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Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56    by Rafe Esquith order for
Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire
by Rafe Esquith
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2007 (2007)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Leslie McKee

Room 56 at Hobart Elementary School is not what one would envision when thinking of an inner city Los Angeles classroom. However, Rafe Esquith is not your typical teacher. After 22 years in the field, he has developed strategies to help ignite a passion for learning. If these ideas can work in a school where 78% of the Latino children on campus cannot read proficiently, they can be applied anywhere.

Esquith emphasizes the importance of establishing a classroom based on mutual trust and not fear, as is the case in many classes. He includes tips for teaching reading ('the foundation of life'), writing, math, study skills, history, science, art, physical education, music, economics and problem solving. It is important for the student to understand the why, and not just how, behind what they are learning in his classroom (Room 56). Esquith strives to help his 5th graders become model citizens and not just children who can pass standardized tests.

Esquith also established the Hobart Shakespeareans. This group of students, known worldwide, produces and performs an unabridged Shakespeare play each year ... accompanied by rock songs they learn to play throughout the school year. Every December 24th, they help feed, entertain and clothe homeless people.

As a former teacher, this is one of the best education books I have ever read. It is jam-packed with ready-to-use activities for every subject area. It is a must for teachers (and parents) looking for new ways to instill a love of learning in their children.

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