Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire bY:Rafe esquith

Esquith, R (2007). Teach like your hair's on fire: Methods of madness inside room 56. London: Penguin.
Recap on what this book is all about:
  • It is about a teacher, Rafe, and all of his experiences throughout his teaching career in room 56
  • This book is all about giving tips to us as future teachers when it comes to many of the common core subjects that we teach. Shows us what has worked and not worked for him and how we can make things better than what they already are now.
1. The classroom remains a place of academic excellence.
2. The six levels: To grow as a student
Standardized Testing
  • Has become known as a nightmare
  • Teachers become overwhelmed by testing
  • So many tests=kids starting to care less
  • Schools worry about test results
  • Classtime is being wasted on standardized testing
  • Stats on pg. 74
How to teach the concept of testing to students EFFECTIVELY
  • "Anything worth doing is worth doing well"
  • HOW you study is more important then HOW MUCH you study (Ex. flashcards)

Advice when Testing

  • Let students know that the tests are just measuring devices (understanding of skill)
  • Teacher won't be upset with students for poor score
  • Teacher won't give up on students
  • Teacher won't compare two students test scores to one another
  • "Each student can because as special as she can be an individual-- should not be compared to the student next to her"

Test Taking Tips

  • Have students learn that questions are carefully designed
  • ex. "playing detective"
  • Correct pre-tests in class (together)
  • ex. not just the answer "c" but include explanation
  • There are more important things than how well you score on a test
  • Test scores are a small part of who you are
History Has Been Forgotten
  1. Teachers tend to focus on math and reading
  2. Teacher asked student where Iraq was and they didn't know
  3. Start making history more interactive: Thinking mentally rather than regurgitating countries on paper
  4. Show actual speeches, nonfiction movies, give background info. before
  5. ex. passport to your national park (taking students places/exploring)

Put Down the books and pick up the equiptment

  • need to be able to observe, experiment, record and analyze
  • Students need to be able to fail, learn from failures (fix their mistakes)
  • Science is very hands on
  • Science is disappearing because lack of money (materials=expensive)
  • Science makes teamwork essential
  • Harder for newer teachers to find the time for science
The Arts
  • students involved in any type of art education are learning about things far beyond the art that they are studying.
  • Beauty of art is that we strive for perfection but never seem to achieve it. The journey is everything.
  • Gets out of the students way when it comes to the arts
  • Once you begin to use arts in the classroom you cannot go back, students will crave the arts

Henri Matisse Art Project

  • He is an example of how artists create because of the need to express themselves
  • Used to be a painter but then became disabled
  • Started cutting abstract shapes into what his artwork is like today
  • A good example of how to learn effects of color
Gym Class
  1. The students will have daily exercise
  2. The students will learn the importance of proper fundamentals
  3. The students will exhibit outstanding sportsmanship at all times
  4. The students will learn the value of teamwork
  5. The students will apply lessons they learn from sports in other areas of their lives
Teaching Valuable Lessons
  • The students would keep track of their spending through out the year
  • They would receive fake money from the teacher for having good behavior, getting a good score, etc.
  • They would also have a check book and learn how to write out a check
  • At the end of the year there would be a silent auction
  • Students learn that if you make good choices with your money than you will be able to get better things at the silent auction therefore taking something away from Rafe's lesson on being smart with money.

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