If you missed any of the terrific insights in this #D100bloggerPD, you can start from the beginning with Colleen Noffsinger's post at Literacy Loving Gals.
Hi Everyone! Thank you for stopping by to check out my quick reflection of chapters 13-15 of Taylor Mali's book, What Teachers Make.
~ChApTeR 13~ Lessons You Can Touch...
Please tell me you have experienced one of these lessons, either as a teacher, or student!?! You know the ones I am talking about. The type of lesson that you will probably never forget. If you are an educator, possibly the type of lesson that you were a part of that made you want to teach yourself! Oh how I hope that all of you reading have experienced at least one of these lessons in your lifetime. Taylor schools us on some of his favorite ways to turn ordinary lessons into extraordinary opportunities! Here are just a few examples...
Math: Describe the associative, distributive, & commutative properties; In dance, Choreograph it, show your work, Points off for clumsiness
Social Studies: Prepare two Civil War marching songs, one North one South, Sing it in four part harmony, show your emotion, Points off for flat notes
English: Carve a sculpture that expresses Hester Prynne's solitary courage, the cowardice of her lover, the beauty and strangeness of her child
Science: Bring in a broken toaster, doorknob, or wind-up toy, fixit, you get extra credit for using leftover parts to make something new; Points off for reading the directions
Taylor tells us stories about what he called his SMACK DAY, (definitely check it out). We learn all about how creating extraordinary lessons, ups the engagement and energy level in the classrooms. When you are creating opportunities for students to participate in lessons that THEY CAN TOUCH, you are always making an impact.
~ChApTeR 14~ The Value of What You Cannot Test
Ahhh state-testing! It is these two words that tend to bring teachers to their knees. The fear of mandated state tests tend to keep teachers from planning the EXTRAORDINARY lessons discussed in the previous chapter.
In this chapter Mali refers to words of wisdom from a very handsome advocate for teachers & public education, Mr. Matt Damon...
"As I look at my life and the things that I value most about myself - my imagination, my love of acting, my passion for writing, my love of learning, my curiosity- all of these things came from the way that I was parented and taught. And none of these qualities that I prize so deeply, that have brought me so much joy, that have made me so successful professionally-none of these qualities that make me who I am can be tested.'
To this I say true, absolutely without a doubt true, but the tests aren't going away and neither are the high stakes.
Good teaching and engaging lessons can happen and will happen when you form relationships with your students. Bells and whistles are great for some lessons, but not everything can be a big "to-do." I remember many of the lessons we did in my 8th grade class, not necessarily because of the way the lesson was presented, but because my teacher cared enough to get to know me and my learning style.
Finding a healthy balance in your lesson planning is key. I believe that once relationships are formed with your students and you find a way to reach them, they will be motivated to work for you.
~ChApTeR 15~ No One Leaves My Class Early For Any Reason
Forgive me for the shortness, but this chapter can be summed up with one simple quote from Taylor Mali...
"Great teaching moments happen in the classroom all the time when you least expect them! It would be a shame if a student missed one just because he or she had a short attention span or had a habit of cutting out when things got slightly uncomfortable."
Creating an environment where students understand the importance of being present in every sense of the word will add to the classroom community. Let your students know that you expect them to be active participants in their learning and no one is getting a free pass.
Thank your checking out my blog! Feel free to leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you! Make sure to check out Miss G Does 5th for the next installment of the #D100bloggerPD with What Teachers Make.