Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Are You a Pirate?

Ahhhhh, learning, how I love thee. I got to spend the last 2 days at a big conference our district puts on each year. I love to learn new things, so even though I had already gotten more than my required inservice hours for this year, I decided to go. Boy, am I glad I did. Yesterday wasn't too exciting. I learned some cool,new Math games, got to see Rick Morris again (mostly the same topic I heard last week) but nothing that blew me away. I do love some Rick Morris though! Today was the blow me away day! I had read a little about "Teach Like a Pirate" on some other blogs I follow, but didn't know much about it other that that it was a great new teaching book. Then I happened to see the book at the exhibit yesterday, and the cover alone intrigued me, but again just sort of passed by. 

Then today, I went to my first class. It was by a presenter that didn't really excite me yesterday. I sat down, sort of dreading the class. Then I started freezing. WHY do they keep these things like ice boxes??? So to take my mind off of the coldness, I started glancing at the schedule for the day to see what else was going on. My eye immediately fell on "Teach Like a Pirate" with Dave Burgess. In my mind I said, "Ahhhh, I wish I could go to that". Then I looked at my watch and realized I still had 15minutes before the first session started! I gathered my stuff, felt bad for a split second that I was leaving, and then walked out of that class and found my way to Dave. Boy, did I find my way. I might be a little bit in love. ;) I already told my husband that, so it's ok. 

Before the class even started, I was intrigued. He was dressed in a pirate outfit. Of course, who wouldn't be dressed like a pirate at a teaching conference?! He was playing cool music. There were silly things written on the board, fun props on the table, etc. Then I got passed a note passed to me from him. That sort of dampened my spirit a bit. He picked the wrong girl for that job! Haha! I'm not going to tell you what my "job" was, just in case you get to sit in on one of his sessions, which you MUST do if you ever get the chance, but it was definitely not me and not in my comfort zone. Oh well, I lived. It was worth it to be in there. 

Anyway, student engagement was the main focus. It was all about making learning fun and active. Ummm, right up my alley! I wanted to get right up there with him and shout from the rooftops that he was exactly right! If only everyone could see that! Learning CAN and SHOULD be fun and interactive! The class was constantly laughing, everyone was involved, it was magic! Again, exactly what the class was about! Pirates are unconventional, and that's what we can be in the classroom. Do crazy things,be crazy  things.Getcreative! People always tell meI'm creative, but no, I just take several different ideas and meld them into one to create the best ideas.  That's exactly what he was saying. Creativity is not something you are just born with or some bolt of lightning that its you from the sky. It is work! It's not really magic.It just looks like it!

Anyway, it was so awesome. I loved every minute of it. Get the book. Go see him! At lunch, I told my tablemates all about it. I decided to change my schedule and go to all the rest of his sessions for the rest of the day! That's how amazing he was! Well, I convinced some others to come with me. We went in, got a seat, and guess what?! The room was overflowing. In fact, it was so overflowing they had to come in and tell us to leave if we weren't signed up for his class! MAJOR disappointment! News had traveled fast and everyone wanted to get in on his sessions! 

So I went to my regularly scheduled class. Um, can I say bummer! This guy was pretty much the exact opposite of Dave! In fact, his big thing was that you had to cause anxiety in students to get them to achieve. Um, no. He needs to go sit in on "Teach Like a Pirate" that's for sure! Anxiety does not belong in my classroom, but fun and engagement sure do! I pretty much tuned out at that point. Hmmm, which way might be the better teaching style? ;/ 

Thankfully, after that class, I was signed up for Dave again and didn't even know it! Woohoo! This one was about teaching outside the box. It wasn't quite as good as the first one, but it was only and hour and 15 minutes long, so not enough time and too much info to fit in,but it was still great! 

So if you didn't get my message, let me just tell yon again that Dave Burgess is awesome andI definitely teach like a pirate. I hope you do too! Don't be scared! Anyone can do it! Go grab the book and change your classroom into an environment that kids want to be in. He asked us to write down 5words that  you would want your students to say about your class at the end of the year. What do you want your 5 words to be?

Be fun and fabulous!

~Mrs. Sweeney

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