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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Teach Like a Pirate Book Study Part 4: Crafting Engaging Lessons

Welcome to part four of Teach Like a Pirate Book Study!  It is not to late to join in, so if you are looking for some inspiration for your teaching, grab a copy of the book and join our discussion!  Feel free to leave your discussion in the comments or if you have a blog and want to do a post about it, leave a link in the comments.

Here is the posting schedule

Part II: Crafting Engaging Lessons

This section is packed with ideas to make your lessons more inspiring, engaging and fun!  I have already read through this section twice and will be spending more time going through each subsection and thinking about how to apply it to my own teaching.  

The focus here is on presentation.  There are many ways to hook your students so their engagement level remains high.  Burgess recommends putting in as many engaging strategies as you reasonably can in a lesson and then scaling it back if necessary.  Also getting administrative tasks out of the way right at the beginning of class give you maximum opportunity to deliver your lesson without losing momentum.  Make sure your students are ready and have everything they need before you begin to lesson transitions. 

This section also contains a giant list of different ways to hook students into your lesson.  I highlighted MANY of these ideas as I was reading but want to share with you a few of the things I plan on implementing as soon as possible.  Your list will certainly look different from mine with so many strategies to choose from.  
"Can we turn the room into a giant opinion meter and have students move to one side or the other based on the statement?"
     I love the idea of getting kids up and moving around and this seems like a great way to do it!  I can see myself labeling the left of the room always the middle sometimes and the right side of the room never.  Then I can make statements like "A square is a rectangle" or "an integer is an irrational number"  and see who moves where.  

"What would be the perfect song or type of music to create the right mood and proper atmosphere?"
     I love music but feel like I don't use it enough in the classroom.  I want to think about adding more music to my lessons during transitions or as a mood setter.  

"Can I provide the opportunity for my students to do skits or appear in videos related to what we are learning?"
     I did some of this last year using iMovie and my students loved it! When we were learning about 3-D shapes we took the iPad with us on a 3-D shape hunt and made a movie trailer out of what we found.  When my second graders were working on measurement we made a video of good measuring techniques and some things to avoid.  Working with my challenge fifth and sixth graders we made how to videos for common math procedures.  Kids were super engaged in this and learned the material well.  I would like to expand on this.  

"How can I show my students why learning this content is important in the real world?"
     Math is all around us and I love connecting what they are learning in school to something happening in their community.  Right now I am working on taking pictures of real life building and other places where arrays are displayed for when I teach my introduction to multiplication facts lessons.  

"Can I invent a superhero or a super villain for this subject?"
    Love this idea!  I do a lot of co-teaching and I think it would be so fun to create a super hero and super villain that both come to one of these lessons.  It could be a classic tale of good versus evil.  

"Can I, unknown to their classmates, cue certain students to play a prearranged role?"
    I have played around with this one a bit and always had great success.  It can be so much fun to let a student or two in on your lesson ahead of time and certainly makes for a memorable experience.  I find I get the most bang for my buck when I include students who are my most challenging to keep engaged.  

"How would speaking in character, using accents, changing intonations, and varying volume for effect (even whispering) have an impact on the class?
     I haven't done this, but I am excited to try it!

"How can I take advantage of the fact that students are intrigued by things they aren't supposed to hear?"
     I have played with this one a bit with younger kids, particularly first graders.  They are instantly more engaged when I whisper a bit and make sure the doors to the classroom are closed because I am telling them something that I am not supposed to tell them until second grade.  

What do you do to hook your students into your lessons?  

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