This past week, my district sent all of us us eager teachers to a presentation on Michael Schmoker on his book Results Now. I turned to a fellow teacher and said "This sounds like a satire. How can anyone seriously name their book Results Now?" She laughed because it would be a great satire wouldn't it?
Because this guy was serious, I took notes. The main argument of this book is less worksheets, less movies, and less projects while incorporating more discussion, more critical thinking, and more higher learning. Well... of course. Don't we all want our children to be critical thinkers?
I love discussion. I love critical thinking. I love higher levels of learning. The truth of the matter is that not all of my students want to be engaged learners, and not all of my students can remember which parts of speech are necessary for a complete sentence. I'm sorry to say... I don't know how to do it without a worksheet.
I left the speaker feeling a little sad. I left wondering how I could be everything to every student.
One of my favorite books is Teach like Your Hair is on Fire. Maybe we could listen to him next year. This teacher has taught fifth graders Shakespeare. Though I don't think he uses a million worksheets to do it, he truly is an inspiration to teachers. I love to be "fired up" about teaching.
I love poetry, literature, and even grammar. I want my students to love them too. I think I've had some success because I am enthusiastic about these concepts. I tell the kids; "I'm so excited to talk about prepositional phrases." They laugh even though they know I'm serious. Not all of my lesson plans are a stroke of genius. I've had students turn in homework that clearly showed they didn't understand the concepts.