Tag Archives: teaching

Arrr Ye Ready to Make This a Great Year, Matey?


You might think this is a post to remind you about Talk Like a Pirate Day, which is scheduled for September 19th.  But that would be a frivolous use of this blog space, right?  I mean, what does that have to do with education?

So, I am not going to try to convince you to talk like a pirate, but I would like to recommend that you Teach Like a Pirate – at least if you can do it the Dave Burgess way.

I first saw a reference to Teach Like a Pirate, by Dave Burgess, on Vicki Davis’ blog.  She referred to his Play-Doh activity, and I was immediately curious about what pirates have to do with Play-Do, much less teaching.  So, I downloaded it to the Kindle app on my iPad (because I wanted it immediately and Amazon told me I would have to wait 4-6 weeks).  And I have to say that I like this guy, Dave Burgess.  Apparently, I’ve been kind of trying to advocate for pirate-teaching for awhile without even realizing it.  Who knew?

In Dave’s case, “pirate” is actually an acronym for: passion, immersion, rapport, ask and analyze, transformation, and enthusiasm.  Dave asks two questions about your teaching: “If your students didn’t have to be there, would you be teaching in an empty room?”  and “Do you have any lessons you could sell tickets for?”

Hmm.  Excellent questions.

Don’t worry.  If you answered, “No,” to both of those questions, Dave has a ton of suggestions for changing things up.  His book includes 30 “Hooks” for engaging minds, including “The Mission Impossible Hook” and the “Reality TV Hook” among others.

I love Dave’s passion and I can’t wait to incorporate some of his ideas this year.  I even found this great video trailer on YouTube for a school that actually hosted a “Teach Like a Pirate” Day, which I would love to see happen at more schools.

Coincidentally, I happened to recently read Kelly Tenkely’s post about “De-Tox Week” at her school, which referenced this Pinterest board of activities that I also think would help me to Teach Like a Pirate.

I am ready to make this a great year, and to make sure my students don’t ever want to “walk the plank” right out of my classroom.  (Sorry, I know that was bad, but I couldn’t resist.)  What about you?


True Colors

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 9.01.06 PM

This performance by John Legend for TED says it all.  This is what all children want to hear from the adults in their lives.  I think it makes a good companion piece to this post by David Brooks, “The Seven Most Important People in A Child’s Life”.  And, maybe it’s the kind of connection high school student, Jeff Bliss, really wishes all teachers would establish with their students…

Real Change: Artists for Education

from "Estella's Brilliant Bus"
from “Estella’s Brilliant Bus”, one of the short clips featured here

Real Change is a television program that will air this evening, Tuesday, April 23rd, on CBS.  According to IMDb, the show “celebrates teachers and individuals who make a difference in American schools today.”

I’m not sure about you, but we are in the middle of standardized testing season here in Texas.  At a time when so many people decry the value of our school system and, sometimes, the abilities of the teachers it employs, it is nice to see some reminders that we educators really can have a positive impact.

Below, I’ve embedded the trailer for the show.  You can find other clips on this page, sponsored by Office Depot.  You can also visit this link online to watch the show – officedepot.com/realchange.  And, if you would like to give a shout out to a favorite educator, you can tweet  it, #TeachersChangeLives.

Interested in seeing more inspirational videos for teachers? Visit my Pinterest Board, http://pinterest.com/terrieichholz/inspirational-videos-for-teachers/.

To a Bright Kid with Trouble(s)

photo credit: A.Ddiction via photopin cc

In view of recent disturbing events, of which the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, is the latest in a series, I thought this post from Tamara Fisher at Education Week Teacher would be particularly apropos for today.  Although it is addressed to a “Bright Kid with Trouble(s)“, I think that all of us who work with children could benefit from the resources and advice in Tamara’s article.  And, her words may remind you of a gifted kid whose life you touch, who may need help and not know how to ask for it.

Standing Ovation for DC Public Schools

Tameka Petticolas – the subject of one of DC Public Schools’s Standing Ovation videos

It is quite obvious from looking at my blog stats that a lot of people on the internet are searching for inspirational videos for teachers.  During this time of year, when many teachers are returning to the classroom to begin a new school year, there is, perhaps, a desire to find some material that will help to motivate and invigorate these educators.

One source for inspirational teacher videos that I discovered recently is a YouTube Channel for DC Public Schools.  On this channel, there are several videos that spotlight Washington D.C. teachers who have won D.C.’s “Excellence in Teaching” Award.

Watching each of these teachers in their classrooms, and their obvious dedication to their students, reminds me of the reasons I went into Education – not for the glory of winning an award, but for the absolute delight exhibited whenever I help a child to reach his or her goal.

From what I can tell, every one of these featured teachers embody the principles of Universal Design for Learning, making them shining examples for teachers all over the world.

The video for one of the teachers, Eduardo Gamarra, is embedded below, or you can go to this link:  http://youtu.be/vy42aoC49LQ

That One Rule


Our district’s teachers returned to work today.  At a gathering of the teachers in our high school cluster, the superintendent of our district invited some very brave secondary students on the stage to answer some questions.  One of the questions was, “If you could change anything about your campus, what would it be?”

Two of the students responded that they would encourage more teachers to “make connections” with their students.  They added that students want to perform better for teachers who “care about us.”  Another student responded that he would like all teachers to come to school “passionate about what they teach” because the teachers’ passions for their subjects inspire their students, and when students see that “teachers don’t care, then we don’t care either.”  The fourth student said that he would like an extra period added to each day because “there isn’t enough time to do all I want to do.”

When I saw the website, That One Rule, I thought about the responses from these students, and wondered what might be “That One Rule” educators and students might submit for making our educational system work.  Scrolling through the other submissions on That One Rule, I did not see any inappropriate ones, but you should be careful about showing it to younger students just in case.  Perhaps a screen shot, or collecting a few of them on Pinterest (sharing buttons are conveniently located on each rule), would be a good conversation starter in your classroom, or your faculty meeting, or in the teacher’s lounge…

When it’s all said and done, what is your One Rule?

Teacher Movies

photo credit: familymwr via photo pin cc

One of the most popular posts on this blog is the one I did in December about my favorite inspirational videos for teachers.  Recently, I saw a post on Edutopia that listed the author’s favorite scenes from “teacher movies” – but they aren’t all inspirational.  I added my favorites to my Pinterest Board, including the ones from Dangerous Minds, Stand and Deliver, Dead Poets’ Society, and Mr. Holland’s Opus.  The post, by Amy Erin Borovoy, also has some links to other collections of teacher movies, which includes The Top Ten Inspirational Teacher Movies, by Beth Accomando.

Watching some of the clips on the Edutopia post made me realize how far we have come, hopefully, in education.  Others worried me, because I think too many people might think that they set the standard for teaching.  In the fight scene from Blackboard Jungle, for example, the teacher, in my estimation, throws gasoline on the fire with his handling of one student’s misbehavior.  Although I certainly don’t condone the student’s actions, I could list at least 5 things that the teacher did to make things worse.

The clip from Mr. Holland’s Opus is a reminder of what this blog is all about – engaging our students and making things relevant to them so they can discover their own passion for learning.