Thursday, August 28, 2014

Today's Golden Nugget From Teach Like a Pirate- Ask and Analyze

Well, teachers, you know how it is the first week of school - sore feet, tired back from standing, dry throat from going over all the expectations and procedures, but excited about the new school year. As my "bone tired" body crawled into bed last night, I instantly grabbed the book by my bed that I've been yearning to dive back into - Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess.

Throughout the first week of school, I've been "welcoming my students to the world famous learning extravaganza." They now giggle and love it when I say this to them. Dave Burgess is "spot on" with using this and hooks to capture students' excitement. When I tell my students, "You don't want to miss tomorrow. If you do, you'll just have to hear the incredible stories," they all look at each other with wide eyes and wonder what in the world we'll be doing the next day.  I love it! With all of this stirring up and bringing excitement into my classroom, I couldn't wait to get to the next chapter in this MUST READ book - "Ask and Analyze."

Dave Burgess you ask yourself, "What can I write on the board to spark a conversation or create a buzz even before the bell rings?" We should constantly ask ourselves how we can create excitement or come up with REMARKABLE lessons that will WOW our students. It doesn't come easy, and it certainly (as he says) doesn't just "strike us like a bright light." It takes hard work, time and energy, researching, taking notes, and collaborating with others.

Not only should we be constantly questioning ourselves, but the "QUALITY of our questions is critical." We should ask ourselves, "How can I make this lesson memorable, impacting, powerful, and remarkable for my students?"  I told my students the first day of school, "I want you to WANT to come to school, not to feel like you HAVE to come to school."  Therefore, every day I will ask myself, "Is this lesson going to cause excitement and build that desire in my students?" If not, I'm going back to the "drawing board."

Yes, our lessons may blow up in our faces sometimes, and we may fail. If we don't fail, then we are staying in the "safe zone."  Dave Burgess states, "safe lessons are a recipe for mediocrity at best." Do we want to be mediocre teachers for our next generation? NO! Dive in, question yourself with quality questions, and analyze your lessons. The added time you take to do this will change the entire atmosphere of the classroom, your attitude toward your job and students and, most importantly, the way your students feel about YOU, your subject, and learning.

NOTE: All ideas come from the phenomenal book Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess

Until the next "golden nugget,"

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Today's Golden Nugget from Teach Like a Pirate - Build Rapport With Your Students

Well, after battling the crowds at my favorite place to shop...WAL MART (not), I wanted nothing more than to come home, kick my feet up, and dive into a book (yes, I'm an avid reader). Our district was lucky enough to have Dave Burgess speak at this year's convocation, so I was dying to continue his powerful book, Teach Like a Pirate.

Today's "golden nugget" - create a solid and positive rapport with your students. Wow! I couldn't agree more. This is an absolute must, in my opinion. Every year I let my students know that they are mine (that I adopt them for the next nine months). I'm their "mama away from home" and, yes, I WILL cry when they have to leave at the end of the year.

I love how Dave instantly creates a positive rapport with his students by "hooking" them before they even walk into his classroom with a sign titled "Welcome to the World Famous Learning Extravaganza."  Wouldn't you want to enter this room? Yes, I'm curious too! He suggests getting to know your students' "likes" and "dislikes" outside of school, find out what intrigues them, and by all means, learn their names quickly. Begin this on DAY 1 of school.

Yes, this takes extra time from you. For example, on days that I eat lunch with my students, it DOES keep me from eating in the teacher's lounge on those particular days. This is the only time, however, that I can REALLY learn more about them personally. I have had parents text/e-mail me BIG thank you's (their child couldn't wait to have lunch with Mrs. Boo). When I take my evening time to make a "phone-a-great" call, it takes my personal time. However, does this tell my students that they matter? YES! Does this tell the parent that we are on the same page? YES!

As Dave says, we are in the PR business as teachers. We have to sell our classroom. Build excitement about the year to come. Get them curious about what's happening next. We don't want students wondering why they are wasting time with us.

My first day of school is this coming Monday, August 25. I'll certainly be welcoming my students to the "World Famous Learning Extravaganza" and begin building a positive rapport with my students. They will KNOW that they are special, important, and loved.

As you begin (or may have already begun the new school year), remember that it may be your smile or your little comment, "Hey, I love the color of your shirt" that they remember and appreciate. It can change their day and your rapport with them BIG TIME! What ever it takes, build a solid and encouraging rapport with your students. Our job matters; we are changing lives.

**All ideas are from Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess (a must-read).

Go Get This Book!

Until the next "golden nugget,"

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Today's Golden Nugget from Teach Like a Pirate

For those of you that read my last "golden nugget" post, you are well aware that Dave Burgess presented at our district's convocation. There is still buzz around our school about "teaching like a pirate."

As I continue to delve into this phenomenal book, Teach Like a Pirate, today's golden nugget is about IMMERSION.  Are you totally devoting yourself to your students and your classroom, or are you distracted by other things? Our students can FEEL if we're "swimming WITH them" or just acting like a "lifeguard on the side of the pool."

Just recently, I had a student that I taught in 5th grade in 1998 (yes, that long ago) send me a precious message that totally reminds me of why immersion is crucial. This was the powerful message sent to me:

"You are super important to me. Best teacher I ever had. You made me understand that people can care about you because they truly love you and want the best for you. You helped me trust people when I didn't trust too many people. You cared about all of us so much that we never forget the things you did for each of us." Joseph

This young man is going through the emotional process of searching for his birth mom. Now why would he include me in this life-changing process? Possibly because he saw that I totally devoted myself to him and his classmates. The reward that we get in return from IMMERSION is invaluable! 

Make your students feel important: jump in the water, get wet, and immerse yourself! Give it your all.

P.S. Ideas are from the book Teach Like a Pirate...a must read!

photo credit:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Today's Golden Nugget From Teach Like a Pirate

As I awake this morning, I'm still pondering on yesterday's incredible presentation at our district's convocation. We were fortunate enough to have Dave Burgess (author of Teach Like a Pirate) speak to us.  Oh my goodness, the energy in the room was turned up to the highest notch possible. What an incredible speaker, and teacher, this man is. It made me intrinsically wish that I could morph back to my teenage years and be a student in his classroom. Those students are extremely lucky!

Well, don't we all want OUR students to be thinking the same thing about us? We want them to feel that they are lucky to be in our classrooms.

Over the next week, I'll be sharing"golden nuggets" that I learned from this awe-inspiring presentation.

Today's "Golden Nugget" - Incorporate your passions into your classroom. If you're passionate about sports, animals, magic, etc., figure out a way to integrate that passion into your lessons or the products you have your students complete. Once you "tap into this, you'll feel the power surge through your soul." Your job will now be a fun, exciting place to go to, not a boring, mundane place you HAVE to go to. Not only will it be a place where YOU want to be but, more importantly, your classroom will be a place where your students want to be.

****Ideas are from the book that I HIGHLY recommend: Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess #tlap #teachlikeapirate

 P.S. Might I add that I was ecstatic to get my picture with this fabulous speaker, author, and teacher!
Yes, he's really that tall, and I'm really that short! Ha!

Me and Dave Burgess, Author of Teach Like a Pirate
 Blessings and happy teaching!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Back to School FREEBIE! Thanks for POPPING in!

Need a cute item to leave on your students' desks for Meet the Teacher, Open House, or parent conferences? My parents appreciated this little goody last year, so (YES, you guessed it), they'll be on my students' desks at this year's Meet the Teacher as well.

Just copy, cut, and tape on a bag of microwave popcorn. I've provided a color AND black & white option. Enjoy!
Click here to visit my TpT store and download this FREE product.

Color Option

Black and White Option

Blessings and happy teaching!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Build Compassion For Your Colleagues

Today was my second day of teacher training. My favorite activity was called Compass Points - Personal Styles. You all know that we work with MANY different personalities. We don't always understand WHY others do things the way they do. My way is right! Right?

After completing this eye-opening exercise, I was reminded that we all may do things differently, and that's okay. First, we were shown the different personalities for each compass point. I immediately knew which one I was (WEST). Isn't everyone a WEST? Much to my surprise, NO! To be honest, thank goodness we are all different! Each one of us brings something different to the table. That's what makes an effective team.  One wants to "get it done," one wants to "consider other's feelings," another  "wants to see the BIG picture," and another "is idea centered."

View the image below. Which compass point are you?
After deciding which characteristics we most possess, we were to walk to that particular chart and write down what our main strengths and limitations were. Afterwards, we shared our charts with the entire faculty. 

What I liked most about this was it caused me to better understand others. A teammate and I were even giggling later when creating our fifth grade bulletin board. She was a NORTH (get is done), and I found myself asking details, wanting things perfectly centered (you get the picture).  We found this quite humorous! 

I hope your teacher training has been as educational and meaningful! We are all different and unique, and that's what makes our FAMILY successful!


Monday, August 11, 2014

"Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork!"

Notice the catchy title? No, those aren't my creative words, but they are words that we heard several times today at our first teacher training of the year. 

Our constant, and main, theme we are focusing on this year at our school is working AS A TEAM. See your students as OUR students, not YOUR students. We MUST all work together for our children to be their best. I loved the team building activities we did today to enhance that feeling and rapport with one another. Just to see teachers lying on their backs with feet up in the air, working together to turn over a tablecloth WITH THEIR FEET makes me giggle once again. 

I just ran across this quote, and it really struck home after today. "Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results." Andrew Carnegie

Don't our students deserve uncommon results? Yes!

Photo Credit:
Wishing you all a wonderful start to the new school year!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

New Product Alert: QR Code Subtraction Task Cards With and Without Borrowing

Happy to have these new QR Codes Subtraction Task Cards "hot off the press!" They are 2 digit by 2 digit and include cards WITH and WITHOUT borrowing. I've included a color and black and white option for the STUDENT RESPONSE SHEET and ANSWER KEY. 

I love using task cards in the classroom. They're great for center/stations, whole group instruction, the SCOOT game, or partner work. Copy, cut, and laminate for the perfect review.

Happy teaching!

Friday, August 1, 2014

TpT Back to School Sale - August 4 & 5

I'm excited to announce that Teacher Pay Teachers' Back to School Sale is on August 4th and 5th. All products in my store will be offered at 20% off. To add to that, TpT will be adding an extra discount when you use the code BTS14 at checkout. Save up to 28%. Yes!

Ready your wish lists, and have fun shopping! Thanks to everyone for your continued support!

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Happy teaching,