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Paperback Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56 Book

ISBN: 0143112864

ISBN13: 9780143112860

Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56

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Book Overview

Read Rafe Esquith's posts on the Penguin Blog. The New York Times bestseller that is revolutionizing the way Americans educate their kids-"Rafe Esquith is a genius and a saint" ( The New York Times ) Perhaps the most famous fifth-grade teacher in America, Rafe Esquith has won numerous awards and even honorary citizenship in the British Empire for his outstandingly successful methods. In his Los Angeles public school classroom, he helps impoverished...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Cornucopeia

TEACH LIKE YOUR HAIR'S ON FIRE was our book club's recent selection. Several members are retired teachers, and were stupified at the amount of time the author devotes to his class... and somewhat skeptical. Those of us who aren't teachers found literally dozens of fascinating, practical tips about interacting with children in a variety of situations... travel, reading, character development, dining, finances... This is a terrific book, not only because it paints a fantastic picture of possibilities and change, but also because it is infused with such enthusiasm.

For Teachers Who Think They Are Alone!

I am a first year teacher actually an assistant teacher. I admire the author who has received the National Medal of the Arts and an honorary M.B.E. (Member of the Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II. I bought this book and read it in one sitting. I have to say that I skimmed over the physical education and science because I teach language arts. I have three students who have failed language arts in the previous year. The worst fact is that the students today are easily bored, not disciplined at home, easily distracted, and disruptive in the classroom. It's not just in his school but in all schools. For those of us who are easily discouraged but we keep trying because we love the material but the problem might be our techniques. You keep experimenting like Esquith does with his students. I truly believe that fear is not appopriate. THe classroom should be a safe place of learning and Esquith does argue that students should not be forced to work in order to escape punishment. His students go to the best colleges around and keep in constant contact with him. He has friends like Sir Ian McKellen CBE CH, Michael York OBE, Patrick Stewart OBE, and Sir Peter Hall CBE who are amazed at the HObart Shakespearans who perform first rate productions even at 10 years old. I think we could enhance our students by teaching them to watch responsible television, study films, and read classic books instead of books that are dumbed down to their level. I cannot imagine what goes on in room 56 that has kids who are so well-behaved, refuse to miss a day of class, or so enhanced in the learning process.

A Must-Read for Every Teacher

Rafe Esquith is vulnerable, challenging, inspiring and honest. These qualities reveal themselves in this candid look at his own teaching practices, and how he has been able to motivate fifth grade students in a rough school district of Los Angeles to succeed in glorious ways. The winner of a variety of national awards, Esquith uses his words to encourage and challenge readers to demand the best they have to offer, and to demand the same from the students they work with. I read the book cover to cover, and was inspired to become a better teacher. If you are looking for hope, inspiration and growth as a teacher or parent, then this book is for you.

Recommended Reading for Teachers Everywhere

This book by National Medal of the Arts winner Rafe Esquith will probably be a bitter pill for many school teachers to swallow. Frankly, when I finished the book, I was wondering if he does anything else in his life except being involved in creative activities with his students or preparing for them. Does the guy ever stop to take a breather? Does he ever spend any leisure time with adult friends? Does he take a bathroom break now and then? His account of his teaching practices often appears to be the educational enterprise on steroids! But I will say I was impressed with his dedication and his abilities and might suggest that with more teachers like him, we might not have the "problems" we do in our current public school system. I spent seventeen years in the public school system as a teacher and administrator. So I know something about how the system works. I am also aware that many of my views regarding the public schools were then and still are controversial and today most likely "politically incorrect." While I find nothing wrong with Esquith's general teaching methods, curricular ideas, or classroom management techniques, there is one thing -- and only this one thing -- of which I would be critical. Never would I have permitted a student to call me by my first name or, for that matter, allowed the teachers or other school workers I supervised to engage in such a practice. Call me old-fashioned or just not "with it," but I think that sort of familiarity is just not conducive to good classroom management. However, when Esquith gets into the issue of testing, there I am with him completely if I understand his opinions. Mass standardized testing for the purpose of comparing schools or measuring one school district against others or whatever, is, in my considered opinion, very destructive and mostly deceptive. Testing or measuring or what is often generally called "educational evaluation" is important to be sure. The problem involves the purpose or purposes for which such evaluation is done. In a school where I was the administrator for seven years, we tested the kids twice a year -- at the beginning of the year and in the final week of the school year -- using a standardized test called the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. At the time I thought this was the best instrument to test those basic skills every child ought to learn in order to actually learn, either in school or on his or her own. We did not, however, use the results of the testing to determine how we compared with other schools or districts, either locally or nationwide. The results were never openly published. The results were used for only two purposes: (1) individual pupil diagnoses to determine what that individual was already proficient at and what weaknesses needed to be addressed during the school year; and (2) a diagnosis of our current curriculum and teaching methodologies to see where and what we as educators needed to improve. The entire professional staff was involved in

Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56

As a public school teacher, I often lament about all the frustrating and pointless changes that I have had to endure over the course of my 23 years of teaching. The madness of chasing after accountability has slowly been sapping the energy out of myself and I am sure out countless others in the teaching profession. Just when I was thinking all hope was lost I stumbled upon this incredible book by Rafe Esquith. In the tradition of Chicken Soup for The Teacher's Soul, this book truly does remind us about what motivated us to become teachers in the first place: Our Students. The true beauty of this book is that it is written by someone who is actually in the trenches. Mr. Esquith has been teaching in the same school for 22 years in a less than desirable location in Los Angeles. This clearly adds to the credibility of his message and the inspirational affect the book has on the reader. In short Rafe Esquith "gets it". He shares in the book his own frustration with a "test happy" system that has gone mad, and how it drives him crazy. Yet despite this reality, he has still one sanctuary left that he has control over and that is Room 56 at Hobart Elementary School. The book is a beautiful blend of practical suggestions and inspirational proof of what takes place in room 56. As a teacher at the high school level I was skeptical about how I could incorporate any strategy that he used in a 5th grade classroom with juniors and seniors. What I learned however, is the message he tries to convey to his students, "be nice and work hard" though simple, has relevance for any age level. This book is a must for all teachers. Whether you are a wet behind the ears newbie or a slightly graying grissly veteran like myself, this book will inspire you. The book is also great for anyone who needs to believe that there are still inspirational people in the world. I know this is going to be a book that I keep very handy as a reminder to me about why I do what I do. Thank God for incredible human beings like Rafe Esquith. I know he did not write this book for recognition or praise because he is clearly a level VI thinker, but I am thankful he did. This book can and should inspire generations of current and future teachers for years to come. Mike Elko-Langhorne, PA - Go Falcons
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