Thursday, March 6, 2014

Guest Speaker

Over Christmas break, I bought a book: Teach Like A Pirate by Dave Burgess and at @burgessdave . This book has changed how I look at educating students and student engagement. It has re-energized me. It has shaped how I look at presenting my lesson to my students. You should buy it and read it. You will be transformed. I guarantee it.

One of the things I picked up from the book is to have guest speakers come into your classroom. Profound, right? Well, this book talks about using yourself as the guest speaker. I created a hook (read the book for awesome hooks) for the lesson by posting an Instagram picture of a Viking helmet with the caption, "You better make sure you're in class tomorrow for this."

We're also talking a little bit about the Vikings so it worked. I borrowed the helmet from a friend and colleague...follow him here. Kids were intrigued. In the morning the next day, I told them we were having a guest speaker. I left it at that. I got asked about 25 times or more throughout the day when the guest speaker was going to be here. I told them, "Soon." I still had their attention and anticipation. 

The previous interactive notebook social studies lesson involved reading from the text book, answering some questions about the reading (right side), and then having the students write an introduction speech that would introduce Charlemagne to a large group of people (left side). Essentially, the students were writing all about Charlemagne and his accomplishments to introduce him to the people prior to him giving the speech. They were learning and then applying their learning instantly, which is what I love about the interactive notebooks. I then asked the students that wanted to share their intros to come up and read them. I let them use the class microphone. About 5 of them wanted to share. They were each about 2 paragraphs. After the last one went, I put on a tiara that I had in my closet. (I forgot to go to Burger King in the morning to get a manly crown). I stood on a chair because Charlemagne was said to stand very tall. I changed the sound of my voice a little and started off with thanking them for having me come and speak to them about my life. I was the guest speaker as Charlemagne.
I did some research the night before that went a little deeper than our textbook and then gave an interactive speech to them. Some of them just started smiling. Others laughed because they've noticed me getting more out of my shell in class, others were excited, and of course, some were skeptical, as well. They asked me questions and I answered in a way that I thought Charlemagne would answer the questions. Most, if not all of the students, were totally engaged. They asked me questions about the time period. They asked what I would do if the conquered lands wouldn't convert to Christianity. They asked me what area was the easiest to defeat. They asked me lots of questions. I told them how the Pope and I were incredibly tight-knit. It was incredibly inspiring because I could see them craving more. I thanked them for coming when I was done. Then, the students clapped. After I gave their assignment for the day, some were still talking about it. I asked some of the quieter ones what they thought of the guest speaker. They both said it was funny, fun, and that they liked it. 

I think I'll keep the lesson for next year and pull out the guest speaker again sometime. I like learning funny. 



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