Saturday, December 5, 2009

December's Book of the Month

December's Book of the Month, Santa Claustrophobia, authored by Mike Reiss and illustrated by David Catrow is a comical children's book that begins "North of the North Pole and south of the stars, lies a beautiful village called Stinky Cigars..." Principal Phillips, a former Kindergarten teacher, reads aloud beautifully and has the ability to engage the adult teacher audience. The room is full of giggles and teachers thoroughly enjoy their experience as she reads.

Each month, Mrs. Phillips ties a strategy to the Book of the Month, and this month's strategy is Fun Theory. As our forty minute session got underway, she engaged the teachers in a fun game of charades that involved parts of the text, the teachers then used their gestures throughout the text each time they heard their phrase, just an added piece of interactive fun! Then, after reading the text, she introduced the Fun Theory experiment.

She encouraged teachers, in this month of joyful celebration, to engage students and offer joyful fun experiences in their classrooms. Joyful classrooms offer rich learning environments where students enjoy active involvement and participation which leads to deeper learning.

As a coach, this strategy is very interesting to me, because it is all about the classroom culture. From my first hand experience, the classrooms that I enjoy visiting most are those that are joyful. Where students are excited about learning, where they sing, dance, and act silly, but not just for fun--for engaged learning activities. That is why I love visiting classrooms with interactive Skills Blocks, where teachers have replaced mundane pencil and paper activities with active participation from students. These classrooms don't sacrifice learning, in fact many times the learning is richer and lasts longer. I have to think if I am more engaged when I visit these classrooms, then students must be, too.

1 comment:

Mrs.Mallon & Mrs. Dillard said...

Suzanne,
You are so right about the learning and having fun at the same time. We feel if we are not having fun and want to be in the classroom, how could the kids? Our day is spent with these beautiful children and we owe it to them to make the learning creative, exciting, and of course, fun!! MM