Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Giving Props to Pirate Teachers

My professional teaching goal this year is to teach like a pirate! Yes, I did get this idea from the book Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. After reading it I have a renewed vigor. I am a fun teacher, but the ideas he presented in the book have inspired me to use my creativity and energy to hook my students and keep them engaged.  Last school year I shared my ideas for teaching in a Balanced Literacy classroom. This year I will document my use of hooks from Burgess' book.

Today's Hook: Props
When my students walked in to class today this hat was sitting on a stool in the meeting area. I stood back and listened to the conversations the students were having about the hat. Some thought it was an early Halloween decoration. Some wondered if I was going to wear it. One boy thought I was going to read a Viola Swamp book. One student thought they were going to write a scare story. They were very interested in what purpose this hat was going to serve today!

I began Reading Workshop by asking students to touch their noses if they had watched a Harry Potter movie. About 75% indicated they had. When asked, a few students said they had read one of the books. So I gave my students a little background on Harry and explained why he was at this special wizard school. Then I told them I was going to read part of the book to them. I read  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 7 The Sorting Hat. I began at the part when Professor McGonagall explained that the children would be sorted into houses. I stopped when she said they should prepare themselves for the ceremony. I related the wizards being sorted into houses to the students in my class being sorted into reading partnerships.
The teaching point in my mini lesson for Reading Workshop today was that reading partnerships are important to our reading lives. I explained to students that reading partners will help each other fill out their reading logs, sign each other's reading logs, share and discuss books, ask each other questions, recommend books to each other, and help each other have fun reading. We talked about what it meant to be respectful, cooperative, kind, and responsible partners. We talked about the positive and negative outcomes of working well with a partner--just like the wizards in their houses.
I continued reading from Harry Potter Chapter Seven at the part when the sorting hat was revealed {some students pointed a the hat next to me}. In the book it was sitting on a four-legged stool {some students whispered that so was my hat}. I chanted the song that the sorting hat sang in the book and I ended when Professor McGonagall announced to the wizards that the sorting would begin.
I stuck my hand inside my sorting hat and pulled out pre-written slips of paper that listed the reading partnerships for our classroom. The students were completely focused and hanging on each slip I pulled from the hat! Using the sorting hat prop made this lesson so fun! The students were listening to every word I said and they could not wait to see which partner the hat gave them. I am looking forward to incorporating more props into my teaching.

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