a twinkle in their parents' eyes when 9-11 happened? That makes me feel wicked old, ya'll. Does that mean I'm going to skip that day and not talk about it's significance? Oh no!
My students are living in a post 9-11 world and they need to know how we got here. We used this book:

 We also watched a 10th year anniversary video done by  Nick News, you can watch it {HERE}. It's a tough lesson to teach because I remember exactly where I was on September 11, 2001. (in college at Tennessee Tech Univ. I was about to walk to class.)

There are other "tough" lessons to teach, but that's all the more reason to teach then, and teach them well. They're called Life Changing lessons for a reason.

Student- Directed Hook: 3 total

  • Can I allow student interest to dictate our direction and learning while still covering what we need to address?
The real question should be, "Can you, as the teacher, get past your OCD tendencies to allow your classroom to deviate from your lesson plan?"
Burgess puts it this way: Which professional development would you prefer?
1. Everyone attends the same PD with a generic topic that may or may not pertain to what you teach, or
2. A PD where you are given choices of break out sessions and speakers so you can choose which best fits your needs.

If you chose #1, just slap yourself and move on to the next hook.

Of course you'd prefer the PD where you were given options! You don't want to waste your valuable time in a PD that is in no way going to improve you as an educator.
So why not give your students options and choices in the classroom? You know that material and you know how to steer the conversations in such a way as to guide their learning to where it needs to be. 

I have done this, on a minor scale, in my classroom. I will preview a topic the day before the formal lesson using a KWL chart. I want to see that students "Know" before I go into the lesson. After I ascertain their prior knowledge, I will use their questions from the "Wonder" section to guide my lesson the next day. After the lesson we fill out the "Learned" section. 
It's not hard, and my students feel important that they got to help in creating my lesson. :)

The Opportunistic Hook: 5 total

  • What aspect of pop culture can I tie into this lesson?
This goes really well with the Arts post from last week. Pop culture is all around us! Why not use it?

 When studying figurative language, we used this video to find similes and metaphors! My students ate it up!

"Associating your curriculum with current events not only increases engagement because it shows relevance, it also helps students become more globally aware and connected." (Burgess p.106) 

**Discussion Question:  How do you use geometry in everyday life? I'm seriously looking for a connection here.**

All the World is a Stage  

"I am the director, producer, stage manger, and lead actor for the 180 different performances that will take place in and around my room." (Burgess p.107)

  When I was younger I was constantly running different scenes from movies and books in my head. I got to play all the leads and change the dialogue as needed. I was FAMOUS! my own mind.

 In middle school I was an extra in the school play, I had one line. It was awesome.
In high school I played Lady Lucas in our school's production of Pride & Prejudice

I was also on the speech/ drama team and sang soprano in girl's choir. I loved performing so much I joined the drama team in college and the improv team with my church. (we performed for different youth groups in the area) 

So, when it came to deciding on a life-long career, it was a no-brainer! What other career provided a captive audience for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and 180 days out of the year?! Better that Broadway, baby! (which is really fortuitous since I am in no way a triple threat on stage) 

If you feel the same way, these hooks should be no trouble for you! Start working!

The Interior Design Hook: 10 total

  • How can I transform my room to create the ultimate atmosphere for this lesson?
Now, Burgess teaches in a high school setting, so I am going to re-word what he's trying to say to reach my elementary school colleagues: Lay off having themed rooms.

 I'm not trying to knock the cute owl/ bumble bee/ safari/ barnyard decor you've got rockin' the classroom so far, but really. How are you going to incorporate the theme into each lesson? Less is more, my friend. Less is more.

Burgess goes on to explain that in his room he doesn't have lots of clutter around. Boards and charts are easy to cover or take down, and put back up. You need  a room that is transformable. Moldable. Workable. Filling your class up with brightly colored stuff you bought cause it was just so darn cute isn't going to keep your students' attention. YOU need to do that with a room that allows for movement and easy presentation changes. (p.s. I really do like the owls. We should do lunch later so we can talk all about their cuteness. No hard feelings?) :)

 The Board Message Hook: 5 total

  • What can I write on my board or have projected on my screen that will immediately spark curiosity and interest as the students enter my room?
This is NOT a morning work message. For my elementary brethren, this is NOT having a "fix the letter/ sentence" daily message. I guess it could be on occasion, but not daily.

The purpose of the  board message is to reach out and grab student interest, not inform them of their starting busy work. It can be a statement, quote, picture... whatever. Make it relevant to your lesson and worthy of a conversation. 

For example, I used this as a creative writing prompt. Students were to pretend they were reporters for the local paper and they had to caption this picture. 

The Costume Prompt: 5 total

  • What can I wear as an outfit or costume for this lesson?
In elementary education this hook is a little easier. The younger the student, the more crazy they can handle.  Let me share just a few examples of how awesome adding a costume to a lesson can be.

Dr. Cox and Dr. Delk performing Contraction Surgery

 Mr. Russell as Crazy Wacky Scientist- studying types of matter and chemical and physical changes

Second grade team dressing as famous African American cowboys for one of their units

Mr. Ritchey (Mrs. Ritchey's husband) dressed up as Farmer Brown for my class during a lesson on persuasive and letter writing. 

"If you're concerned about looking foolish in front of your students, the best advice I can offer is get over it." (Burgess p.112)

Who cares if you look a little ridiculous? They're kids! They're going to be impressed with your bravery!
My mom once told me, "Maturity is being able to occasionally act immature without getting embarrassed." If that's the case, I'm the most mature person I know.

The Props Hook: 5 total
  •  What physical item can I bring in to add to my presentation?
OK, so you're not comfortable with costumes. Well, try a prop! In a previous hook we discussed using students as props. This time we're going to use items from somewhere else.

I'm going to share with you my FAVORITE. PROP. EVER.
My copy of the Constitution. I only pull it out once a year for a very important lesson on the Bill of Rights.

I let my students know that this document is much older than they are and has been in my family for years. (That's all true. I got it over spring break in college 12 years ago. I can't be blamed for where their imagination takes them.)
The document is so important that I'll only allow them to touch it with their pointer finger.

I've also used postcards from far off places, items from other countries, toys (when appropriate), milk jugs and bottles (studying sound). The sky is the limit, people! The next time you're on vacation, take pictures of everything and go to as many weird souvenir shops as possible. Or just visit the closest rest area on the interstate and pick up some maps and brochures. One can never have too many maps and brochures.

The Involved Audience Hook: 5 total

  • How can I consistently keep the audience feeling involved?
Improvisation. Have you ever been to an improv show? Audience members are brought on stage and they have to act out different scenes. You never know what's going to happen!

Now, obviously you can't your classroom like one giant improv, but your students don't have to know that.
During my Bill of Rights lesson I have my students act out different reasons we have our Bill of Rights. My students love becoming a "Red Coat" (that would be a British soldier). They turn into soldiers, farmers, newspaper reporters, and ole' King George himself. Good times. The students still in their seats are responsible for explaining different situations and carrying on good discussion on the issues.

The Mystery Bag Hook: 7 total
  • What can I put into the mystery box or bag that would tie to my lesson?
Working on inference? Try playing What's In My Teacher's Bag? I got this idea from the Inspired Apple blog.
In my class, my students inferred that I would have chocolate because I need it to survive and books because I love to read. They were right on both counts!

**Discussion Question: Which of your favorite lessons lends itself best to using either a costume or a prop? Are you already using one or the other, or both? Tell me how!**


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