Sunday, April 3, 2016

Rick Morris is Coming! Rick Morris is Coming!

As a new(ish) teacher I'd heard Rick Morris' name but until recently didn't know much about him.  I had the opportunity to attend the CTA Good Teaching South conference in Anaheim last month.  While there, I attended the 8am bonus session with Rick Morris.  And I was hooked immediately.  I spent the whole session madly scribbling down notes, snapping pictures of his presentation, and thinking "that is SO true" and "wow, that is amazing".  I attended his second session that weekend as well.  I took it as my personal mission to learn all he could teach me in three short hours.

Since seeing Rick at the CTA conference I have begun incorporating some of his strategies in my classroom.  I'm a firm believer in including my students in classroom decisions because it creates more buy-in and builds a closer classroom community.  We talked about the different hand signals and some other new tricks we were going to start using - and I quickly noticed that my class couldn't wait to tell visitors about our new hand signals!

I tweeted a photo of my students using his magnetic numbers and suddenly found myself in conversation with the classroom management guru himself.  And then...he was scheduled to visit my classroom.  Wait, what?  Rick Morris?  In my classroom?  That sounded totally terrifying, but at the same time, totally awesome!
Fast forward to the day Rick Morris arrived!

Rick Morris walked into my classroom and I immediately thought "Oh my God, he's going to see every move I make.  He's a guru...oh no!"  I was a ball of nerves!  You know those times where you don't want to look like you're putting on a dog and pony show but you also don't want to fumble all over the place?  Yeah, this was one of those times.  Once we got started, I just sat back and prayed my students would remember all the "Rick Morris-y" things we'd learned/talked about!  Oh, and I took a lot of pictures too!
The first thing I noticed was that Rick had the undivided attention of every student in the room as soon as he sat down.  He spoke softly and was very clear with the direction of the conversation and his expectations for student involvement in the conversation.  It was great to watch him call on the students and see the things he spoke about in his CTA conference sessions in action.  At one point, the students were guessing his age.  One of my students gave the answer signal, but as soon as he was called on my student started in with "I think I know how to play the game you're talking about..."  Rick moved on to another student without even missing a beat and without giving the student any credit for his off-topic comment.  This is definitely something I'm trying to work on.  It's just so easy to fall back into what we all do every once in a while and explain to the student that the comment is off-topic - but then we're just giving it the attention we're trying to avoid giving!
Rick also taught us a fabulous PE game, Belt Wars.  Belt Wars blog post coming soon!
Overall, Rick's visit was incredible!  My class LOVED Belt Wars and I loved getting a chance to see some of Rick's methods in action.


  1. Wow. What a sweet reflection. Thanks for sharing it. And looking forward to the one about Belt Wars. BTW You have a really good as an author.