I, Joy Kirr, am a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. My 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of my learning experiences... Want to have me speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is my PORTFOLIO.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Instant Relevance

Teacher confession: I try to not purchase professional books...

Reasons? I have them on my Amazon wishlist that parents of my students and parents of my own can see. I have reviewed a few books I've gotten for free, and also "earned" others by reviewing those. Bonus - I also happen to WIN quite a few!!

This year, I've won TWO books! I won Kids Deserve It by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome at ICE17 (wrote about that one here), and just last weekend I won Instant Relevance by Denis Sheeran at a local EdCamp in DesPlaines!

When I first heard it was written by a statistics professor, I wondered about it's relevance in my 7th grade ELA brain.

Then I heard it wasn't just for math.

Then I heard it was funny.

Then I found myself at that EdCamp (thanks, Amanda Hager!), hoping they called my number, and hoping no one took that book off the table!!

Then I wanted to finish reading the YA book (that was over 400 pages and too YA for my 7th graders anyway) quickly!

Then I read half of it in one afternoon, and I thought... This is like the chapter in Dave Burgess's Teach Like a Pirate where he wants us to "Ask and Analyze." The story he tells that got me thinking of Denis's book, is how, after he purchased a Honda Odyssey, there were suddenly a gazillion (okay, maybe an exaggeration) Honda Odysseys everywhere! Keep your eyes open - and use what you discover to share with your students! That's how you "become" creative!

Denis doesn't use those same words, but it seems that I'm refreshed (again). I'm looking through a different lens (again) - for anything that could be relevant for my students in the context of ELA. Just today, my coworker Karen shared an awesome blog post regarding fidgets that she found from another coworker on Facebook. I whole-heartedly agreed with her that we should use it for our Article of the Week!! (There are lots of them out there now, but this one had a great sarcastic tone that we wanted to use to show bias.)

This book is NOT about math.

This book is about bringing LIFE to your content area.

This book is about letting children in your charge know you care about them enough to use relevant "real world" ideas, in a place that IS their "real world."


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