Week 2 reflection

After reading several blogs about engagement I can see that we have all had some no so successful lessons. I really enjoyed reading Karen’s blog and her sharing with us how she turned her lesson around and made it engaging for the students. WTG Karen! In my blog I shared two articles with 10 steps to engagement each. Ginger shares in her blog an article by Angela Maiers, the “26 Keys to Student Engagement” organized A through Z. Here is the website – BOOKMARK it. http://www.angelamaiers.com/2008/04/engagement-alph.html

It was nice to read that I am not the only one that wanted to highlight and write down all the hooks that Burgess takes about in this book.  I have not enjoyed a graduate level required reading before. I am ordering the hardback of this book for my personal library. Thank you Dr. Lee for picking out such a wonderful book. Looking forward to finishing the book.

I am presenting at our district wide in-service this coming week and I am going to share this book and of course the 26 keys to student engagement with my co-workers across the slope.




To keep my lessons engaging I must first “plan and prepare” for my presentation of the lesson. Sadly I have seen what can happen in my classroom when I try to wig it. But I have seen wonderful things happen in my classroom when the lessons are over the top. Burgess says, “you have to bring energy to your lesson through enthusiasm and showmanship.” (2012) If I am full of energy about the lesson then more than likely my students will have high energy about the lesson.

“The educators at Cochrane Collegiate Academy, in Charlotte, North Carolina, have developed an instructional model called Interactive Learning (IL). It is a collection of their ten best practices, which they call their non-negotiables, and teachers must implement them in every lesson, every day.” (Nobori, 2011) The ten best practices are:

  • Essential Question
  • Activating strategy
  • Relevant Vocabulary
  • Limited Lecture
  • Graphic Organizer
  • Student Movement
  • Higher Order Thinking Questions
  • Summarize
  • Rigorous
  • Student Centered

I do not do all ten of these practices with each lesson but I do do most of them. I let my students experience their learning, all lessons are hands-on, I don’t mind the student getting messy with their learning, I bring the community/culture into every lesson, and most importantly my students are engaged and learning. Burgess talks about hooks and how to get students drawn into our lessons. I start with a hook and I have hooks for interrupts and dead time. As a teacher in an alternative school we often have times when I have to leave the room to deal with a situation. I have to have hooks to bring my students back into the lesson.

Frondeville (2009) lists ten ways of engagement in his article and summarizes how to use for primary, middle and high school grades. They are:

  • Start Class with a Mind Warm-Up
  • Use Movement to Get Kids Focused
  • Teach Students How to Collaborate Before Expecting Success
  • Use Quickwrites When You Want Quiet Time and Student Reflection
  • Run a Tight Ship When Giving Instructions
  • Use a Fairness Cup to Keep Students Thinking
  • Use Signaling to Allow Everyone to Answer Your Question
  • Use Minimal-Supervision Tasks to Squeeze Dead Time out of Regular Routines
  • Mix up Your Teaching Styles
  • Create Teamwork Tactics That Emphasize Accountability

I believe that we need to experience a bad lesson to know how to make them engaging all the time. We need to be prepared for when we think a lesson is going to be a hit and it is not. We need to be flexible and have activities and lessons in our back pocket for days when things just don’t seem to going right.

Work cited

Burgess, D. (2012). Teach like a pirate. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.

Frondeville, T. (2009) How to Keep Kids Engaged in Class. Edutopia.  http://www.edutopia.org/classroom-student-participation-tips. Retrieved on 20 September 2013

Nobori, Mariko. (2011) Ten Tips for Engaging Underperforming Students. Edutopia. http://www.edutopia.org/stw-school-turnaround-student-engagement-tips. Retrieved on 20 September 2013


~Butcher up a caribou (tuttu)~


Week 1 response

Some of my classmates like theatric, just like Dave Burgess, some like using technology, which is what all of our students are passionate about, and some like using different learning styles. I am a mixture of all of them. Because I teach so many different subjects I am more theatric in health and Alaska studies classes. I use technology in all classes but not very passionate about it. I love using different learning styles. I am a hands-on person and love to move around the room. Some days can be BORING and others can be off the wall FUN. As Andrea Stineff stated in her blog “If students are the reason I became a teacher, and the relationship with the students is the key to being a good teacher as stated by Burgess, Kozol, and Urban. Then it goes to say that to maintain my passion for teaching in the face of so much change I must keep my focus on the reason I am there: the students.” I have a personal connection with each of my students and that is what makes them fight to take my class, even is some of my lessons are boring.

Jenn states “passion comes from what you love to do.” I love to teach and educate people. I also love to learn new things. I love to help and be involved with my community. My connection is my community as helped me as a teacher as well.


~Arctic Ocean Ice~ Beautiful



How do we maintain our passion for teaching in the face of so much change?

I have only been in teaching for a short of time so my passion for teaching is fresh and new. Don’t get me wrong there have been days when I wanted to scream and run for the classroom or building but my students are what keep me going.


I have always wanted to be a teacher. When in elementary school my friends and I use to play school. We all took turns being the teacher, principal and students. We loved every minute of it, we all wanted to be Mrs. Titus. Mrs. Titus became my teacher when I was in first grade and stayed my teacher until I moved into 6th grade. We learned our multiplication table by singing and listening to rap song, rapping multiplication. She was a teacher that was a live and was so happy to see us every day. We took adventures in her classroom all around the world, we had teddy bear day, we had classroom competitions, and we did plays for the community and much more. I want to be just like her.

Throughout my junior high and high school years I had a number of different teachers, some great and some not so great. It was my sophomore year in MEHS that I wanted to become a high school science teacher. I had two of the greatest science teachers in the world. I can recall almost all the labs we did in my biology and marine biology class. I was sold. Their passion for teaching us science was over the top. At times I thought they were crazy and I wanted to be just like them.


Dave Burgess writes, “Our students need leaders who are willing to venture forward without a clear map to explore new frontiers. We need mavericks and renegades who are willing to use unorthodox tactics to spark and kindle the flame of creativity and imagination in the minds of the young. We need entrepreneurial innovators who are capable of captaining the educational ship through waters that are rough and constantly changing.” (104) This quote right here reminds me of those teachers that I looked up too. This is the type of teach I work to become.


While obtaining my teacher certificate, in one of my classes we had to write our personal mission statement, in mine I wrote about creating a safe environment and sharing my passion for learning with my students. Sherah B. Carr, Ph.D. writes, “It is my belief that before a person should enter the teaching profession they must first have a love of learning and be willing to share this passion with students.  They need to truly enjoy working with a particular age group of children.  They must possess a core set of beliefs that all children deserve respect and a chance to have a better life through the gift of learning.  They must furthermore understand that is the responsibility of the teacher to be a child advocate.   Teachers must have an understanding of the need to provide a learning environment where children feel safe, respected and challenged. “ (http://www.teachingwithpurpose.com) Today I feel like I am doing all of this and more for my students, with room to grow though. We all have are struggles, don’t get me wrong. I am not wonder woman just a teacher that is passionate about her career.


My passion is kept alive because of my passionate teachers throughout school, my passion for learning, the joy I get from being challenged everyday to become better, the joy I receive from my students and much more. Parker J. Palmers says it like this, “Teaching holds a mirror to the soul. If I am willing to look in that mirror, and not run from what I see, I have a chance to gain self-knowledge—and knowing myself is as crucial to good teaching as knowing my students and my subject. When I do not know myself, I cannot know who my students are. I will see them through a glass darkly, in the shadows of my unexamined life—and when I cannot see them clearly I cannot teach them well. When I do not know myself, I cannot know my subject—not at the deepest levels of embodied, personal meaning. I will know it only abstractly, from a distance, a congeries of concepts as far removed from the world as I am from personal truth.” (Heart of a teacher)


Change is happening everyday. One day I am told I have to follow this protocol or teach this subject or deal with this situation and the next day it is totally different. I say, “Teach each day as if it were your last, make each day count, and remember why you became a teacher in the first place.”



Burgess, D. (2012). Teach like a pirate. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.


Carr, Sherah B. Ph.D. Teaching with passion. www.teachingwithpurpose.com/passion.html Revised 03/29/2011


Palmer, Parker J. Heart of a teacher. Change Magazine, Vol. 29, Issue #6, pp. 14-21, Nov/Dec 1997. Reprinted with Permission of the Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation. Published by Heldref Publications, 1319 18th St. N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036-1802, 1-800-365-9753, Copyright 1997. http://www.couragerenewal.org/parker/writings/heart-of-a-teacher



~Passion for skin sewing ~

This young lady is making rabbit mittens for herself. First time sewer!