Sunday, September 8, 2013

Teach Like a Yogi

My goal this year is to teach like a pirate...yes, just like the book by Dave Burgess. If you have not read the inspiring book, Teach Like a Pirate, please devour it like I did and you will be invigorated and ready to head to work with new ideas. This will be my 17th year of teaching so not all of the ideas were new to me, but they were presented in a way that made me re-open my teacher toolbox that was stuck waaaaaay back in the dark corners of my brain.

Mozart Hook
Each morning when my students enter the room I have music playing. This sets a relaxed mood and helps wake up their brains. I also use it as a management piece because their voices should not be louder than the music. My music player of choice is Pandora. I have it set on a channel titled Classical Music Medley Radio which plays current music in a classical style. There are no lyrics so you don't have to worry about censoring anything inappropriate. The children sometimes recognize a song and will hum along with it. The other day there was a Michael Jackson song and some of the boys told me that it was Michael Jackson's birthday. They thought it was cool that I was playing his music {it's always great to score cool points with boys}.
Kinesthetic Hook
I used yoga to introduce my students to stamina during Reading Workshop.

Students gathered in the meeting area and I shared with my Block 1 students that I have been taking a class at the gym to learn yoga. I explained to them that I was not very good at first but I won't give up. I told them that I am getting better at holding the tough poses each time I go to the class.
I shared with my Block 2 students that I am doing a program on the treadmill that is training me to run a 5K race. I told them that I am not very good at running, but I am not giving up even though it is really tough for me. Each time I get on treadmill I run a little bit longer and a little bit faster.

Next I had the students each find a colored floor tile to stand on in the room. They had to have both of their feet on the tile. Their hands were at their sides. Most of them were commenting how easy it was to stand like this.
Then I had them cross one of their legs over the other. Then they crossed their arms. I heard some mumbles that this felt weird and I saw some off-balance stumbles.
Finally, I challenged them to take a foot off the floor and raise it in the air. They put their arms out in front of them. Arms and legs were flailing around as students tried to balance themselves.

We returned to the carpet and I told them all how proud I was that they did not give up trying to balance their bodies on 1 foot. I told them that as they keep practicing this move they would be able to stand for longer amounts of time and become stronger. I then moved in to my mini lesson about stamina.
My teaching point was that successful readers need to develop stamina so they can read longer and stronger. We decided to use the pose of arms high in the air to mean longer and a leg stretched out behind to mean stronger. If someone asks my students what stamina means, they are supposed to raise their arms above their heads and stretch their leg out behind. Then they will explain that stamina means doing something longer and stronger without giving up. 
Fellow MIE teachers who are reading this, please ask my students what stamina means if you see them in hall...hopefully they will show you!

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