Monday, January 4, 2016

Excellent Reads: Live From Your Class

Whether discussing with their PLC, looking for the perfect book for the beach, or needing some fresh ideas, educators are always looking for excellent books to add to their reading list. Although Marzano and Dweck offer sage research findings, practical books like Teach Like a Pirate are gaining ground because they can provide teachers with practical tools and ideas for their teaching toolbox.

Live From Your Class:

You may want to add Jaime Mason Cohen's book  LIVE FROM YOUR CLASS: Everything I Learned About Teaching, I Learned From Working At Saturday Night Live to your list. Jaime is a teacher and former employee of SNL legend, producer, and creator Lorne Michaels. Many of the tricks of the entertainment trade apply to the classroom, especially if you are looking for creative and innovative ways to stimulate your passion for teaching, engage students, and stimulate learning.

The practical set up of the book makes it easy to gather ideas and apply them immediately. Each chapter is known as a "lesson." At the beginning of each lesson, there is a snippet of Jaime's SNL story, where he shares lessons that he learned while working for Lorne Michaels. Each chapter contains practical and action steps Jaime has applied to his own classroom, which can be easily applied to yours.

Here are some of my favorite pieces of the book:

  • Cohen describes how writers pitch ideas for SNL skits during a weekly meeting. If writers didn't immediately grab their audience's attention within the first 60 seconds, the piece generally didn't make it to SNL. Cohen describes how important the first 60 seconds of instruction are. How are you hooking learning during this time? 
  • How important it is to share your story with students because of the credibility, connection, and trust that it builds. 
  • How to use humor to deal with classroom management issues. 
  • I love the story Cohen tells of being stood up for a date, a Tibetan Buddhist Nun, and a steamroller. It is a must read!
  • There are also great ideas on implementing technology, the power of resilience, relationships, and Part 2 of the book "When You are Laughing, You are Learning." 
Conclusion

Educators are always looking for practical and unique ideas to add to their toolbox. Cohen's unique blend of practicality, wisdom, and humor will change the way you engage, teach, and connect with students. 

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