Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Study Mondays: Passion & Immersion



I was so excited to get home tonight and get this next series of Book Study Mondays kicked off!  Surprisingly, this is not a book about teaching math--it's just a book about great teaching.  And if you're along for the ride, I want you to commit to trying out in your classroom what you read in the book!  Hold yourself accountable by pledging to comment each week about some change you've made or some "ah ha" moment you had from the reading.

So what is this pirate stuff anyway?  You'll find out from the Introduction that it is a "system and philosophy." Part 1 of the book includes a chapter for each of the letters in the PIRATE acronym.  Tonight, we'll look at passion and immersion.

PASSION

You gotta love a book about teaching that starts out with a snippet from Betty Friedan's classic book The Feminine Mystique.  Burgess sure gets your attention right off the bat!  His point is that we can not be passionate about everything we teach every day.  Period.  So what do we do?  Shake off the guilt and find ways to bring passion into those areas of our content that we don't particularly feel passion for. Burgess outlines three types of passion that we can infuse into our teaching:

  • Content passion--what you're passionate about within your content area.  I am truly and totally passionate about numeracy and number sense.  My eyes absolutely light up when I talk about it or teach it.  Geometry...not so much.  I just don't get why the characteristics of a rhombus are important.
  • Professional passion--what you're passionate about within your profession, but outside your content area.  Burgess says it's typically what drove you to be a teacher, but I think I actually found my professional passion after I began teaching.  I love helping the underdog.  I want the kiddos that drive other teachers crazy.
  • Personal passion--what you are passionate about outside your profession.  Burgess suggests that you incorporate your outside passions into your teaching.  His passion, for example, is magic.  One of my personal passions is computers (can I get a big DUH here?).  I love being on computers and finding ways to do new things on computers.  Hence, my blogging and the math activities I create.  
Here's a great quote on passion:
When you're passion-filled, you also become more personally fulfilled as an educator.  It's fun and exciting to share what is uniquely "you."  Doing so makes your presentations and personal charisma almost magnetic in nature.

IMMERSION

Again with the sex talk!!  Ha ha...if you haven't already bought the book, I'm betting you're heading to Amazon right now!  This is a short chapter with a powerful message--your students know whether you are totally present or not.  You will want to read the story about his son's swimming lesson, but I think this quote gives you the idea of what it means to be immersed in your students' learning:
I can walk by the open door of a classroom and tell you after a couple of minutes whether the teacher is a lifeguard or a swimmer.  A lifeguard sits above the action and supervises the pool deck.  Although he or she is focused, there is a distinct sense of separateness both physically and mentally.  In contrast, a swimmer is out participating and an integral part of the action.
Sooooooo, your turn to comment.  Pledge to be a swimmer, and take the plunge by sharing your passions--content, professional, and personal.  It felt good to say Hey, I'm not passionate about geometry.  I'm looking forward to hearing what you all have to say!!

Next week....RAPPORT. :)



33 comments :

  1. You talked me into it! I downloaded the Kindle edition and started reading. Looking forward to the journey.

    Julie
    Math is Elementary

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  2. I just ordered the book. Saw it on another blog and was interested. Don't know if I'll be able to keep up due to Grad school classes, but I'll be excited to follow along.

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    1. You'll love the book, and it's an easy read. Grad school is a big load, so hopefully the "Cliff notes" here on the book study will help you along! :)

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  3. I saw your post last night and fell in love with the title of this book. I have a little pirate obsession. ;) I didn't buy the book just yet. I downloaded the free chapter, read it and figured I'd give the book study a try. Looks like I'll be buying the rest.

    Professional Passion- I'm passionate about turning little kids into readers. Reading is magic!

    Personal Passion- Reading! Also, my own boys. Though now in college, I love telling my school kids stories of when my guys were their age or share books that my guys loved when they were little. I love wearing my OSU mom shirt or my Rice lanyard and pulling down a map to explain how far away Texas is.

    Immersion really struck home with me. I love working in small groups. I have a need to be physically close when I'm working with students. Close enough that I can touch or move or help.

    I'm looking forward to reading everyone's comments. Sue

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Sue! So you have a son at Rice? That's in my neck of the woods. My son, on the other hand, is at college in Connecticut!!

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    2. Sue,
      I too, love working in small groups. This year I have sooo many students with attention issues, or just exited the bilingual program and several that are dyslexic, that I feel I need to make sure they are getting the content....up close and personal! My struggle is the accountability in the other small groups.
      Charlotte
      Fabulous Fifth Grade Fun

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  4. I love the fact that the author acknowledges the fact that it is ok to not be passionate about every subject!!!

    So…not passionate about the Revolutionary War. I really want to be! I know that it is such a pivotal time in our history! (Also, not passionate about the phases of the moon!)
    I am really passionate about teaching the effects of fossil fuels and investigating alternative energy sources.

    Professional Passion-I’m passionate about teaching students to advocate for themselves…dyslexia students in particular. I’m passionate about teaching students to be proactive in their learning, and building a community within our classroom.

    Personal Passion-I’m passionate about being crafty and decorating. I LOVE to read! Mysteries, romance, murder/mystery! Unfortunately, I don't read non-educational material during the school year. I have no self-control to stop reading in the evening. Can’t put it down!
    I’m passionate about presenting and sharing ideas with teachers.

    I love the quote, “ Your increased passion will sustain you through those long stretches of the year that inevitably arrive and attempt to drag you down.” Soooo true!

    And finally, “Use your passions to soar over obstacles instead of crashing into them and burning out.”

    We just had to survey our students on how they feel the year is going so far. It was funny. I could hear my passion in their responses to their favorite lessons so far. I could also feel their lack of passion on those days that the content just isn’t moving me.

    Excited to keep reading!
    Hope this isn't too long of a response! :-)
    Fabulous Fifth Grade Fun

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    1. Too long a response?! No way, Charlotte!! This is exactly what I was hoping for. I totally get about not reading non-educational during the school year. I have to REALLY restrain myself. Thanks for adding another couple of great quotes. :)

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    2. Ahhh...so you are familiar with those long stretches!! We all are, Charlotte, if we are going to be honest. Your survey results ring true with my experience...we are just better and more effective when we are passionate and immersed and it carries over to the attitudes our students have about the content.

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  5. It definitely was an attention grabbing opening to a book! Really made me self reflect about the times I find myself saying to my kiddos, "I need you to participate and not just sit there". Hmmm...maybe I need some of what he's talking about!

    Content passion- I LOVE teaching phonics and math, especially calendar math. With phonics I love teaching kids to segment words once we've gotten past the first letter cycle (which I hate). I make up my own stories and songs to go with things and the kids love it. I do not like doing letter of the day, though. It is so mundane and the kids lose interest quickly, hence the songs and stories to attempt to pull them in. I'm also not very crazy about teaching writing. Definitely not my favorite thing (which is odd since I'm a grammar snob).

    Professional- I enjoy mentoring and sharing what I've learned with others. I enjoy seeing the light go off when someone learns something new. I love finding and sharing resources with my team and creating things when I can't find exactly what I'm looking for.

    Personal- I am a singer, always have been, so I LOVE singing. I use so much music in my class and I make up my own songs. I also love technology and finding new ways to incorporate it into my daily routine.

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    1. Keri, what a perfect match singing and teaching make. I'll be your kiddos love it! :)

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    2. Keri, it sounds like the way you feel about singing in your class is the way I feel about magic. What a fantastic passion to bring into your work.

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  6. Donna I was "hooked" immediately! I couldn't put it down. Now, for my passions: Content - Reading Comprehension, both Literary and Informational! I love showing kids how to get "value" out of a book and truly understand what those words mean. Professional - I would have to say is creating proper activities for my lessons. I spend so much time putting together ideas to help cement my purpose for that lesson. My Personal Passion actually hit a little soft spot. I realized that other than my family, school/work completely consumes my life at the moment. I don't have a ton of personal stories to share with my kids. So, that is a personal goal of mine this year is to find that personal passion, seek other interests in my personal life! Thank you for allowing me to get that off my chest :)

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing! I know I get a little carried away with work and blogging myself, and I realized it when my son was home from college for the break. I'm looking for a little more balance myself in 2013. :)

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    2. Fantastic insight and reflection. We have to allow ourselves the time to pursue some of our outside passions not only for the balance it provides, but also for the ability to open us up to new creative ideas for teaching. I know, I know...easier said than done when we are so busy.

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  7. Donna, A teacher friend knew I was reading this book so sent me the link to your book study. I hope I can keep up with all of you as I am a very swamped yet still spirited Special Ed teacher for children with Autism. I am willing to sail into uncharted territory here . This is my first book study online ;-) . The book is really striking a chord in me. Content Passion- I cannot pick just one so here are 2... I love reading aloud a good book to the kids. I am dramatic & can get 'into' the characters and mood easily. My students don't want me to stop & I confess neither do I. I love asking the questions or wondering out loud and listening to their responses, thinking & connections. I celebrate when I hear them read like me out loud using their voices with feeling -its very rewarding . I like teaching in themes linking as many academic strands together as I can while drawing on the book's theme whenever possible. I also love something we do called Pirate Club ( yes I have a pirate theme ) where I team with an SLP and we teach the students social thinking skills - I love watching their courage, understanding & friendships grow while knowing we are making a difference in these children's lives. I enjoy teaming with another who 'gets' my students. Professional- Right now it is my class set of iPads and integrating them into our daily curriculum. This is an AMAZING experience and I am spending tons of time learning and teaching ( students & adults). It's that kind of extra work that is also exciting and invigorating. Personal- I meditate and TRY to relax in my mountain home in the redwoods of California which is a good place as it balances me , slows me down from the hyper drive of my very hectic professional life & commute. However, when the school year is upon me , I have little time for any personal passion & at the moment it is iPad and learning.. Basically I love to learn new things I then use for my professional life. I am even reading this book on the kindle App on the iPad...Sad uh?

    Debbie

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    1. OMGosh, a Pirate Club! How perfect is that? Reading the book on a Kindle app is SO not sad! I'm sure your students totally feel your passion for learning. What better gift for them? :)

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    2. Debbie, I was pretty fired to read about your "pirate club"!! Maybe we can make this a full-scale movement! Love your thoughts and comments

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  8. As a math coach for grade K-5, but coming from teaching 3rd and 4th grade, I can say I am not passionate about teaching Kindergarten math.
    Content Passion: I bring a passion for problem solving. I know how frustrating it is for most kids, so to see them get it, I LOVE IT!!
    Professional Passion: A good math teacher made a huge difference for me in 8th grade. I am passionate about showing teachers how important they are for students today and tomorrow.
    Personal passion: I am passionate about story telling. I am not a great story teller myself, but I love a well written book, movie, or TV show. Words are powerful!

    Lara
    Pasadena ISD

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    1. Pasadena, Texas? If so, we're practically neighbors. I'm with you about problem solving! Makes math seem like a fun puzzle to solve. :)

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    2. Yes! Storytelling is one of the greatest tools for effective teaching and communication. I'm sure your passion for problem solving is having a big impact on the thinking skills of your students.

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  9. As of 3 years ago, I am no longer in the classroom, but work with both teachers and students as our building's Instructional Specialist. So, with that said, I'm straddling a line here and my passions have changed as a my role in education has evolved. However, when I was in the classroom, I was never crazy about teaching science (Content). My professional passion as a classroom instructor was reading. I loved to watch kids get bitten by "the bug" and dive head-long into becoming avid readers. Now, I find myself loving the work I do with teachers. Helping them to grow and use/learn a variety of best practices to strengthen their pedagogy. I love being in the room with a teacher that has tried something new, stepped out of their comfort zone and they nail the lesson. Personally, I love to read. I love being so engrossed in a book that I want to do nothing else. This could be a professional read, or a great book of fiction. Being able to give recommendations to my students and colleagues is an awesome feeling. It's even better when they come back and want to talk about what they've read.

    Robin
    It's All Elementary!
    www.teacherszone.blogspot.com

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    1. I know exactly what you mean about sharing a teacher's success, Robin! Even though out of the classroom, we're still teachers at heart. :)

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  10. Hi Donna! I just bought the book! I'm a new teacher, and love EVERYTHING I'm learning from you, as well as, all the other teachers posting comments here. However, although there are some days I feel really on top of my teaching "game", there are many days (especially after reading what everyone has to say here) when I feel like I'm doing my kids a disservice because I have SO much to learn! Ugh! It's pretty discouraging sometimes.

    Donna, I can't tell you how much I appreciate how much time you put into this blog. This is the fourth book I've bought that you've recommended. I hope someday I'll grow up, professionally, to be just like you (even though you're probably younger than I am!) :) Thank you SO much for everything you do!!

    Kelly
    Albuquerque, NM

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    1. Oh, Kelly, don't ever feel like you're doing your kids a disservice! I look back on my first few years of teaching, and my classroom management system was basically just yelling increasingly louder! Seriously, you are studying and working to improve every day and that's what counts. Teaching is definitely a steep learning curve, but you sound like you've got a great heart for it. :)

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    2. Kelly, You are not feeling that way because you are a new teacher...you are feeling that way because you are great teacher. I can tell because you are willing to reflect, you are open to new ideas and growth, and you have sense for the awesome responsibility we have to our kids. The day any one of us feel we have all of this figured out is the day we should retire because we've stopped growing and stopped being honest about our shortcomings. Trust me...I'm not even completely pleased with everything I've done just this week! It's part of the game.

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    3. Donna and Dave, thank you so much for the feedback. I really appreciate you. You both make really good points, and have made me feel better already! Can't wait to read Teach Like a Pirate! Take care, Kelly

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  11. I bought the book on my surface tablet and have just started reading....As a veteran teacher of 20 years- I find myself TRANSPORTED back in time...it's like his words have reignited a spark in my thinking and way of reaching out to my students. I have always been known as the teacher at school who steps outside of her comfort zone and will do ANYTHING to get her student's attention...but this book is really helping me reflect on BEST PRACTICES and maintaining my passion. THANK YOU for this recommendation.

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    1. You are so welcome! And how cool that after 20 years you are still looking for ways to improve your craft. The comfort zone is no fun!! Ha ha.

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    2. Wow!! So happy the book is having this impact on you...made my night!

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  12. I just finished reading the book after seeing so many book studies on it. I am very excited to get in my classroom and be a swimmer with the new Common Core. I feel this is going to be the only way to really teach common core and understand it at the same time!

    Thanks for a great book study!

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    1. Absolutely! Common core is best taught through dialogue between teachers and students as well as students and students!

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Comments make me smile! :)

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