(First published at the Tarrant Center for Innovative Education blog)
Something about this book title and summer reading fits perfectly. The open ocean, pirates, and fierce independence. I’m hoping you have a bit of time to settle into some reading for fun and some that inspires you in the classroom to have students take on more leadership and develop their own independence.
You know when you pick up a book and it just clicks? Learn Like a Pirate, by Paul Solarz is just that kind of book. As a teacher I have been trying to develop ways for students to take more leadership and ownership in the classroom (and beyond). Paul Solarz takes this to a new level– and I wish I had this book years ago. It is, in short, a guidebook for how to give your students voice, choice, leadership and independence in the classroom. The book gives very doable ways for students to take the lead in their own educations– to create classroom environments can foster community, life-long, engaged learning.
Cliff Notes Version:
(aka transformative practices outlined in the book)
Middle school students sometimes come to math class with dread. They think of it as endless worksheets, seat time, and assessments. For many students, the work is hard. They don’t see themselves as math people. One way to reverse this trend is to infuse math learning with inspiration and innovation, with a healthy dose of growth mindset.
While teachers and districts have specific goals of math instruction and these are important, so is engaging, hands on, applied mathematics that can turn around negative math thinking and provide developmentally appropriate learning environments for early adolescents.
One way to do this is Maker Fridays.
A few months ago I offered a short story that I wrote about vicious bus bullying in middle school to readers who pre-ordered my upcoming book called The Order of the Trees. The story– sometimes called Bullying on Bus 10, is a raw and unflinching look at a junior high bus filled with harassment, bullying, and torment. It is based on many true events from my youth.
I was moved by the outpouring of conversation and support for this story. So I created discussion questions to go with the book, search for and linked to resources for parents and teachers, and published the book to Kindle. It is available today, October 1.
Bullying on Bus 10 includes: Continue reading