This weekend I finally received my copy of Teach like a Pirate by Dave Burgess and in one night I read it into the wee hours of the morning. I was hooked to say the least, the book really hit me in all the right ways and also brought back memories of my experiences both as a student and as a teacher and what I’m trying to teach now in the classroom to my PK-12 students and teachers. When I was reading about The Costume Hook in “All the World is a Stage”, as soon as I read that section, I immediately flashed back to almost two years ago during my first year at my school. It was February of 2013, my second graders were beginning a chapter on the Arctic. I was asked by both my second grade teachers to present the lesson using iPads and any other “amazing” idea I could come up with. It took me less than a minute to come up with the lesson. I created a PowerPoint on the Arctic and then uploaded it to Nearpod to create an interactive iPad lesson with the students. However, I wanted to take it a step farther and since we were in 20 degree weather days during the month, I decided to make use of my full winter gear. I came in about 10 minutes after eating lunch wearing my full blue winter suit, hat, scarf and blue sunglasses. When I walked into the classroom holding my blue iPad (I was going all out) the students just looked at me in wonder and my teacher was trying not to laugh but knew I had something great planned.
I said hello to the class as I caught my breath, I asked them why I was all dressed up and most of them thought I ran to my car. I told them that when you are in the far reaches of the Arctic, you have to dress warmly and I then reached into my coat and pulled out some newspapers. I explained to them that in the early days of Arctic explorers, they would stuff old newspaper or paper in their coats to add extra padding for warmth. I then asked if they noticed anything else about me and they answered that I was wearing sunglasses when it was clearly a very overcast day outside. I told them that in the Arctic that the sun can be very blinding off of the snow covered mountains and land and can cause snow blindness and then explained how that worked. Many students had never heard of it and thought it was amazing. After that, I took off my winter gear and had a few put on my gear and felt how the newspaper added extra heat. After a few minutes, we started our Nearpod lesson and the students were so engaged it was amazing. Even my teacher was extremely engaged before it I knew it, the time had passed and it was time for me to go. The students were so disappointed it the lesson was over but I told them I could do it as much as I could during the rest of the school year.
The next day I performed the same lesson to the other 2nd grade class and they were just as engaged as the first and wanted me to keep going. I even had one ask if they could help me with my next lesson because it looked so fun and my other 2nd grade teacher wanted pointers on how I came up with the lesson for her future lessons. Since then I have tried to inject that same type of fun into the classroom. Sometimes it has been a big hit and sometimes not so much but I keep trying and even tailor my lessons for future classes. Now, after reading Teach like a Pirate I’m ready to go to the next level in the classroom and what really gets me is that I have been TLAPing for a while now. Sometimes it takes a great book to show that you have been doing it right all along and you become inspired to try something more or use some new ideas with your old ideas. So, I want to thank Dave Burgress for writing such a wonderful book an creating such an amazing map to learning. I’ll post more TLAP as the school year rolls along but in the mean time, I’m off to create more lessons and be even more creative thanks to all of this.