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July 3, 2013

Part 2: Teach Like a Pirate - Rapport and Ask/Analyze

I'm back with the next part of the Teach Like a Pirate book.  It was an easy read - basically read it in a day and a half, very entertaining.  Did you miss my post yesterday about Passion and Immersion?

Today I'm going to share my thoughts about how I'm doing with Rapport and Ask/Analyze (the R and A of PIRATE) in my own classroom... This is basically my own accountability thing... 


This past year was a tough one.  I did every trick and strategy that I could think of with that group of kids... and then I turned to the blogs and my teacher friends for more tricks.  Nothing seemed to work for a couple of kids in my class.  I wasn't willing on letting them run the show - and that was basically the only thing that they wanted to do (and then had temper tantrums when they didn't get their way).  So I had to turn into military type teacher for part most of the time, and that just isn't me.  I'm the "mom" type of teacher.  You know the type - the kind of teacher that is huggable and lovable, but the chores still get done... I get called mom a lot actually... 

Anyway, going into this next year this chapter made me get my head on straight.  It was askew.  I really had started viewing my makeup as war paint by the end of the year.  I AM the teacher that eats lunch with the kids, that has conversations with kids during recess, the one that the kids walk like snails out the door after school.  I get hugs and love notes, and I write encouragement notes in return.  The kids trust me, love me, and I love them back.  I joke, I play, I kid, I laugh, I sing in class... things that were missing for a good portion of this past year.  

A long time ago, one of my students told me they knew I was in a good mood because I was always humming or singing in class - meaning instead of calling out directions or vocabulary words I would sing them.  I can make a song out of anything.  It's a gift.  

This next year is supposed to be a breath of fresh air - all the past teachers have said so, and I believe them.  Where I live we have some really bad air with all the pesticides and the farm "cow" smell.  I hope it's the air after the rain - really fresh!

Something I am going to imitate from the author is adding in his play dough lesson (from the book).  I am going to give kids time to create - and then I am going to spend time having the kids share about themselves.  I am also going to add a sign to my behavior board that says, "This is a no-meanness zone."  Love it!  

Ask and Analyze

I seem to always be asking myself questions and analyzing my teaching - if you have followed the blog for a while you probably have noticed I'm always tweaking something about my teaching.  I'm usually hard on myself if something goes wrong in the classroom - if I wasn't perky enough, or if something wasn't exactly perfect.  I'm the one when discussing an observation with my administrator that comes up with things to change for next time...  I'm still learning that teaching isn't perfect.  Learning needs trials and errors so that more growth can occur.  

Growing up I was that child in class that wanted to be perfect.  It was a huge crash when I fell off my own pedestal.  I remember being in 4th grade, I always got 100% or A's on my tests.  This one test came back and I saw an "A" at the top of the page.  I bragged about it to my neighbor (yeah, that wasn't okay to do), and the teacher came by to whisper that it wasn't an "A" but a "D".  An "A" on it's side... I was so embarrassed and I learned my lesson.

I love the thought process that the author mentions - how can you make a lesson better?  Instead of asking yes/no questions, by turning them into open ended questions the brain gets thinking... "Could this lesson be completed outside?" turns into "Where is the best place to complete this lesson?"

Then there is a section with understanding Failure vs. Feedback.  I'm going to be honest and tell you that I get so nervous when someone is giving feedback to me.  I am my own worst critic and it's hard for someone else to agree with me.  I would rather someone tell me how wonderful the lesson went.  I got so much out of the author telling me that if I haven't failed lately, I haven't been pushing far enough.  I don't want to just be safe, I want to be extreme...  In real life though that's hard for me, since I'm about as safe as they come.  I'm scared of needles, I'm scared of pain, I'm scared of heights, I'm scared of a lot of things...  I'm really scared of failure.

Yesterday I mentioned the Book Study going on - I didn't start on time with the cruise and all...  Here's the link to the information.

Hope you have a good day!  I'll be back in a while to share the 5 products I finished up recently.  :)  Yippidy doo dah!  I'm getting things accomplished!

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