Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tottering to the end zone

Mother Reader's 48 Hour Book Challenge is over for another year.

I had such a nice little stack of books that I thought I might read BUT... it was a "wedding" weekend. As entling no. 1 says, you spend a lot of time investigating, weighing, and pondering items and services that you never get to see (such as the actual dress, flowers, table arrangements) until "the day." You spend a lot of time trying to imagine what everything will look like, fit like, sound like and taste like.

For the Book Challenge I managed to read ...
to quote the immortal Count Von Count ...
"ONE, ONE Wonderful book! AH AH AH AH AH!"
[cue thunder and lightning]

And, that book was Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire by Rafe Esquith, 2007

Rafe Esquith does not claim to be a teaching genius. He is honest about mistakes he has made over the years but his dedication to his students and his principled approach to teaching shine through on every page.

His classroom management skills are centered on Lawrence Kohlberg's Six Levels of Moral Development. As I read about his students accomplishments and challenges it occured to me that a teacher can get a lot of teaching done when students are willing to learn and will forgo disruptive behavior.

One the most moving things about Room 56 to me, was the way former students return there on Saturdays to study and learn. Esquith shares lists and resources that he uses and is brutally honest about faculty meetings and the latest ineffective fads in reading and writing instruction.

The Hobart Shakespearians are the stuff of legends. Their annual play must be something to behold.


Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd share this -

I was able to see Esquith and his class at the National School Board Association Conference in San Francisco last year - they were incredible! Very delightful and inspiring. I had seen the PBS documentary on them several months before and had read Esquith's "No Shortcuts" book, and my husband kept needling me to go up and introduce myself while Esquith was there at the conference. I was too chicken, but I did email him after we got home. He was so gracious and very kind in his return email, saying that if I was ever in LA that I should stop by his classroom! What an incredible individual, and his kids are every bit as amazing as you see and read about.

Glad you enjoyed this book!

Camille said...

Wow, how wonderful to have seen him and his students. I was telling my lunchmates about the book yesterday and one of my friends mentioned that she had seen the Hobart Shakespearians at a conference and got all the kids to sign a t-shirt.

How nice to know Esquith is as gracious and kind as he seems.