Thanks to Pinterest, I have been absent from the blogging world and instead busy making craft after craft for my daughter’s party on Saturday. What on earth did I do before Pinterest? I just wanted to write an updated post about how I’ve been using The Crazy Professor in my room, and explain its role in my Reading block. If you want an introduction on the basics of implementing The Crazy Professor, check out an older post HERE.
My students LOVE The Crazy Professor! Of course there are the handful of painfully shy students who would prefer to bury their head in the book and hide, but the thing I love about Whole Brain Teaching is that it makes ALL students participate as active learners in order to improve their listening AND verbal skills. Even though they might not want to admit it, these students love the opportunity to step out of their comfort zones and pretend they are outgoing and silly, all while learning.
I honestly can’t say I have kids that are “too cool” to participate, because those students are the ones that get the most into it (since they actually have an excuse to move around and be full of “drama”). I do have students who can get pretty lazy with their gestures and reading, so I usually loudly exclaim “CLASS!” to get everyone’s attention, inform them that I don’t see everyone using GIGANTIC gestures, and give myself a point on the Scoreboard! This usually gets them motivated, and they begin to try and outdo each other with really big motions and high energy! I then linger around those who may still be lacking in vigor, and they tend to improve. At even the SMALLEST glimpse of improvement, I take the opportunity to stop the class to give a Ten Finger WOO to those students and enthusiastically award a Super Improver star. If you use your Super Improvers Team wisely, this should ALWAYS work.
Most of the stories in our Trophies textbook are pretty long, so I do Crazy Professor in 2 Parts. Mondays we use context clues to figure out the meaning of our vocabulary words, do a Read Aloud on a similar subject, and introduce the week’s focus skills and writing. Tuesdays, students read the first half of the story using Crazy Professor. I call out “Step One!” and students immediately do a 3 peat (“Step One, Step One, Step One!”) and begin reading dramatically while their partner gestures or acts it out. When I say “Switch!”, the other student picks up reading dramatically right where the other student left off. I take turns calling out steps 1-3, allowing for students to read a section, paraphrase it, ask each other questions, and then continue reading. I don’t do the actual “Crazy Professor” step until Day 2, when they have read the entire story. At the end of The Crazy Professor Part 1, we meet as a class for a discussion on what was read, and share the questions they asked in their pairs.
Crazy Professor Part 2, on day two, is where the REAL fun begins! We read the second half of the story using the same process as above, however we break out our PROPS for the final step! The props have become so popular, that I now have to pull weekly job sticks for our Prop Committee. These students stay in for recess and make the props that go with the story. We ONLY use props for the final “Crazy Professor” step, so it builds the anticipation to read on the second day. I also use my VOLUME-O-METER very carefully on day two, so that it doesn’t become too crazy too fast. If it gets too loud or I want more intensity, I shout “”VOLUME-O-METER” and move my hand up or down on my meter. (I will add a picture of mine tomorrow!) Their voices quickly adjust, without interrupting them from their reading. After day two comes to an end, we again hold a student led discussion about the story. We use past Power Pix to lead our shared reading (for example: main idea, author’s purpose, summarize, paraphrase, point of view). As I introduce a new Power Pix, we add it to our meetings.
Some may be skeptical about the benefits of using The Crazy Professor, but I have seen great improvements in comprehension. It also helps with training students to gesture while reading in ANY subject. I see the effectiveness of gesturing close and personal during Guided Reading. Also, when reading those long, drawn out state test samples I sometimes use, I have students gesture and read dramatically. Acting out the reading helps students so much more than just visualizing the events while they read. It makes it more enjoyable to get through,too. In November, I will be the 5th grade afterschool reading teacher, so I am going to use this as a technique with students I get from the other classes. I’ll report on how well it is received, but I am sure that the other 5th graders will also go CRAZY for The Crazy Professor!