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Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #31 
My "aha moment" - it's fine if you are not presenting the information in the same way as everyone else and that teaching kids to THINK and SOLVE PROBLEMS are critical skills for their future.

Now, if I can just help my teammates understand that we do not need to present identical lessons in order to keep the learning equitable.

Selecting just one quote as a favorite didn't work for me. I have three quotes that spoke to me and that I will use in the classroom with my students. Our mindset needs to change to think in terms of what we can accomplish rather than where we fall short. This is a HUGE switch for my students from past expectations.

Quote 1: "Don't fight the forces; use them." ~ R. Buckminster Fuller 
  This makes me think of Star Wars with Obi Wan and Yoda advising Luke to use the force. To me this quote means use the constraints of the TEKS and scope/sequence to your advantage. Use our students' quirkiness to our advantage by engaging their hearts and minds into the fun learning occurring in the classroom.

Quote 2: "Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." ~ Mark Twain
  My students often gravitate toward those they perceive as "SMART" even if those "SMART" peers may belittle them or treat them poorly. We all need to learn how to find those that believe in us and help us rise. Students need to know their teachers and teachers need to know their students, so that the risk involved  in trying is lessened.

Quote 3: "Action is the foundational key to all success." ~ Pablo Picasso
  Many of my low performing students do not notice the hard work that successful/strong students perform outside of the classroom. Many of my low performing students have given up and feel like "I can't be as smart as others, so why try?" Helping these students realize what they can accomplish and being will to take the risk to try is the biggest part of my job. Once they see that actions are worth taking and being engaged/involved leads to learning and success, it's amazing to see what they accomplish in a year.

I have throughly enjoyed reading Teach Like a Pirate and can't wait to start the year planning the hooks to employ to steal my way into my students hearts and minds.


Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #32 
There are many times that I get settled in the routine that is associated with teaching an elective class. It takes the full week to see all my students one time, for about 50 minutes each time. My Friday classes deserve as much enthusiasm in my presentations as my Monday classes get. So many times during the week I ask myself if I've already done this with group of students. My answer is, "no, that was another group!" That's when I must remember to step up to the plate and swing away for this group I have right now.

My favorite quote is from Martin Luther King, Jr. stating "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." I stepped out in faith when I went back to teaching after a 4-year hiatus. I stepped out in faith when I changed districts, grade levels, and subjects after 15 yeats of the same thing. I stepped out in faith when I took the newly created position of teaching elementary technology applications. After 25 years teaching in Texas public schools, I still step out in faith on a daily basis as I teach my kids and they teach me!

Julleen Bottoms

Posts: 12
Reply with quote  #33 
My ah-ah moment is reading that the "cookie-cutter" approach will not be the most effective in the classroom. I will incorporate my individuality and uniqueness from day one. I will bring my love from super heroes and hobbies into the lessons and build a positive rapport with my students.

My favorite quote is Mark Twain "Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

Cheryl Rene Ferguson

Posts: 89
Reply with quote  #34 

Before I share my biggest “a-ha” moment and what I plan to do differently in the upcoming school year, I just want to say how much I enjoyed this book. It’s one of the most useful, interesting, and inspiring books for educators that I’ve read. Often times, you hear a presentation or read a book, and get lots of new ideas, but implementing them as the school year progresses becomes rarer and rarer. I really think Burgess’s ideas will stick with my all year long. The idea of focusing on presentation just as much as content, and bringing your passions into your teaching material every day was pretty much my “a-ha” moment. I’ve always known presentation is really important, but never made it the priority. Now, I see the incredible benefit of focusing on the presentation and then adding in the content (so that students will actually remember the information because their background knowledge is stimulated, along with their curiosity). Burgess’s description of LCLs (life changing lessons) was very inspiring to me. I can’t wait to incorporate LCLs into my lessons – that’s why I love being a teacher!


My favorite quote from Part III: “The great end of life is not knowledge but action.” Thomas Henry Huxley


Posts: 67
Reply with quote  #35 

I loved lots of things from the book, especially the example questions with the hooks.  But I think what was more of an “ah-ha” moment for me is that “nobody is going to die if we experiment in the classroom and it doesn’t work out” (page 158).  It’s ironic, since I’m constantly telling people in the workshop I teach that “nobody will die” if x thing doesn’t happen while they’re learning.  But for some reason, I don’t apply that to my perfectionistic self.  That applies to other people, but not so much to me.  I need to get that through my head.   It feels like my workshop is higher risk, since it’s only once a year.  If I screw up too badly, I’ll be handicapping someone’s entire year.  I need to remember that they’ll still get something out of it, even if I try a new strategy and fail.   I teach the same thing every year, so I enjoy it more when I can find small things to change up.   Many times, the same people take my class for several years in a row, so I’m sure they’d enjoy some variety as well.  I need to stop being afraid of messing up.  Nobody will die. 


Favorite quote from part 3 – “More importantly, the cost of failure is far lower than the cost of standing still and losing out on all hope for progress.  Teaching is like being on a steep, smooth-sided mountain.  If you stand still, not only will you fail to reach the summit, you will actually lose ground.”  (page 158)


Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #36 
Many things in this book were things I had heard before in some way, but I definitely needed to hear them again! My ah-ha moment came as I was reading about immersion. I realized that I have developed the habit of trying to do more than one thing at a time. My students deserve my undivided attention. Paperwork can wait, but students need me while they are in the classroom.

The quote I liked best was "Life is too short to be small" by Benjamin Disraeli. It challenges me to step outside my comfort zone and try new things.

Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #37 

My a-ha moment is to let it go! Be the pirate on the edge of the ship with a great crew feeling the wind in your face as you allow students an opportunity to discover their inner strength with content and excitement for learning.  Provide hooks and create an environment where students will be engaged to come in and learn even if the content is not terribly exciting.  This year I plan to fight a fight with sweat and dust.  I plan to be in the arena and not standing on the wall.

My favorite quote is, "Great teaching, like a fight, can't be scripted." As a coach working with teachers, many want a script of the lessons.  My hope is to help them seek ownership of lessons.  The give and take, such as in a fight, is in the moment.  Equally this is where the student learns the most.  We have to individualize for the students and engage them in their learning.


Posts: 148
Reply with quote  #38 
My a-ha moment was reading all the different hooks.  I like the all the variety in them which if I am able to execute them successfully, then my students will hopefully keep their excitement through the year.  I feel if a particular hook is overused, the hook will lose its effectiveness. 

My favorite quote is "Everyone who got to where they are had to begin where they were" from Richard Paul Evans. I love this quote because I feel that it goes along with my growth mindset culture I try to build and my belief that our experiences mold us. 

Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #39 

There are two quotes from the book that influenced my thinking a great deal.  The first being "Would you like me to give you a formula for success?  It's quite simple, really.  Double your rate of failure." Thomas J. Watson.  This stuck with me because everyone learns from their mistakes! If something doesn't work a certain way or it was a huge failure, next time you are in a situation or trying to accomplish a task, that mistake sticks with you that had been made before.  In realization of this, I try not to make the same mistake twice and learn the first time what did or did not work!  Hence, the more mistakes you make, the more you learn!  The second quote that influenced my thinking was "I not only use all the brains that I have, but all the brains that I can borrow."  Woodrow Wilson.  Collaboration with other teachers and picking their brains is always helpful.  Maybe there is someone else who tried something that worked better or could work better in your type of situation.  Talking with others always can be helpful when looking for new and better ideas that you may not have thought of before.  This year, I am going to do better at reflecting on my "failures" to make my lessons better and more influential for my students.  I feel that this will enhance my classroom and help me to engage my students in a way that will help them learn and be able to use what they are learning into their world outside of school.  I also want to work harder on collaboration with others.  I know I do not have all the answers and know what works all of the time.  Working with and talking to other teachers will help me become a better teacher as well as incorporate new ideas into my classroom!


Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #40 
My biggest "a-ha moment" was really just the reminder that I need to continually strive to improve and find new ways to teach my content. Sometimes my planning team can get stuck in a rut, and they want to do the same activities from year to year. Things don't always work when I change them, but Mr. Burgess reminded me that a "failed" lesson isn't really a big deal in the scheme of things. We get to start over every day and sometimes every period.

One of my favorite quotes from the second half: "We aren't just teaching facts to memorize or skills to learn; we're uplifting lives and helping students fulfill their human potential." I love this because I feel like it expresses what my ultimate goal as a teacher really is.

Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #41 
My "ah-ha moment" is to continue to have fun and do what I know works best for my class, which includes ME!  I think if I have some hooks ready to go for next school year I will be more likely to use them. I also need to "just do it" even if no one else wants to put in the effort. 

Quote- Don't let the critics steal your soul.  

*Thanks for doing this book club, I read this book 2 years ago for a school assignment.  As I read it a second time and paid attention to my highlights I really enjoyed it even more*

Posts: 11
Reply with quote  #42 
My biggest ah-ha was "Don't let critics steal your soul." I have dealt with this for years, and it often interferes with my focus and purpose. The neighbors and colleagues who believe that my class has too much fun, the kids like me and my class too much, we don't work hard enough in my class have fed myself doubt and made me question my effectiveness in my classroom. I have come away from reading this book with a renewed belief that my teaching philosophies are valid, and I will continue to work in a nontraditional way to create interest in my class and lead my students to think critically and insightfully.

"Resist any movement that attempts to clone teachers and lessons and instead rejoice in the fact that it is your individuality and uniqueness that will always lead you to become the most effective teacher that you can be."

Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #43 
My aha moment is it's amazing that so many hooks and methods can be used to capture the attention of all kids and make them love school! It's insane how many things were mentioned that I didn't even think to do until now!

Favorite Quote(s) from Part III-
1)"Do you want to be safe and good, or do you want to take a chance and be great?"
Tho quote is one to live by to truly live life to the fullest.
2)"I can't give you a surefire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time." This quote comforts me that going against the grain or standing up for what's right whether it comes to school standards or out the box ideas regardless of what others may think is ok. Focusing on their thoughts and shying away from the greatness that I can obtain is where the failure lies.

Posts: 12
Reply with quote  #44 

My biggest a-ha moment was in Part II: Crafting Engaging Lessons.  I am guilty of saying I’m not creative or my creativity only happens randomly.  As I read through the book I learned/realized that for many of us creativity is something that you actually brainstorm, think about with intent, and plan for.  The example given in the text was about inviting guest to you home for a meal and serving them an unsatisfactory meal.  One where the meat is under cooked or failing to provide something that would satisfy all of my guest.  I now have a different mindset.  I intend to treat my students as guest to my cookout by providing well prepared and engaging lessons that will meet the needs of all of my students.  I plan to spend more time developing hooks that will retain the attention of my students to the point that they want to do what we’re doing because it’s fun. 

BONUS:  My favorite quote is from Timothy Ferriss – “Having an unusually large goal is an adrenaline infusion that provides the endurance to overcome the inevitable trials and tribulations that go along with any goal.”  For me this quote spoke to every aspect of my life.  It’s during those times that I have a seemingly insurmountable goal that I am super excited about it doesn’t matter what obstacles come up I approach them from a different perspective.  I look at them as how can I chunk this so that I can manage it better.  From a spiritual perspective I have to remind myself that there is no problem too big or too small that with God’s help I cannot achieve.  I think that we as educators tend to lose sight of the possibilities along the way.  That’s why it’s important to build healthy relationships with others who can offer encouraging words when you most need it to jolt you to get your head back in the game. 

Posts: 38
Reply with quote  #45 
My biggest Aha moment was the Mystery Bag Hook, openly hiding something from the class.  I will use a guess what is in the bag this year as a hook.

The best quote, "Life is too short to be small."
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