"Provide and uncommon experience for your students and they will reward you with an uncommon effort and attitude."
This summer, over 60 agriculture teachers from across the United States participated in the NAAE Virtual Book club. This year, the selected read was Teach like a Pirate by Dave Burgess.
An award winning U.S. History teacher at West Hills High School in San Diego, California, Burgess' approach to teaching is "uncommon- outrageous," as he refers to it. With almost 20 years of teaching experience, he specializes in teaching hard-to-reach and hard-to-motivate students with techniques that incorporate showmanship and creativity.
Participants in the book club learned about Burgess' teaching and classroom management methods as they relate to living a PIRATE lifestyle: Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask and Analyze, Transformation and Enthusiasm.
The book club began by evaluating the first three days of the school year with play dough. Later, the discussion transitioned to the three-circle model and then dove directly in to the art of mastering transitional hooks in the classroom. From strengthening units to overhauling classrooms completely, each participant gained valuable knowledge to enhance their classrooms through each activity and discussion. The book club members were also able to virtually meet Burgess during a live online discussion.
Keeping true to Burgess' form, assignments varied between discussions and idea sharing, self-reflection, group conference calls, and goal setting. For completing tasks, teachers were given gems to go in their personal treasure chest. There were even some surprise doubloons awarded for going the extra mile! To see the work of the Virtual Book Club, check out the Virtual Book Club page on Communities of Practice, or search #naaereads on social media.
I would like my students to say that I inspired them in some way. Whether it was to get involved in the FFA, apply for awards, try public speaking, graduating high school or college. My goal to achieve this is to make establishing relationships and connecting with all students a higher priority especially the first few days of school.
To our pirates, our crew and our new Captains, this is our final assignment for the summer! Thanks for sailing with us!
Finding the Black Pearl
So far, you have created goals, learned what it means to be a pirate, and have your crew in place. After navigating the high seas last week, it’s time to find your final treasure: the elusive black pearl. The black pearl is rare, and highly sought after. It is something we can strive for as agricultural educators, to be those rare black pearls in a treasure chest full of gems.
Throughout this course we have talked about our goals, and what we want to accomplish with lessons or units during the school year, but what is one word or phrase that you want students/faculty/administrators to use to describe your classroom this year? Five years from now?
Furthermore, what is your lasting impact or legacy that you want to leave on your school and community when you retire? Do you want to be known as Black Bart, Captain Kidd, Blackbeard, or Captain Morgan or Captain (Insert Your Name Here)?
Write a short post or discussion to answer the above questions and post in the Virtual Book Club space.
Remember to maintain the pirate’s life- don’t spend all your treasure in one place, or at one time. Also keep in mind that your treasure chest is not full. There are always more gems and rare coins to find; more tools to use for your classroom.
Be sure to click “Receive Email Notifications” (see below) on the top right of the Virtual Book Club homepage to see bonus hints, tips, and activities throughout the year, as well as when information for the 2016 book club read will be announced!