Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate Chapter 4- Ask and Analyze

Have you failed recently?

In chapter 4 Dave mentions that if you haven't failed in your classroom, you aren't pushing the envelope enough. Safe lessons may get the job done, but you are settling for mediocrity at best. i have taken this one to heart and am going to go out of my comfort zone to try new things in my class next year. Remember in college, when you were student teaching, you would come up with some amazingly creative lessons, and sometimes you failed (I know this can't only be me). But every time a lesson failed, you still left feeling good because the kids were engaged. I remember one of my very first lessons I ever taught- sequencing and how to carve a pumpkin-2nd grade. I thought the lesson was a hugh flop. I even cried. When I met with my professor he could not stop ranting and raving about it. It was a good lesson, and things going wrong doesn't make it a failure. And even if it is, don't we learn from them?

The first thing that stuck with me in this chapter was what Dave calls the myth of the bliding flash of light. Which is basically that there are two types of people in the world- creative and not creative, where the not creative people think the creative people are walking around and are suddenly struck with creative ideas like a blinding flash of light. Confession- I say all the time "I am just not creative" I have been waiting for the flash of light more often than not. Clearly it isn't coming. 

I want to highlight some of the sentences that stuck out with me...

"If you consistently ask questions that lead to creative and outside the box thinking, your mind will provide you with creative and outside the box answers."

"What could I write on my board for this lesson that would spark a conversation or create a buzz even before the bell rings?" (I have to remember to do this because it is really great to see the kidsinvolved in their learning BEFORE you actually teach anything.)

"We will never see {creative inspiration} unless we actively and consistently attempt to create."

"Ideas are great but implementation is the key to results." (THIS is so big for me... when I DO have a good idea, I often don't FULLY implement it because I am worried about time constraints.)

"Create a vision of what you want and define the goals you want to achieve- and then you must start working for them."

Here is my BIG tip- carry a notebook or notepad with you EVERYWHERE. You never know when a good idea will come to you. I have ideas weitten down everywhere- slips of paper, post its, notebooks, in my phone. If you don't write it, you will forget it.

And Dave ended this chapter with the best tip of all... "Don't fall into the trap of thinking time spent developing yourself into a well-rounded person, above and beyond your role as an educator, is wasted or something to feel guilty about. It is essential and will pay dividends in not only your life, but also in your classrom."

As teachers, we could spend 24/7/365 working for our classroom and students and STILL not feel like we are done. We have to remember that it is ok to have fun, relax, and do some things for ourselves. 

To read more and join in the discussion, head over to Kate's blog

Purely Paperless

And as always


  1. I loved all of his ways to ask questions! If only you were in the classroom next to me!

    Rowdy in First Grade

  2. Do something for myself!! My goodness, i am a teacher and do not grasp that concept. I am always working on something for my kindergators so I can create their first school experience a successful and enjoyable one!



  3. I loved his suggestion to take time for ourselves to grow personally and that by doing so we become better teachers. Sometimes, I forget that and it was a nice reminder :)
    Fun in Room 4B

  4. Yes!! Great post. Interesting that several of the comments pick up on the theme of giving time to your yourself and your outside passions. I think it is critical! I can't tell you how many ideas and connections I have found between my outside passions and my classroom and it also has the added benefit of keeping us from getting burned out. We have to be able to unplug and recharge the batteries occasionally if we want to be at full strength for our students.


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