In the past two years of being a part of the MTBOS (on and off, let's be honest), I've heard so much about the book Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. It seemed to be like a fad two years ago, but I still read posts of other teachers discussing it last summer. I'm just now getting around to reading it. I'm half way though, but I wanted to share my thoughts and first impressions so far.
- Can he come present at my school's next PD day?
- The energy he conveys through the book is infectious.
- So much of what he says in the first part of the book is kind of obvious, but it's nice to hear about. (I just wish it didn't take so many pages to do so.)
- It's so frustrating hearing about all of the great examples of the things he gets to do because he teaches history. I'm not teaching history so I can't use these ideas. I always hate when someone is sharing an idea and trying to push it on all the other teachers (I'm not saying that Dave Burgess does this, it's just a common experience I've had throughout my teacher preparation.), and when you say to that person, "Yeah, that sounds great, but how could I do that in a math class?" they either have no answer or make up something that is so completely far-fetched. Just thinking about it now aggravates me.
- Now that I'm into the middle of the book it is just getting good. So the main point that I'm getting through the book is that you can do amazing things in your classroom (no matter what subject area you teach), you just need to find the right way to ask yourself questions to bring out those great ideas that engage your students.
- So here's what I'm thinking. I'm going to write down (or type up) all of the questions that he has suggested to pose while planning lessons. I'm going to keep it in my planning binder, and pull it out when I'm planning my lessons, and use the engagement tools where they fit appropriately. I think that this is the best way for me to apply what I've learned from this book.
- One idea I've had so far is to incorporate movement in my lesson by posing properties of special parallelograms and having students identify the shape I am describing by tossing a Koosh ball around the room. You definitely don't need a ball for this exercise, but it can be enough to get students interested. It's simple, and we'll see how effective it is. I may make up index cards and make it into one of those "I have, who has" activities. (Random side story: Last year we had a few minutes left of class and the class had a review idea. They wanted to quiz each other about the topic - which at that time was special parallelograms coincidentally - and they asked each other questions tossing around a Koosh ball. One kid left saying that it was the most fun class ever. I need to remember this for the future.)