THE AWKWARD QUESTION
WHERE DO I START?
FINDING A CREW
The last four mini-chapters help to conclude this amazing text. Each of these chapters covers how to get going and how to keep going. Dave Burgess ends by "Finding a Crew" through collaboration and "Finding Treasure" - his thank you for reading this book.
As I summarize the end of this journey, I have two final questions --->
HOW HAS THIS BOOK STUDY MADE YOU A BETTER TEACHER?
HOW WILL YOU SPREAD THE MESSAGE OF THIS BOOK TO OTHERS?
**DISCLAIMER: As you read through these hooks, keep in mind that this is not a free ticket to go against policy or to do something that would take away from the integrity or professionalism of an educator. Use your professional judgement!**
ALL THE WORLD IS A STAGE
"I am the director, producer, stage manager, and lead actor for the one hundred eighty different performances that will take place in and around my room. It is my stage, and I honor and value it as such." (Burgess, 107)INTERIOR DESIGN HOOK
THE BOARD MESSAGE HOOK
- How can I transform my room to create the ultimate atmosphere for this lesson?
- Can I change the lighting for mood?
- Can I block out all light and just use accent lights to emphasize certain things?
- Can I cover or decorate the walls, the ceiling, or the floor?
- Can I change the entrance?
- How can I rearrange the desks for this lesson to be most effective?
- Can I create more space by removing desks?
- Can I add partitions to break the room into areas or to create maze-like corridors?
- If a theme park were opening up a new attraction based on my lesson, what would it include?
THE COSTUME HOOK
- 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?
- What type of message will create a buzz and provoke students to point it out and begin to talk to each other about it before the bell even rings?
- What can I write that will be intriguing and mysterious and compel students to approach me and ask questions before we get started?
- Can I just put a QR code on the board or screen and see what happens?
- Can I have an intriguing image projected that will eventually tie into my content?
THE PROPS HOOK
- What can I wear as an outfit or costume for this lesson?
- Is there an existing character that I can impersonate?
- Can I create a character that is relevant to this lesson
- Can I invent a superhero or super villain for this subject?
- What accessory (something as small as a hat or glasses) can I wear to enhance my presentation?
THE INVOLVED AUDIENCE HOOK
- What physical item can I bring in to add to my presentation?
- What image can I show?
- Instead of just talking about a book, can I bring it?
- Instead of just mentioning a person, can I show a picture?
- What can I bring that students could actually hold in their hands and pass up and down the aisles?
THE MYSTERY BAG HOOK
- How can I consistently keep the audience feeling involved?
- Can I cue them to make certain motions or sounds at key points?
- Can I incorporate call and response into this lesson?
- Can I, unknown to their classmates, cue certain students to play a pre-arranged role?
- Can I bring students to the front of the room as volunteers?
- How can I gain engagement by openly hiding something from the class?
- Can I have a closed box or a package on the front stand? (Mr. Luca's "BOX OF MYSTERY")
- How can I build up the suspense of the unveiling?
- Can I cut a hole into a box so that students reach inside and feel the contents but not see?
- Can I give hints and open the floor for guesses?
- What can I put into the mystery box or bag that would tie to my lesson?
- After displaying the item, how can I get students to try to figure our the relationship between it and the lesson?
STAND AND DELIVER
THE STORYTELLING HOOK
THE SWIMMING WITH THE SHARKS HOOK
- What captivating story can I tell that would draw students into this lesson?
- Can I create a high-interest story to fit the lesson?
- What techniques of the master storytellers, such as dramatic build, can I use to enhance this presentation?
- How would speaking in character, using accents, changing intonations, and varying volume for effect (even whispering) have an impact on the class?
- How can I use facial expressions, dramatic pauses, and gestures to improve the power of my lecture?
THE TABOO HOOK (Be careful!)
- How can I enter the audience and break down the barrier between teacher and class?
- Can I participate in the activity?
- Can I storm up and down the rows and use the whole room as my platform?
- Can I enter the physical space of key areas in the room where attention is waning?
- Is there a different place, or multiple places, that I can present from for the sake of novelty?
THE MIME HOOK
- How can I use the fact that students are fascinated by that which is taboo and forbidden?
- How can I position my topic so that t seems like a little-known script?
- How can I take advantage of the fact that students (and adults!) are intrigued by things they aren't supposed to hear?
- Can I position my topic as if it is illicit, even though it isn't?
THE TEASER HOOK
- How canI use the mesmerizing power of silence to spark interest and engage?
- Can I use nothing but written messages to deliver my lesson or opening hook?
- Can I use mime techniques and gestures to get my point across?
- Can I incorporate charades and/pr Pictionary-type activities?
- Can students be asked to get their messages across without words, as well?
THE BACKWARDS HOOK
- How can I spark interest in this lesson by promoting it ahead of time?
- What can I do to create a positive expectancy in advance?
- What aspect of this lesson can I tease beforehand to provoke curiosity?
- If I were creating a movie trailer or preview for this lesson, what would it include?
- If I were planning a marketing promotion for this lesson what would I do and when would I begin?
- How can I gain an advantage or increase interest by presenting this material out of sequence/
- Can I tell them the end of the story and let them figure out and discover the beginning and the middle?
- Can I show them an end product that will make them want to learn the skills to get there?
THE MISSION IMPOSSIBLE HOOK
THE REALITY TV HOOK
- How can I design my lesson so that students are trying to unravel and solve a mystery?
- How can I incorporate clues that can only be decoded by learning or researching the relevant subject? (Think Da Vinci Code or National Treasure)
- Can they be provided a treasure map or sent on a scavenger hunt through your content?
- What fictitious character or role can they play?
- What crisis must they prevent?
- Can I change this from a standard assignment to a daring and impossible mission?
THE TECHNO WIZ
- How can I design my lesson to take advantage of the popularity of reality TV?
- Can I create a Survivor-style challenge and divide the class into tribes?
- Can this be configured as an Amazing Race partner lesson?
- How can I tap into the technological prowess of my students?
- Can I create a paperless lesson?
- How can technology help to connect my students to people from all over the world and help them gain a global perspective?
AROUND THE EDGES
THE CONTEST HOOK
THE MAGIC AND THE AMAZING HOOK
- How can I include a contest in this lesson to build excitement and motivation?
- What type of review game can I design to ramp up the entertainment level of my class?
- What kind of in-class challenge can I create that would take advantage of their competitive instinct?
- Can I be part of the challenge or contest?
THE CHEF HOOK (Don't forget our allergy students and nutrition policy!!!! In today's world, you may need to ask permission first...but this hook is certainly worth sharing.)
- What amazing principle can I demonstrate as part of this lesson?
- Is there a magical effect that could help to deliver this message?
- Can I teach my students an amazing skill that they will go home and show others?
THE MNEMONIC HOOK
- How can I enhance this lesson by adding food or drinks?
- What type of food would be perfect for this lesson?
- How can I use food or drinks to demonstrate a point?
THE EXTRA-CREDIT CHALLENGE HOOK
- Are there key bits of information I want my students to know cold?
- Is there a pattern to point out?
- Can the point of the lesson be tied to previous knowledge?
- Does a mnemonic exist for the material?
- Can I design my own mnemonic to help them remember this material?
- Can the students create their own mnemonic?
- How can I embed a mnemonic theme throughout my presentation to aid retention?
- What high-interest and motivating challenges can I create that relate to this unit?
- What intriguing mission can I send students on to allow them to extend their learning in a unique way?
- How can I provide my students the opportunity for an experience that will create life-long memories? (Not required, by strictly extra-credit)
**DISCUSSION QUESTION** - Choose ONE (or more, if you like) of the HOOKS from above. How have used this HOOK or how do you plan to use a HOOK in the future to engage your students?
This section signals the second half of the book study. This is the first of two posts for this week. (The Third Circle and A Crash Course in Presentational Hooks.) Scroll down for the second post!!!
THE THIRD CIRCLE
"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 the 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.
WELCOME TO THE BARBEQUE
Another analogy that Burgess uses is going to a BBQ. Think back to this past July 4th. Given all of the snow, this should be a welcome memory!!! Now think about the the get-together you had. What food choices added to making it a great get-together?
Welcome to the Educational BBQ! Take a little of everything! 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 the 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! (If you are a vegetarian, insert Tofurky here!)
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.
TRANSITIONS WILL KILL YOU
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. You may have everything beautifully planned and ready to go, yet there has been no thought as to how you will transition between activities.
I must say that I am very lucky because I learned about this critical element during student teaching. I learned from a true master teacher who thought about each and every moment of change to the point that it was reflected in her lesson plans. She noted it as T: countdown or T: think about next activ. These were her own thoughts about how to move children as to maximize every moment of instruction.
"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 from 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 the materials before I give directions to start the lesson that they will be playing with them the whole time I'm talking. However, as I stated in the beginning...some of this will resonate with you and some will not. Take what you like.
**Discussion Question #1 ** - Imagine yourself going to the Educational BBQ and you've 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?
CRASH COURSE IN HOOKS
"Much of your success as an educator had to do with your attitude towards teaching and towards kids. The rest of your success is based on your willingness to relentlessly search for what engages students in the classroom and then having the guts to do it." (Burgess p.84)
"...don't take it too seriously. Be willing to have fun with the process."(Burgess p.85)
The hooks that Burgess shares are really brain teasers for teachers when they are creating lessons. It goes back to the Ask & Analyze section of the book. If you don't ask the questions, you'll never come up with the answers. So - ask these questions!
"I LIKE TO MOVE IT, MOVE IT"
In this section, Dave explains much of what we already know. Adding movement helps to engage our brains by sending extra oxygen and blood flow. Brain breaks are super important and I love to see these in action! KINESTHETIC HOOKS
Read pages 89-91 to see how Burgess added movement to his "Henry's Freedom Box" lesson.PEOPLE PROP HOOK
- How can I incorporate movement into this lesson?
- Can we incorporate gestures and motions that students could do from their desks?
- Can I use a game that incorporates movement and action to enhance this lesson?
- Or, do I just need to do a brain break as a transition?
- Can I use my students as props, inanimate objects, or concepts?
- Can we create a human graph, chart, map, or equation?
- Can students be assigned a specific step in a process or an event?
- Can some students be props and others prop movers?
- How can I get my class outside of my four walls?
- Where would be the best places on campus to deliver this content?
- Is there an area of the school that serves as the perfect backdrop for this lesson?
- Can I plant key items outside for us to "discover"?
LONG LIVE THE ARTS
- How can I incorporate art into this lesson?
- What can my students draw or make that would help them understand the material?
- Can they make some kind of non-linguistic representation of the material?
- Can they design word pictures in which the way the word it written reveals its definition?
DANCE & DRAMA HOOK
- How can I use music to aid my presentation?
- What would be the perfect song or type of music to create the right mood and proper atmosphere?
- What songs have lyrics that relate to this lesson?
- If I don't know, can I ask my students to find examples of music that relate to this topic?
- How can I most effectively use music as they enter the room?
- Can students change the lyrics of a song to better reflect the content they are learning?
- Can students create raps/songs that demonstrate their understanding of the content or standard?
- Can I use music to transition?
CRAFT STORE HOOK
- Can I provide the opportunity for my students to do skits or appear in videos related to what we are learning?
- Can they learn and perform a relevant dance?
- Can they impersonate key people from history in a panel discussion or interview format?
- Can the reenact historical events?
- Can they write a script and create a video to play for the class?
- How can I incorporate a craft into this lesson?
- What can my students make that relates to this material?
- Could there be craft skills my students already possess that could enhance my curriculum and simultaneously allow them the chance to be an expert for a day?
- Can I provide some basic supplies such as craft sticks, pipe cleaners, and duct tape, give them an open-ended creative project, and turn them loose?
WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?
"A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil to learn is hammering on a cold iron." - Horace Mann
"It's human nature to ask (or at least think), What's in it for me? We all want to know how current events might have an impact on our lives." (Burgess, 103)
STUDENT HOBBY HOOK
REAL-WORLD APPLICATION HOOK
- How can I incorporate the hobbies and outside interests of my students into this material?
- Do I even know the this about my students?
- How can I harness the power of connecting my content to what students are already interested in?
- How can I show my students why learning this content is important in the real world?
- How will they possible apply this in their life?
- Can we increase motivation and engagement by offering reasons to learn that go beyond - because it's on the test?
- Can they create something real that will be more than a classroom project but actually allow them to interact with the world in an authentic way?
- How can I use this lesson to deliver an inspirational message?
- What type of life-changing lesson can be incorporated into the content?
- What type of essential questions can I ask that allow students the opportunity for personal reflection and growth?
- How can I provide opportunities for autonomy and choice in this unit/lesson?
- Can I allow students interest to dictate our direction and learning while still covering what we need to address?
- How can I release some of my control and provide students the chance to be the experts and directors of this subject?
- What current events are related to this lesson?
- Is there a hot topic in the news or on campus that I can use to capture student interest?
- What aspect of current pop culture can I tie into this material?
- In what ways can I incorporate currently popular trends, fads, TV shows, and movies in order to make this relevant and engaging for my class?
- Can I put intriguing images of current events on the walls with QR codes underneath that link to more information?
**DISCUSSION QUESTION** - Choose ONE (or more, if you like) of the HOOKS from above. How have used this HOOK or how do you plan to use a HOOK in the future to engage your students?
This chapter focused on making a change in your classroom set up and in your lessons. Burgess starts out stating that you don't want your lessons to be ordinary. You want your lessons to be remarkable."Remarkable means that you are so exceptional and different that people talk about you- in a good way." (Burgess p.56)
Focus on that last part... in a good way. You want others to be impressed with you, not looking into medicating you. :) The point is, you want your lessons to be memorable. Special. Worthy of attention and note.Burgess asks us these 2 questions:
There's no way that each and every lesson is going to fulfill both of those questions. However, we can make sure that every lesson is worthy of learning if we can focus on 2 things: Positioning and Reframing.Positioning: Putting your information in the front of your students' minds... and keeping it there! "Why should our students bother to learn what we are teaching?" "It's easy to see why so many teachers use what I call the 'medicine approach'. They say "I know this stuff is hard but if you don't learn this stuff you can't be successful at the next level." (Burgess, 61)
- If your students didn't have to be there, would you be teaching in an empty room? Ouch. I first thought about the topics that are just not as interesting as others. Or, the fact that not all students are going to LOVE every subject or unit. But, then I thought about presenting it in such a way that students want to hear it. Are we engaging enough that my students rush to get to their seats?
- Do you have any lessons you could sell tickets for? This one is a little easier. I think we all have one of those lessons. The lesson we wish administration would walk in while doing an un-announced observation.
"They are positioning their lesson like it is bitter medicine that must be swallowed in order to get better." (Burgess, 61)
"Position your content as if it's amazing!" "If you can't explain why someone should pay attention to what you're saying, maybe you shouldn't be saying it." (Burgess, 62)
We all want to know the purpose behind learning something new. "Why do I need to know this" was always a famous question or "Will I ever need this information again?" Providing the WHY - or the purpose - allows students to put meaning behind the topic. Dave provides examples of how companies use this tactic often to 'stand out' in the noise of society.
In your classroom make sure you have the information students need front-and-center, along with yourself! Bright colors, sounds (music maybe?), pictures... something to catch the eye! Make it pleasing and interesting. Make it stand out in the noise of life.Reframing: "Reframing involves providing a new context for the material that helps to break down the negative associations many students come to class with."(Burgess p.62)In other words, reframing is taking something that might not seem great, and turning it into something magic. Your students might think they hate math, but that's because they've never experienced math your way! My own children hated vitamins, until I found Gummy Vitamins! Everything is better as a gummy! Bath and shower times were also difficult time, until we reframed the experience as "spa time" for my daughter and "water races" for my son. Now, I can't get them out!Sometimes all a lesson needs a just a spoonful of sugar - Mary Poppins' style. Or, fairy dust. Or, Disney/Google in general. Whatever you use, make it worth your time and more importantly, their time!
If you're not enthusiastic about your lesson, how can you expect your students to be?
"If you apply nothing else form this book, but you consistently ramp up your enthusiasm level in the classroom, you will be far ahead of the game and a dramatically better teacher." (Burgess p.65)
Burgess goes on to say that he would rather hire an enthusiastic teacher than a brilliant but teaching who is just 'punching the clock'.
"An enthusiastic teacher can learn technique, method, and strategy, but it is almost impossible to light a fire inside the charred heart of a burned-out teacher." (Burgess p.66)
Ouch. That's a little harsh, huh? But think about it.
An enthusiastic teacher is like a happy puppy- eager to please and learn new tricks.
A burned-out teacher knows all the tricks and doesn't want to learn any more.
I'm not going to lie, there are times when I begin the day like the first illustration, but end the day looking like the second. Not a pretty picture, but you understand the sentiment. The only way to have an energetic and engaging classroom is to be an energetic and engaged teacher- and it's exhausting!
Then I have to go home to 2 of my own and they want snacks, and dinner, and homework help, and clean clothes so I start laundry, and baths, and bedtime stories, and just one more kiss and hug... you get the picture.
So, how can we be enthusiastic teachers/leaders day after day without becoming completely burned out?
- Fake it: You heard me. Someones you just don't feel it, and that's ok. That doesn't mean, however, that you're off the enthusiasm-hook. Your students still need you to be at your best. So, fake it. The plus side of faking it is that eventually you'll manage to fool yourself as well. It's like laughing. Your brain can't distinguish between a real or a fake laugh, so you do it until your brain is convinced it's real.
- Change your focus: "No, I'm just too tired to do the dishes. I'll just let them soak another night." I drag myself upstairs and barely make it to the bed before I flop face-down on the mattress. I'm almost in dreamland when suddenly I remember that today was the release of the newest book in a series I'm reading. I jump off the mattress, grab my Kindle and download the book. 4 hours later, the book is finished and I'm finally ready for bed.
Your day is going to have plenty of ups and downs. The important thing is being able to focus more on the ups. If you're able to focus on something that makes you happy, it will help you keep your energy when you're faced with something less pleasant. Find an enjoyable aspect of the lesson you're teaching and it will help you sail through any more difficult times. DISCUSSION QUESTION #1: How have you used either positioning or reframing in your teaching?
DISCUSSION QUESTION #2: What do you do to help keep your enthusiasm alive?
ASK & ANALYZE
"Many people believe only two kinds of people exist in the world- those who are creative and those who are not." (Burgess p.33)
This chapter was a long one, but for good reason. It's all about the creative process. The entire point of the chapter is to point out that it really is a process. Creativity isn't something that someone is necessarily born with or without. It also isn't something that comes in a flash of lightning or divine intervention.
"What is this creative process? To a large extent, it is the process of consistently asking the right questions."
"The types of questions we ask ourselves determine the types of answers that we receive."
Your brain is wired to answer questions directly. It's won't think out of the box unless you prompt it to. Unless you ask yourself how to get your classes out of the classroom, you'll never find yourself outside on a beautiful day incorporating nature into your lesson! Burgess goes on to say that creativity isn't luck or genetics, it's HARD WORK! Planning! Research!
"If people knew how hard I worked to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all."- Michelangelo
With the Olympics currently in progress, I have always enjoyed watching the many different events, especially the figure skating. Even though I cannot skate to save my life, while watching I think, "I could do that!" The skaters make everything look so effortless and easy. However, anyone with half a brain also realizes that their skill takes time, effort, and passion. It's the same with creativity!
You see a teacher with some amazing skills in the classroom and think he or she is just a born teacher. Not so! That's like saying someone is a natural born rocket scientist. You can't count out the years of practice, effort, and their personal and professional passion.
I don't want to re-write this whole chapter, so I'll just encourage you to read it for yourself, if you haven't already. Burgess emphasizes the importance of "The 6 Words" in this section. I never really though much about them, and have said/ thought them on occasion. I never realized how those 6 words can really be detrimental to one's psyche. Now that you're interested- go read it!
Instead of asking how you're going to keep your students awake today, your question should sound something like this:
"How can I make this lesson outrageously entertaining, engaging, and powerful so that my students will never forget it and will be desperate to come back for more?" (Burgess p.43)
And once you have some ideas- write them down! You can't implement what you don't remember! Make sure you have materials with you at all times to be able to document when ideas strike. Keep an index card and pen in your pocket. Use one of those fabulous apps on your smart phone. I keep a little notebook in my bag at all times. When an idea strikes, I draw a quick lightbulb with flashes next to it, so I can find it again! Additionally, I keep a running document called, Ideas. You just never know when ideas might strike!
Whatever you use to remember your ideas, keep it simple. You're writing them down for two reasons 1. To remember them and 2. to validate them. If you take the time to write them down, you are giving them worth.
"Capturing your thoughts validates their worth, an act that sends a subtle but powerful message to your subconscious that the effort spent on idea generation won't be squandered." (Burgess p.47)
You might have the best ideas in the world, but until you implement them, they're just words on a piece of paper. You were brilliant! Now be productive! If the idea is a new one, make sure you notice and document how the lesson goes. It might work are a few in your class, but could be tweaked easily for others. It could be a total hit! Or, it could be a total bomb. You'll never know if you don't try. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
"If you haven't failed in the classroom lately, you aren't pushing the envelope far enough. 'Safe' lessons are a recipe for mediocrity at best." (Burgess p.48)
Your students aren't going to be willing to go out on a limb during one of your classes unless you're willing to show a little backbone yourself. Just do it!
" There is no such thing as true failure- only feedback."
" Don't get so wrapped up in what you're doing that you fail to see the feedback that is being constantly provided by your audience."(Burgess p.48)
Last, but not least:
" Try to evaluate and learn from that feedback without taking it too personally." (Burgess p.48)
Learn from it, and MOVE ON! Preferably without mass amounts of tears or binge chocolate eating. If a lesson tanks, well that's just another lesson to add to your experiences. A bad lesson will not kill you. Robert F. Kennedy once said, "Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."
You can achieve greatly!
Your teaching career can handle you learning from a bad lesson. Your teaching career can't handle you giving up after one attempt, never to try to energize your class ever again.
Burgess ends this chapter by encouraging the reader to look outside "teacher help" books for lesson ideas. The next time you visit a museum, the zoo, the supermarket, think about what part of the experience would be lesson worthy. Take pictures and use them in class! Take video! Add extra dimensions to your lessons and your students will think you're the coolest teacher ever!
** Discussion question #1 - Where/ when do you get your best ideas?**
This chapter is near and dear to my heart. Building rapport is a critical element of great teaching and well...life! When you know that someone cares or is interested in you as a unique person, you are certainly more connected.
The beginning of this chapter hits the topic that can make or break educators from year to year. Classroom Management. I'd like to say that this is just a "newbie" teacher problem, but it is not. We all deal with issues and concerns regardless of how long we have been teaching. Consider this quote:
"We don't want to develop techniques to win behavior management battles, we want to develop techniques that allow us to avoid battles altogether."(Burgess p.19)
However, Burgess suggests that most (definitely not all) problems can be headed off at the pass, simply by doing one thing: Talking with your students.
" Misbehavior usually indicates boredom, overwhelm, or lack of connection to the material being covered." (Burgess p. 20)
"Spend less time trying to get students interested in what you are presenting and more time making connections between what you are presenting and what they are already interested in." (Burgess p.20)
Take time to talk with your students:
1. Before class
2. In the hallway
3. Between classes
4. At lunch
5. At recess
6. During dismissal
7. Any time you see a student!
"Building rapport is all about interacting with your students as fellow human beings, not just as subordinates." (Burgess p.21)
Burgess suggests that building good rapport with his student also encourages student buy-in to the class. Burgess works hard at building rapport with his students so he can then become "that teacher". You know who I mean. The one you like as a co-worker, but secretly think is a little insane? The one that gets the scores, though you don't know how since all they do is "play"?
"I actively encourage teachers to develop a classroom climate where students feel like doing the outrageous; where the out of the ordinary and sometimes silly are the norm."(Burgess p.21)
"Put a premium on making your class fun and entertaining from the start." (Burgess p.22)
Burgess uses this chapter to walk us through his first 3 days of school. This is a highly entertaining read, and if you haven't read this chapter yet, well, what are you waiting for? I was also reassured by so many practices that happen here in SB. (Again, some will work for you and some will not.)
"I will pull out all the stops to convince them (the students) it doesn't matter if they have failed before because my class is absolutely and completely different." ( Burgess p.31)
"I explain how the brain works and how a positive learning environment is critical for higher-order thinking to take place." ( Burgess p.31)
"I'm selling education... a life-altering product that can transform the human spirit and literally change the world one student at a time." (Burgess p.32)
DISCUSSION QUESTION #1: How can we create an environment in our classes that develops rapport?
"A lack of immersion in the present sends a clear message that this moment is somehow less important and not significant enough to be worth undivided attention." (Burgess p.14)
Have you ever had a bad day at work and gone home to your significant other, called a friend, or talked to a lovable pet, and you can tell that you do not have their full attention? You need to vent about your upcoming observation, the test your students bombed, or even the annoying administrator who sent a last minute email saying that report cards are due tomorrow, and no one will give you the attention you deserve?
If you understand this feeling and it gets you annoyed, then you understand the importance of immersion in daily life! If the scenario above hits home with you, then imagine you are in front of your class - texting someone really quick, taking a phone call that has nothing to do with school (unless it is an emergency, which are understandable), or talking to a fellow teacher when a student really needs your attention. Trust me when I say, your students know when they do not have your undivided attention.
Burgess gives the illustration in the book by using a lifeguard analogy. FOCUS vs. IMMERSION (p. 14-15)
When asked to focus on a pool, one may act like a lifeguard:
Now, the same person is asked to be immersed in the water. What would that look like?
- Be on the side of the water
- Watch the occupants of the pool/water hole
- Be mindful of what is going on around the pool and call warnings accordingly
Being a teacher means being more than just being focused on your students. An effective teacher is immersed in his/her students' learning; this is especially important when delivering the first lesson on a new concept.
- You're gonna get wet!!
- You are interacting with the swimmers
- You are close and available in case of danger or problems in the water
"I'm suggesting that when delivering first instruction, especially to struggling learners, you need to leave the comfort of the lounge chair or lifeguard tower and jump into the water with your students." (Burgess p.15)
"It's OK to surrender your structure in the pursuit of something far more valuable in the moment." (Burgess p. 18)
DISCUSSION QUESTION #1: What are 2 things you can do in your classroom to truly be immersed - or to switch from focus to immersion?
"Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things." - Denis Diderot
This is the passion that deals with the topic or area you LOVE to teach. Everyone has that one thing that is your absolute favorite. It may be a topic, a subject, or even just a particular lesson.
DISCUSSION QUESTION #1: Within your subject matter, what are you passionate about teaching?
"Here is the key: On all of those days when you don't have passion for your content, you must consciously make the decision to focus on your professional passion." (Burgess p.6)
"I can absolutely be inspired and fully engaged in my attempt to present the topic in an entertaining way. I can be passionate about providing an opportunity for my students to develop and exercise their creative talents and abilities." (Burgess p.8)
DISCUSSION QUESTION #2: What is it about being an educator that drives you? What ignites the fire in you?
"To keep your passion for teaching alive, find as many ways as possible to incorporate your
personal passion into your work." (Burgess p.9)
"Bringing your personal passion to the classroom empowers you to create a more powerful lesson because you are teaching from an area of strength." (Burgess p.9)
DISCUSSION QUESTION #3: Completely outside of your profession, what are you passionate about?
"Life's pretty good, and why wouldn't it be? I'm a pirate after all."
- Johnny Depp
Why a pirate?
"Pirates are daring, adventurous, and willing to set forth into uncharted territories with no guarantee of success. They reject the status quo and refuse to conform to any society that stifles their creativity and independence. ...Pirates don't much care about public perception; they proudly fly their flags in defiance." (Burgess p.xii)
The first section of the book reviews the essential components of becoming a true PIRATE!
P - Passion
I - Immersion
R - Rapport
A - Ask & Analyze
T - Transformation
E - Enthusiasm
Add a comment below introducing yourself and one reason why you decided to join this book study.