Friday, June 21

Teach Like A Pirate - Chapter 5

I'm a bit of a "my eyes are bigger than my stomach" sort of girl.

I'm not horrible at saying no to's just that I always have GREAT intentions and semi-okay follow through.

When I signed on as the Hostess of "Chapter 5: Transformation" with Gina & Jennifer's (LOVE those girlz) Teach Like a Pirate Book Study over a month ago I intended to order the book IMMEDIATELY. Well...just got it on Monday. (not because Amazon failed was cuz I ordered it last Friday.) BTW, Amazon Affiliate links may be included in this post, where I earn a small commission on purchases made through the links.

Which wasn't so bad when you consider I thought my chapter's post was scheduled for NEXT week Thursday.

See, I'm a day late on my actual host date.
At any rate...I have been a busy girl this week and since I thought I still had a wee bit of time, I didn't start reading the book until Wednesday.

Now...that's another thing I'm excellent at...working to deadline procrastination.

So, when I started the book two days ago, I was thinking I had a whole week to read it. But then, Sweet Gina let me know that yesterday was my day. So I hastily began to read to get to Chapter 5 so I could say something slightly meaningful. (That will be up to you to determine, my friends.)

I will admit, the first 25 or so pages (ya know, the ones with Roman Numerals followed by the regular number pages which are introductory) I was not fully engaged. (Sorry, Mr. Burgess!)


When I got to meet up with the incomparable Barbara Gruener (The Corner on Character) yesterday (which I will blog about over the, love, LOVE her...), we chatted about this book.

One of the things she said hit me square in the face showing me how just UNengaged I was in the book (again, Mr. Burgess, I'm SUPER sorry)...she recited off the chapter names quick as a wink. I was amazed and then she revealed the acronym...

See...I didn't REALLY read page xxiii well enough. The part where it said, "{this part of the book} is divided into six chapters, one chapter for each letter of the word {PIRATE}."


So...yesterday afternoon while my daughter napped made a ginormous mess in her room (which she then freaked about cleaning up...but mama prevailed), I began reading again.

Again, I wasn't super engaged. Could have been the evidence of mess-making instead of nap-taking that I was hearing above my head.

But then...

I got to the R chapter - Rapport. Now, Burgess was getting to me...

Then the A chapter - Ask and Analyze.

At that point, I was totally and COMPLETELY hooked!







My almost five and almost nine year old are not thrilled with me. Neither is my husband, for that matter.

Come on, family, I NEED to read. Fend for yourselves!

This is why I don't read fiction too often anymore. It takes over my life.
----------------------------------------- Since I'm the Chapter 5 Hostess (but not necessarily with the mostess)...I reckon I better start yammerin' about it!

The chapter starts with this Burgess quote:
"Provide an uncommon experience for your students and they will reward you with an uncommon effort and attitude."

Now, Mr. Burgess is a High School teacher. His students see several teachers in a day. We've all been to HS and can relate to the "Buehler. Buehler. Anyone. Anyone." type of teacher. 

In my first grade setting I try to have one "Big Deal" lesson per week...a lesson where the students go home and tell their parents all about it. 

Sometimes it's a craftivity (I'm not great at those. I might be allergic to glitter. Or just faking an allergy to it.), but TpT has helped with that! (Thanks, Linda Kamp, for your brilliant academic craftivities!!)

Seriously...when I whip out a craftivity, the class goes nutso.

Other times, I use a video clip to further illustrate what we're learning.

And...there's always Reflector on the iPad...and the document camera...soooo great for featuring and highlighting student work!

The kids REALLY love to see one another's creations or see each other on video. Those lessons, to us, are Big Deal lessons.

In this chapter, on pg 56, Dave writes a letter about how he would like his students to view his class. It's a pretty sweet letter and he put it together based on his vision + what students have said to him.

Getting meaningful feedback is so incredibly validating. I got some wonderful TpT feedback today for the new product I listed today...
I maybe have read 50 times already...and smiled at it each time I read it...cuz it validates my thought process, creativity and that teachers are helped by the things I create. Powerful stuff.

Burgess challenges readers to write their own's my non-letter letter...  

I would like to think that my kiddos love coming to my classroom each day because they know it's a 





sort of place.

UPDATE: Thanks to Gina's suggestion, I've made the above into a printable poster...with a few options. :) Click this link to this Growth Mindset Caring Classroom Poster Freebie to download all the options. 

Pin the pic to save it for later in case you need to find it again!

He also asks two questions to get us to re-frame our thinking:
1. If your students didn't have to be there, would you be teaching in an empty room?
2. Do you have any lessons you could sell tickets for?

Wowzers. Deep stuff.

I definitely need to work on number 2, but I feel great about number 1...I had PLENTY of teachers that were the YES to #1 type teachers. They shaped the way of knowing what kind of teacher I did NOT want to be.

He talks a lot about re-framing our thinking about our lessons and I love this! He shares some personal anecdotes about dealing with his own children (and students) where he's successfully re-framed a situation. Loved reading the anecdotes, as it helps me see how to apply them to my life....

AND, it reminds me of my Huh. Lair. Ee. Us. friend Wendy who is SO amazing at re-framing that it's sometimes has even had the opposite effect as she's intended.

Her most famous example...

One of her students had lice. Students took home a letter from the health room and came to school with questions the next day. In an effort to save some dignity for the kiddo who had it, she tied it into their study of habitats and how hair is a habitat for lice.

The day following this little chat she got an email from the parent talking about how her daughter came home in TEARS because she REALLY WANTED TO BE A HABITAT FOR LICE.

Wendy rocks at reframing. I try and wear her on my shoulder when I am in sticky situations. Kind of a "What Would Wendy Say?" mentality.

Seriously, much of what we do as teachers is how we frame we frame impacts students attitudes towards school and therefore their attitude towards LIFE. Burgess has given me some serious food for thought and I can't wait to finish it this weekend! (Groceries? Dinner making? Baths? Daughter's b-day party? Whatev. I've got reading to do.)

Folks, you'll love this book! It's excellent at re-framing your thinking about your teaching. Usually self grandstanding and boisterous wackiness rub me the wrong way.

But not with Dave. (You like how I said that as if we're friends?) He's the Real Deal. And, if he gets to WI you can bet I'm going to do what I can to see him speak!

Thanks for revealing your secrets, Mr. Burgess!!!!

Hoping our paths cross some day! In the meantime, though, I appreciate the way you re-framed my mind around teaching and learning. I was getting a little boring.

If you haven't read Teach Like a Pirate I highly recommend it! If it's already sitting on your nightstand or in your school bag...start reading it already! It's a keeper!


September Printables

Monthly printables are so versatile! I have used them in my first grade classroom for Morning Work, Word Work, Centers, Assessment, Homework, Independent Practice, Sub Tub

These are aimed at first graders...but many teachers have told me they use it with their strong Kinders and developing 2nd graders. September is aimed at typical September firsties with a variety of skills.

 There are multiple pages of the sampling you see below...for example, there are multiple "It Begins With..." pages that use different letters for sorting...

Short Vowel Sorts Letter Sorts

Beginning Consonant Sorts Vowel Sorts Upper Lower Case Sorts

Digraph Sorts Syllable Sorts Word Family Sorts

Opinion Writing List Making How To Writing

The Math pack is so handy, too!

You might also be interested in starting your school year with a  kindness mini-unit or on building classroom community.

Wednesday, June 19

Personal Narrative Writing

Beginning the school year with my first grade writers with Personal Narrative writing is so much fun! This unit helps writers understand that the stories of their lives are everywhere, which makes generating ideas so much easier! This lays a solid foundation for writers to be able to come up with writing ideas consistently.

July, 2020 Note - I am updating the formatting for ease of teacher and student use. The content remains the same, with some additional features added.

At the heart of the unit is where writers come up with their ideas...and we begin with a Life Web. There's a student and teacher sample for all the elements of the Life Web.

After the Life Web comes the planning box pages for each part of the Life Web...again including teacher and student samples.

For generating more ideas, there are also two versions of a Strong Feelings web...(no student/teacher samples, though...sorry...these were a later addition to the pack). One web has four feelings already inside, the other web is empty for students to fill in their strong feelings.

This Writers' Details chart was a later addition, too. I loovvvveddd having it in my class for when kids are stuck for ideas. This chart is included in this pack but is also available separately in my TpT store.

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, June 18

Reading Strategy Freebie

Welcome (back?)!!! 

I have posters, bookmarks, single page and half page collections of Reading Strategies all in one pdf. Click the pic below to download it.
Fonts are by Kimberly Geswein (KG Be Still and Know; KG Lego House) & Jennifer Jones of Hello Literacy (Hello Basic)Graphics are from Scrappin Doodles
Here's more of a close up...

They might look familiar-ish to both Deanna Jump and Cara Carroll have DARLING posters for them.

Those two have such amazing graphics of these strategies that I didn't want to make it seem like I was taking their work and making it my own. Cuz I wouldn't do that!

But in our district's work with adopting the Teachers' College Reading & Writing Project workshop model next year a group of us had a bit of discussion on using Flippy Dolphin over Flip Flop Froggy & Skippy Frog over Skippy Scott. So I made this set using the specific strategies we decided upon.

But before sharing with you guys, I contacted Deanna & Cara and they both gave me their blessing to share these with you. They, of course, both said that the strategies were not their original idea...Love their kindness, creativity and humility!! 
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