I went to Hilliard, Ohio (near Columbus) this past week for the 2 day ILE Conference (Innovative Learning Environments) and the EdCamp on day 3. Some sessions and conversations on getting/being connected, grading/#SBG/#TTOG, maker in the classroom, a Superintendents year one reflections....all good and expanded the network with some wonderful people (and many conversations I have been unable to get going in my District).
What I really went for was to hear Dave Burgess, the lead Pirate, speak (#TLAP @burgessdave). I read the book a while back, and have been in #TLAP discussions and chats with Dave (& his wife Shelley) , but I had not met or seen him yet. The ideas in the book resonate with me, though I don't believe I can be as much a Pirate as Dave, some of those examples just aren't me, though I am a Pirate in my own way (you have to be yourself). Meeting him & hearing him speak (quickly at times) is a great refresher on the ideas....and sometimes "old" ideas pop to the forefront. I tweeted out as many quotes as I could. I'll just mention a couple here.
He was not able to do the whole acronym in the time available (that takes AT LEAST all day)
Ask and Analyze
Show the Passion you have for your content, and for parts of the content your are not so passionate about bring your Passion for why you got into the business of education or bring/mix in a personal passion that you have (Dave's is magic).
There is no magical curriculum or program, the magic is with the Teacher and how the do things in the classroom with enthusiasm and charisma...like a preacher or a DJ (deliver a message, bring energy, spark action or change)....
Have PROPS and images, add more music, create an EXPERIENCE (not just a lesson)...PIMP your lesson by asking questions, good questions, searching questions, not just "can I" but "how many ways can I ...." turn your space into another place (the tundra, a court room, a plane, ...), turn your content into Pirate treasure that they anticipate and want...build anticipation (preheat the grill).....be prolific not perfect with your ideas (the only way to good ideas is to have lots of ideas)...WE WILL FAIL, turn it into feedback, the kids will be back tomorrow and we will fix it....you have to go through multiple failures and multiple iterations (growth mindset)
Kids should be makers, not memorizers, Make learning stick, memorable and fun, Put handles on the content so it is easy for them to pick up, work the ideas/content/presentation so students demand to see it/ learn it.
Start with one new idea and build your repertoire. What 5 words do you want to describe your class?
Control everything at your disposal to make school amazing for kids.....
(it aint supposed to be easy, it is supposed to be worth it)