Saturday, March 21, 2009

MMSA Highlights: Power Teacher

There is nothing quite like feeling of having your fire re-lit from time to time. Ever have those days where you just feel like your passion for your job just isn't there? I have been feeling this way for the past few weeks and looking for something help me find that passion again in teaching. This is when I to start all"geeked up". Geeked up for me is when I get really excited about something, it becomes all I think about, and ideas start flowing out.

Well, I just left an outstanding workshop about a exciting teaching strategy that has geeked me up in all kinds of ways. It is called Power Teaching. Power Teaching is a teaching system that is founded on two key principles: the system could be fun and free. I like that. This started with three teachers, Chris Biffle (college), Jay Vanderfin (kindergarten) and Chris Rekstad (4th grade) in Southern California.

The whole concept of Power Teaching is based around five simple rules:
1. Follow directions quickly
2. Raise your had for permission to speak
3. Raise your had for permission to leave your seat
4. Make smart choices
5. Keep your dear teacher happy (nice catch all)
I know this all sounds standard issue, but there is a difference. Each rule has a hand gesture that is assigned with it. Example, for rule one a teacher would say, 'Class, rule one' the class would then repeat the rule while performing the hand gesture. This action is performed every time a rule is broken. This helps with reinforcement of classroom rules and consistency.

"Teach, Okay" is another key practice in this system. For this practice, a teacher will address the class and give a "Micro Lecture". This is when the teacher presents a short lecture (about 1 minute) about the day's lesson. The teacher will go through their lecture and associate hand gestures with everything they are describing. While the teacher is presenting, the students are mirroring their gestures and behavior. At the end of the end of the lecture, students are told 'Teach!' to which they reply by saying 'OK!' Students will then turn and teach to a classmate while performing the same hand gestures the teacher had taught. When the teacher needs the classes' attention they would say 'class' to which everyone would reply 'yes'.

Class-yes is a strategy that serves as an excellent management tool. To get the attention of the class the teacher would simply say 'Class!' and then they reply 'Yes!'. Next is the catch, the hook that makes this fun, and gets them invested in it in a way that has them looking at me and grinning rather than continuing their conversations. When the teacher says 'Class!' and they say 'Yes!' they have to say it the way their teacher said it. If the teacher says 'Classity-class-class!' they have to say 'Yessity-yes-yes!'. If it is said it loudly, they have to respond loudly. If it is said with a whisper, they respond in a whisper. They have to match the tone and intensity of the instructor.

Above is a video of a professor teaching Power Teaching Basics with his college class

This is a video of a 11 year old teaching a Communication Arts lesson using Power Teaching

These are just a few of the practices used in this system and there are so many worth while practices used in this system. I realize that my little blog post doesn't come close to doing the system justice, but it something that has me all "geeked up" and what better forum to express it?

Power Teaching fits great with teachers who have high energy and more importantly it keeps students engaged through practices that can be fun. That's what it is all about, it doesn't matter how fun/silly your message is, as long as that message is being heard. I would like to invite everyone to check out their website and "steal" some ideas.

Mr. McClung

1 comment:

Jenny B. Jones said...

Will have to check out Power Teaching, but I know something that fuels teaching passion for those in Arkansas, like your sister and me...SPRING BREAK.

Sorry you cannot participate.