Sunday, June 16, 2013

Building Rapport Pirate Style

Do you feel like a pirate yet?  In case you missed it, make sure to read about the first two steps in to being a pirate:  PASSION and IMMERSION.  Then come back here to read all about RAPPORT.

"Kids can tell the different between teachers who only seem to care about them when they are sitting in the classroom, and those who see past the 'student' to the unique person who resides inside."

One of my favorite things about Dave's book is that he just doesn't tell you what teaching like a pirate means, he shows what it looks like in his class.  He spends a majority of the chapter walking you through his first three days of class because "nothing is more important to me than creating the proper atmosphere right from the start.  No content standard matters to me until I have established the safe, supportive, and positive classroom environment I need to successfully teach my students."

This chapter really made me think about what I do to show my students that care about them as individuals.  As an instructional coach, one of the points I stress every year is to build rapport with your students.  This chapter had me thinking, "Am I modeling this with the students I teach?"

This year I worked with the third grade students extensively.  I began the year with a few activities that helped me learn more about my students.  Two of my favorites involved fake iPads and skittles.  I wanted to know what my students liked to do, what their personalities were like, and how they worked in groups.

thinking out loud, beginning of the year ipad activity

Each student was given this iPad image with nine blank squares (each square representing an app).  I modeled creating my own iPad apps that showcased some of the things I liked to do, my favorite television shows, and books I liked to read.  Then each student created their own.  After everyone was finished, I had a few volunteers share one or two of their apps.  As they were working, I walked around and had a quiet conversation with each person having them describe at least on the apps they were creating.  I found this great activity in Leanne Baur's Big 3-6 Back to School Activity pack.

The skittles activity came from Fourth and Ten's Back to School FUN activities.  Each student was given a fun size packet of skittles and then I put them into groups.  Each group received the Skittles Sharing pages.  Students had to choose three skittles randomly from the bag and then share based on the matching topic.  I modeled this for students before they did it, so they could learn a bit about myself as well.  As students were sharing with each other, I walked around listening to the conversations taking notes so I would have leads later for the content I would teach.  I sat with each group to listen and join in the conversation.

We did other activities that first week of school.  However, my students said these were their two favorite and they really helped set up the tone for the class for the rest of the year.

Now it is your turn.  What do you do to establish a safe, supportive, and positive classroom environment during the first week of school?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.  If you have a blog, don't forget to link up at Third Grade Tidbits or Rowdy in First Grade.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pirates are Passionate

The book study has begun!  YAY!!!  I am joining with Rowdy in First Grade and Third Grade Tidbits (the two organizers of our book study) in reading Dave Burgess's Teach like a Pirate.

Teach Like a PIrate book study

Chapter 1 is being hosted by Guided Math today.  Head over to her blog to check out what she has to say about passion.

Guided Math

Chapter one is about passion (the P in pirate) and not just having a passion for teaching.  He talks about how content, professional, and personal passion interweave into your teaching.

One of the parts that really stuck with me was when he talks about what many teachers don't want to admit out loud:  "Here is the secret:  We are not passionate about everything we teach.  It's OK!  Let the freedom wash over you.  Now that the secret's out in the open, let's talk about it."  And you know what, it is okay.  I first began teaching as a social studies teacher and there were definitely topics that I really found boring and had no passion to teach, like geography.  Yuck!  I loved teaching the American Revolution, World War I and II, ancient Egypt, and medieval times.  However, geography was a tough to be excited about for me.  Latitude and longitude - not a lot to be excited about there.

I wish I had this book when I first began teaching!  The rest of the chapter is devoted to showing you how to bring another passion (like a personal passion) into the mix to make that topic you are not excited about more alive.  I love to read and read and read more.  When I retire (which is a looonnnggg way off), I want to volunteer at my local library.  How could I have used that passion to make the geography lessons better?  By reading aloud picture books and portions of chapter books!  Seems like such a simple thing now but didn't occur to me then.  All I knew how to do was survive one day to the next by teaching out of the book.

If you have your own blog, then tell us what you think about chapter one and link to Rowdy in First Grade or Third Grade Tidbits.  Leave a comment below and I will check out your post! 

I can't wait to hear what you are passionate about and how it influences your teaching.  How do you bring your personal passions into play in your lessons?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Teaching like Pirates and the Book Whisperer

I am participating in two book studies this summer and am really excited about each one.  One of my favorite things about the summer, besides eating watermelon and sleeping in, is being able to read, read, read.

Last summer, I participated in a book study on the Daily 5 and CAFE books on Lorraine's book study blog:  We Read, We Teach, We Blog.  This summer we are doing The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller.  The book study will take completely on We Read, We Teach, We Blog.  Each chapter will have a different blogger who will write a post to get the discussion started.  Everyone else will participate by commenting.  Last summer, the discussions that happened in the comment section were fantastic!!

Head on over to the blog and make sure you are follower, so you don't miss any of the posts.  The book study begins on June 14 with an introduction post by Lorraine.  Then chapter one will be posted on June 18th.

We Read, We Blog, We Teach

The second book study for me this summer is Teach Like a Pirate.  Gina and Jennifer have put together a fantastic book study on Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess.  Each week, starting on June 11, a different blogger will host one (or two) chapters of the book (with Gina and Jennifer posting a blurb about each chapter) on their own blogs.  I am so excited to be hosting Chapter 3 (June 16):  Rapport.  I am almost finished with the book and have started drafting my blog post for chapter 3.

Make sure to get your copy and step into the conversation.  Each week, there will be a linky, which will allow bloggers to write a post and link up to join the conversation.  Don't have a blog, NO PROBLEM.  The hosting blogger will be guiding the discussion through comments.  Comment away and reply to each others' comments.

Here is the line up for Pirate book study:

Organizers:  Gina from Third Grade Tidbits and Jennifer from Rowdy in First Grade.

Chapter 1 (June 11):  Guided Math
Guided Math

Chapter 2 (June 13):  The Hands On Teacher in First

Chapter 3 (June 16):  ME!
Thinking Out Loud

Chapter 4 (June 18):  Purely Paperless
Purely Paperless

Chapter 5 (June 20):  Growing Firsties
Growing Firsties

Chapter 6 (June 23):  Exploring Elementary

Chapter 7 (June 25):  Joy in Sixth
joyin6th Homepage

Chapters 8 and 9 (June 27):  Sticky Notes and Glitter

Chapters 10 and 11 (July 2):  1st Grade Fantabulous

Chapter 12 (July 4):  Mrs. Russell's Room

Chapter 13 (July 7):  Runde's Room co-hosting with Curls and a Smile

Curls and a Smile

Chapter 14 (July 9):  DillyDabbles

Chapter 15 (July 11):  My Life as a Third Grade Teacher
My Life as a 3rd Grade Teacher

Chapter 16 (July 14):  Peace, Love, and First Grade
Peace, Love, & First Grade

Chapter 17 (July 16):  Kinder Kapers

Chapters 18 and 19 (July 18):  For the Love of Teaching Math co-hosting with Teach-A-Roo
For the Love of Teaching Math

There are some other book studies going on this summer also.  Check out this linky to see what else is out there.


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