Sunday, March 4, 2012

Teach Like A Champion Post #1

Hey Kid Team! I hope you have read the intro to Teach Like A Champion as well as chapter 5. I really loved the introduction and how this book talks about taking good teachers and making them great! We have good teachers at NMS and we just need to work on growing the culture here! I am really excited about the possibilities! The staff is outstanding, we will use the techniques in this book to make the culture outstanding also! Teaching truly is an art and science - and as we read this book, and put names to techniques that many of us have already been using, plus new ones we haven't, our culture is sure to become one of achievement!

Chapter 5
I love this chapter. I can't wait to hear your thoughts about the 5 Principles of Classroom Culture! I am ready to hear!!!


  1. As the introduction states -'Great teaching is an art and great teaching relies on the mastery and application of foundational skills'. So...we [all of NMS]should use the book, especially chapter 5 as the field study guide to help change the culture and being of our school and all the adults and kids that reside there. Val is right - we are all good teachers and even some of the time GREAT teachers- we all just need each other to help remind us about what we need to do. We need someone who can ask us the hard questions, to give feedback and to remind us of how we can use the 5 Principles df Classroom Culture to foster that cohesiveness that NMS needss

    1. "Teach Like a Champion" is one of the tools we will use to help shape our artisans to become master teachers. I agree that teaching is an "art" and we will help our teachers cultivate their craft to become masters!

  2. Wow!!! I was blown away by this one! It gives very specific things to do to get us out of the "Death Spiral" that we seem to be in!! The "Five Principles" really spoke to me. I ran my highlighter out of ink on this chaper!

  3. Steve you are right!! If I was a highlighter type person mine would have also run dry!!! The 'death spiral' that NMS has been in can be eliminated if we can get a total buy in from all our staff. The techniques for the 5 Principles will lead our staff with their students up and out of the abyss. The administration can then become the instructional leaders we are supposed to be instead of the disciplinarians we are now. We will be able to teach discipline instead of hand it out!!

  4. " analyzed their teaching moves with more enthsiasm and attention to detail than virtually anyone else in the history of American Education..." What a great way to look at it!

    I really like how he researched teachers in the classroom to compile his data and share the strategies in this book. Observing multiple classrooms have helped me shape my thinking about education and how students learn best.

    I think there is value in analyzing what we have seen and looking at teaching with a critical eye so that we can make our school the best that it can be. Teaching is a hard job but I truly love how this book gives short, clearly-defined strategies for the art of teaching!

    The 5 principles were so eye-opening to me!!!!! It gave a name to what we know about great classrooms... there have to be all 5 parts!

  5. I was looking back at the introduction and thought that this line was worth reading again...."...(students) take their seats, pull out their notebooks, and, as if by magic, think and work like scholars. In each of those classrooms stands one teacher - an artisan whose attention to technique and execution differentiates her from most of her peers." I felt like this line captured the whole book in its effort to put words to the art of teaching.

    Chapter 5 was such a great explanation of the parts of classroom culture. I have thought about these pieces in various contexts but didn't necessarily think to put them all together. I love the part about teaching students how to behave. I have found that at NMS and any school, it is so important to help students see how to behave and be successful. The engagement piece struck a chord as well, because I do believe if they work from bell to bell and always have something to do that it helps the classroom culture. I have seen students who didn't seem to care turn around simply because there wasn't an option for sitting there. They had to be involved because it was what was asked of them in a nice and kind way that would not accept no for an answer. I always thought of it as - I am more stubborn than you, and I will do it in the nicest, kindest way possible, but I will get the work in the end. You will get SO tired of me holding you accountable for your work in a nice way so you can't get angry that you will finally say, "Whatever Miss!! Fine, I'll do it!" There was so much that spoke to me in this chapter!! The two pieces that I read and felt like I did well as a teacher were my entry routine and seat signals. I taught kids certain things to do so they could signal me and we would not have to stop instruction - it works well!! The two things I read and felt like I could have done SO much better after reading this were tight transitions and props.... I always knew I wanted tight transitions and sometimes I counted but the strategies here could have made that SO much better!!! I also feel like props is something I didn't do in a concrete, audible way where students took notice. I think that is SO important in a classroom - teaching kids how to give credit to other students for wonderful ideas and work! I love it!

  6. Chpt. 5 is a must read. I like the idea that all 5 principles of classroom culture are synergistic in order to build a strong vibrant classroom. I enjoyed reading about the various techniques, especially the technique of tight transitions in that an effective classroom transitions in less than 30 seconds. On a personal level, I am excited that we are reading and discussing this school-wide and as a team.

  7. I agree with all of you! For me, chapter 5 pulled everything together and really explained why each piece is necessary. I love this book because it takes those pieces that we call "it" and it gives them names and directions on how to do "it". The death spiral is killing us at NMS! The culture has to be grown in the classroom one class at a time. The AP's can no longer "mangage" teachers classrooms! I think the DC's have created a great plan - that will take the whole staff to put in place!!

  8. Wow. I didn't expect to like this book this much but it really delivers. I love that it is honest and that it distinguishes in it's first sentence that teaching is an art in the same way that an artist uses the rawest of materials and turns it into valued assets. I felt like this author got it. He understood how I have felt about teaching all my career. This book is not about million dollar words and "paradigm shifts". It is simple, organized, honest and focused (laser like)! The fact that we are lowly chisels but we can create amazing faces out of stone makes me proud to be counted among the chisels. I learned that great teachers plan objectives and then assessments and then activities and why. It made SO MUCH SENSE! I love that there is a prescribed way to do even the most mundane task but there is a purpose for having a prescribed way. I am a linear thinker (former math teacher - go figure) and this book speaks to me. I like having the same set of definitions and love that the techniques are spelled out for me. I want a cheat sheet for when I teach a lesson with these things written to remind me. The definition of discipline was so cool to me because I had no idea that I operated in the management level thinking that I was in discipline. If I had truly handled discipline this way, I would not have had to be in management as much. It makes sense that we have to teach students how to do what we expect, and that they don't come to us knowing that. I love the way this confirms what I had been doing right. It did grab my attention in Chapter 5 when it talked about the "death spiral". I felt like he was describing many of our kids who seem immune to our management and consequences, and rerlieved to see that there is a solution. We do have to be on the same page with these techniques and this perspective. This is probably the most valuable book I have ever read on education.