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 marcycookmath.com 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?




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