All You Need is...Enthusiasm


This week in the 7th grade, we were investigating the Northumbrian Renaissance. Teachers know this as an interesting and intriguing era in history, but it is sometimes difficult to get 7th graders excited, or even remotely interested in it. 

I have enough experience to know that kids respond to material depending on the way the teacher introduces it, so I always try to infuse excitement or intrigue in whatever I do.  However, this week, after reading Dave Burgess's Teach Like a Pirate, I was reminded to infuse enthusiasm into ALL that I teach.  Re-energized, I was never so excited to teach about the Northumbrian Renaissance as I was this week.

I introduced the same inquiry project that I have been using in the 7th grade for the past 6 years or so, but the response I got was completely and entirely different. I had barely passed out the instructions, and was, in fact, still talking about the project options when the room focused energy and excited discussion about potential groups and inquiry topics. 

The resulting projects? Not a single one of my options was chosen.  Each student chose to modify my offerings into deeper, more complex inquiry projects.  Some chose to work together, when ordinarily, these students would prefer to work alone.  I just watched the chaos unfold, and was so happy to see my students get right to work, without needing me to remind them to focus, or to redirect their energy.  It was fantastic!  I can't wait to see what they come up with by the end of this week.  Watch this space, since I will post their results here.


Wow, Beth!! Thank you so much for mentioning the impact of Teach Like a PIRATE. It's a book I poured my heart into so your kind words are very greatly appreciated. I look forward to hearing about the results.

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