Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Teach Like A Champion-a few months later

If you follow this blog you may remember that our school book club decided to read the book, Teach Like A Champion.  Tomorrow (well now today), I am going to present about this book study  at a meeting of literacy book clubs at the elementary level at our school board.  To read my initial bog just click here.
I think this book club worked out rather well.  First our school goal is in the area of social responsibility so that this book was kind of a perfect fit.  Our students are vibrant and fun but sometimes listening skills are not the best.  Our students are chatty.  We also are a school with a high number of students who have English as an additional language.  I think this book gave us all some great management strategies and ideas to have more efficient classrooms and more listening and participatory classrooms. 
Much of the "research" and examples were done in American charter schools and for us Canadians, things at times seemed almost militaristic but we all kind of swallowed that part of it. But I think we all loved the idea that runs throughout this book that all students can achieve.  Many of the strategies really worked at getting all students to participate and be actively engaged.  It also helped give us common language.  We were also able to link strategies in the book to what we were already doing.
We had really good discussions at our "formal" meetings and often informally in the staffroom.  Other staff members became interested in the book as well. 
When we met to look at our school goal for this year and next year I think that we were influenced by our discussions in book club as we look at increasing common language and expectations in the school.
Book clubs in general I think are a great idea.  We introduced them in our board while I was a consultant and I think they have generally been successful but there are a few keys to success.  Set up your meeting times at the beginning of the year.  Commit to meeting and agree on how you are going to approach the book.  In our case we discussed strategies we had used, we didn't all read the same pages at the same time and that seemed to work for us with this book.  We did have a framework to use for note taking and discussion.  I also kept minutes and distributed them which people found helpful.  We had a group e-mail list.  Food is good.  I tried to remember to bring a snack. 
One nice part for us is that I actually have three periods a week to do literacy activities in other classrooms so that initially I was able to help with some of the implementation of strategies.  Several of our group members actually worked with different classes so that was helpful as well to give the bigger view.  I think we also loved in this case that we had both primary and intermediate teachers in our group. 
 When I surveyed our group members last week we all felt positively about the book and the experience.  People are planning to keep using it and to use it for setting up next year.  We totally agree this is a great gift for any beginning teacher or good to be used with student teachers.  
For more information check out the facebook page.  I thought this was quite interesting. 
And thanks to my friend, the commodity trader, for giving me this book.  Here's one of our classes "slanting" (sitting up, listening, ready to ask and answer questions, nodding when appropriate, and tracking the speaker or in this case photographer).

No comments: