A unique professional development initiative has Marshall Elementary teachers learning to ‘Teach Like a Pirate’
Posted on 02/16/2018
Teach Like a Pirate at Marshall ES

Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess is the latest book study for Marshall Elementary teachers participating in the Teacher as Readers initiative. Marshall Elementary teachers are not only reading the book, but over a two-month period they meet to discuss it and determine more effective teaching strategies. The book is an inspirational manifesto based on seminars by Burgess that shares techniques and ideas on how teachers can boost their creativity in lesson plans and establish a rapport with students in order to increase student engagement in the classroom.

English of Second Languages Teacher Rebecca Tinsley said, “We have learned that creativity can be developed in all classrooms and that both our personal and professional passions can be used to enhance our instruction.  Teachers have had opportunities to share their own creative hooks while brainstorming new ones to use in the future.”

During this unique professional development opportunity, teachers attend five meetings that are scheduled before the start of the school day for about 50 minutes each.  

Lara Biendl, a gifted teacher said, “We are focusing some of our discussion on viewing our classrooms and lessons through the eyes of students who are gifted and ESOL students so that we can better serve those populations.”

This is Marshall Elementary’s second Teachers as Readers book study. The first featured a book by Mary Cay Ricci titled Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Culture of Success and Student Achievement in School. This book is based on the work of Stanford University Psychologist Dr. Carol S. Dweck. 

Biendl explains, “Our goals for our previous Teachers as Readers group on Mindsets in the Classroom were to develop our understanding of Carol Dweck's theory of Mindsets and to implement the study of Mindsets with our students in the classroom. As a school we wanted to promote an environment where students understand that failure is not a roadblock, but just a step on the road to success. We have worked with our students through the study of Mindsets to create a culture that encourages learning at all stages. Our study also focused on how Mindsets affect our ESOL students, who work daily to learn our curriculum as well as the language, and our gifted students, who are often fearful of taking risks so as to avoid failure.” 

Both books were selected by Principal Dr. Kristin Waldrop to promote the school’s vision, which is creating "a caring and supportive community developing a strong foundation for success."