Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Channel Your Inner Pirate! Arrgh!

Today, my assistant principal and I channeled our inner pirates as we led our staff through what they thought was going to be a session on critiquing instruction.  We began the session by telling the staff that as we have been doing our walk-throughs, we have been assessing their instruction.  We thought it would be a good idea to give them some practice in doing the same.  We had three short video clips for them to watch.  They were asked to look at what each teacher was doing, what the students were doing, the level of engagement, etc. and be ready to critique it.

Click below to watch on Teacher Tube

After all three video clips were shown, we instructed them to have a conversation with those around them about what they observed.  As they began their discussion, we escaped and ran to our offices to put on our costumes!  We transformed into pirates and rejoined the group.

Arrgh!  We shared our treasure with the staff!

We entered the cafeteria and spoke in our best "pirate-ese" as we told the staff that we hoped we wouldn't see any of that type of teaching happening here. If so, they may have to "walk the plank." We then decided to share our treasure with them--a copy of  Teach Like a Pirate by @burgessdave.  Inside each book, we had placed a paper with one letter of the word PIRATE on it.  We did a jigsaw activity in which we had the staff move to sit with others who had the same letter.  Their task was to read the part about their letter in the first section of the book and design a skit/performance that will teach the rest of the staff what their assigned letter stands for.
A Must Read for Teachers!

Ask and Analyze

Two weeks from today, each group will have the opportunity to present their information in an engaging way.  

And, one more thing.... It will be Teach Like a Pirate Day at our school! Teachers and staff are encouraged to dress up like pirates for the day.  The response in the crowd when this was announced was great!  Everyone seemed very excited about this opportunity.  We are keeping it a secret so that we can surprise our students.  I look forward to sharing how our staff teaches what each letter represents.  Here's to channeling our inner pirates!  Arrgh! 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Looking for the Good in Every Day: A Lesson from Pete the Cat

Rockin' in Our School Shoes during 2013 Reading Parade

I am a huge Pete the Cat fan.  Recently, I purchased a copy of Kimberly and James Dean's Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses. Pete, a rockin' character we have come to know and love has the "blue cat blues."  Grumpy Toad lends him some magic sunglasses that help Pete see things in a whole new way.  Throughout the story, Pete meets other friends who are sad, mad, and frustrated.  He lends them his sunglasses and helps them see the brighter side of things.  When Pete breaks his sunglasses, it is the wise old owl who reminds him that he doesn't need magic sunglasses to see things in a new way, he just needs to look for the good in every day.

At this point in the school year, educators can be feeling the blues as well.  Wrapping up the first quarter of the school year is such a busy time.  Many demands are being placed on teachers, and their energy is being zapped.  Report cards, parent-teacher conferences, assessments, data team meetings, and many other things are in full swing at the moment.  It can become overwhelming--but only if we let it.  As the wise old owl reminds us, we need to continue to look for the good in every day.  We don't need magic sunglasses, we just need a positive attitude.  When we consciously choose to focus on the positive, how can our days be anything but AWESOME?