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. :)  Growth Mindset Caring Classroom Poster

Awkward, but necessary statement here: 
The words and posters were designed by me and should not be repurposed, redistributed in any way, shape, or form, without express permission from me.

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!



  1. Love this post! :) I bought the book spontaneously last week after hearing about it a bunch, and I started yesterday and couldn't put it down... I am in the Ask & Analyze chapter right now-- It's sitting right here beside me! I think laundry and bread making (and unit planning, and schoolwork...) can wait! I know the feeling! :) Enjoy the rest of the book!

    1. I love that chapter! And all can wait! (Though, we are currently out of milk at my house and that never goes over very well with non-napping daughter!)

  2. Awww, thanks for the shout out. You knocked your chapter out of the water, my friend! I value your insights and appreciate you making some meaningful connections for us.


  3. Hi Lisa, all apologies are accepted!! I will admit you had me worried for a couple of paragraphs, though! I really appreciate you hosting this chapter...which is one of my favorites, by the way. I certainly hope our ships cross paths out there on the open waters at some point. I was in WI in March and I'll be back in WI in August in Baraboo. Also close by at #SDE13(Innovative Educators Conference) in Chicago in July. Anyway, I love your post and your personality comes flooding through your writing and...that's a good thing, in this case! Let's stick with Dave. :)

    1. Oh geez!

      I'm sort of speechless that you read my post! And now I want to revise it a bit since I found a few typos.

      Thanks for stopping! I'm super honored!

      And...I may be coming down to Chicago that week! Would love to see you speak, Dave :)!!!

  4. I love the term re-framing :) This is on my list of summer reading!!!

    Literacy Without Worksheets

  5. LOVED your post girl! And not just because I love YOU! Isn't this book so stinking good? I cannot put it down and I keep re-thinking all these lessons i had planned.

    Rowdy in First Grade

  6. Lisa, you are hysterical!! I just love your posts! You are describing me exactly in the beginning of this one which is why I decided not to do any book studies this summer. I just couldn't face not doing right by ONE. MORE. THING! I have heard wonderful things about this book and you just sealed the is on my list of must reads!

    Oh, and I'm currently out of milk, too along with about 27 other things! Ha!
    I really need to stop telling myself all year that I'll get "on top of it" during the summer! Sigh...there just aren't enough hours in the day!

    Thank you for the sweet shout out, friend! I just sent you a little something that does not involve glitter, I promise!
    Hope you're having a happy summer!

  7. Your post was worth the one day delay (and my few day delay in finally getting to read it!!) I love it!! I gotta work on the lessons I could sell a ticket to too. I am great with #1 but not that one. I think you should make your little letter into a cute printable to hang up.. and then share it with me so I can hang it too haha. Thanks for hosting, you did a fantastic job, even a day late!
    Third Grade Tidbits

  8. Loved your post, it had me laughing and enjoying. I also loved the real teaching example on reframing.


    Teaching, Stitching, and Parenting

  9. I think your example about "one big deal lesson" a week is spot on for younger elementary. Your letter to yourself is super! I thought it would be hard to do at first, but it really helps you to go to that place you want to be as an educator.


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