Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire

     My first week of summer started with a lot of time by the pool reading some great books.  The first book I read was Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire by Rafe Esquith.  This book left me with so much to think about as I start the next school year.

Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire

  • To begin the book Esquith introduces the six levels of learners students can chose to be.  He discusses how many students are Level 1 thinkers who come to school and behave in order to avoid getting into trouble.  He wants his students to reach Level 6 which is when they want to learn and do right for themselves and no one else.  My take away from this was that students shouldn't always be given a tangible reward for behaving appropriately at school. A step I think second graders can take toward being Level 6 thinkers is practicing looking through the eyes of others.  There are many picture books that teach empathy that I will be reading to my students next year.

  • Esquith gives many suggestions for how to help struggling readers.  He spends many hours preparing how the class will read stories before introducing it. For students who cannot read he picks very simple paragraphs for them to read a loud with confidence.  He also constantly explains the material to make sure everyone is up to speed. 

  • When discusses writing instruction Esquith explains what he calls the "Dreaded Rewrite." On grammar assignments students are required to get at least 90% or more correct, otherwise they have to rewrite the assignment.  I really like how high of expectations he holds for his students.  I think I will implement something like this in my class next year to show students that it isn't acceptable to rush through assignments.

  • Another writing instructional strategy he suggests is to type up writing assignments exactly the way students wrote them and review them with the class.  By typing them up and removing the name, no one knows who wrote the assignment.  Together the class can learn from each others mistakes and strive hard to write a wonderful essay worth everyone knowing who wrote it

  • While reading about Equith's math instruction, he discusses Marcy Cook.  I had not heard of her before but after checking out I found a lot of great math warm up ideas I plan to implement next year. 
I wish I could step inside Room 56 to see Esquith in action but reading this book has been eye opening to what my goals are as teacher. I am now reading his book "There are No Shortcuts," and getting more and more exciting about what my classroom next year will look like.   What books are inspiring you this summer?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

End of the Year Fun

Friday was my last teacher workday so Summer has officially begun for me!  The end of the year was so much busier than I thought it was going to be.  The last week was a lot of fun for my kids.  My favorite day was a beach theme day.  We started our morning by laying on beach towels in the room and reading our favorite books to each other.

We then made some different beach themed crafts.  My students loved making a flip flop craft I found on Pinterest and they also enjoyed painting sea shells.

On Thursday we had our class party.  We started with a pizza lunch and a slideshow I had put together.  It was great having used Class Dojo all year to keep up with my pictures.  My students really loved seeing all of our memories together.  Next, I rolled out the red carpet for end of the year awards.  I had my students write their names on yellow stars to add to the carpet.  When their name was called they took a walk down the red carpet and stopped for a picture when they received their awards. 

After awards we planned a few fun, but simple games.  They all loved racing to get the cup to the other side of the table.  Another game I had was who could keep the balloon in the air the longest.  I couldn't believe how excited they were over balloons. 

At another area of the room students were racing to fan a paper fish into the box.  It was a great game in teamwork. 

On the last day of school, we cleaned the room and had a board game day.  I am happy it is Summer now but I will miss my kiddos.  Second grade was a blast to teach this year.  I can honestly say that there was not a single day where I dreaded going to work.  So now it is time for some Summer professional development, relaxing and getting ready for my next bunch of second graders!