Monday, July 27, 2015

#TitleTalk Takeaways

Wow!  For those of you who participated in last night's Title Talk Twitter chat (moderated by the incomparable Colby Sharp & Donalyn Miller) I'm guessing you felt like you were on a rollercoaster ride and didn't want to close your eyes because you might miss something awesome!  The enthusiasm was inspiring, and the chat encouraged me to once again begin the year as a reading teacher (not just a teacher of reading.)

For those of you who missed it, here are a few takeaways that I gleaned:

Takeaway #1 ~ top 10 books I'm adding to my always-growing-and-it's-the-best-problem-to-have reading list:

  1. Lost in the Sun (Graff)
  2. Mastermind (Korman)
  3. Circus Mirandus (Beaslley)
  4. A Night Divided (Nielsen)
  5. The Underground Abductor (Hale)
  6. The Wild Ones (London)
  7. The Marvels (Selznick)
  8. Bone Gap (Ruby)
  9. How to Read a Story (Messner)
  10. Just a Second (Jenkins)
Would love to hear your suggestions!

Takeaway #2 ~ this genius thought from Colby Sharp:

If we read to them every day, and we give them time to read everyday, and we talk books everyday-things are going to work out.

I've spent a lot of the summer with my head swirling with thoughts and ideas (New Calkins ROUS! Word study integration! Reading strategies for conferring! Writing about reading!) Colby took all of that chaos in my mind and boiled it down to its most essential, and for that, I am incredibly grateful.

Takeaway #3: Padlet
We are so fortunate in my classroom to have been given a suite of Chromebooks; my students have 1:1 access. I've been  trying to figure out a way for students to share their thinking about their reading.  Do I use Whooo's Reading because the social medial aspect is so engaging?  Do I use Google Docs, Slides, etc., because we are a Google school and they need to be experiencing different avenues when writing about reading?  Then, several #titletalk participants mentioned Padlet last night.  While I've heard about it for just under a year, I have zero experience with it.  What I know is that it's simply a way for students to share their learning and their thoughts.  I have put out an SOS to my Twitter PLN, and am spending some time today simply exploring.  This is one reason I am in love with summer: it affords me the time to play around and gather information to form pathways on which my students may travel throughout the year.

Your takeaways?  Please reply or find me on Twitter!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Blogging Topics (in no particular order)

Stream-of-consciousness blogging topics, inspired by all you #EDUheroes out there - veterans and newbies like me!

  • New books I've read (review-style). Not so much outside of my comfort zone, but great practice as a writer
  • Being a writing teacher.  Modeling authentic writing opportunities for my students
  • New technology that we're trying. Are we succeeding or failing? Why?
  • What kind of colleague to I want to be?  Goal setting.  Am I getting there?  Am I straying from my purpose?
  • Classroom thoughts: reflections on days both good and bad with the lens of growing and learning from successes and failures.
What else?  Comments welcome!

The Wonderful World of Blogging

Feeling a little bit unsure of what to write as I begin this new adventure. My head is swirling with so many thoughts, ideas, and questions.  Last year, as I attempted to read a book each day over the summer as part of the #bookaday challenge, I tracked my books and reflected on myself as a reader on our class' reading blog. But as I begin my 6th year as an elementary school teacher, I find myself more and more in need of reflection: on books, on ideas I've read about from other teachers, and on education in general - the good, the not so good, and the less than pretty.

The biggest question that continues to challenge me is "how will I continue to grow and evolve professionally?" Right now, the answer is this blog. While I have stretched myself out of my comfort zone (Twitter PLN, Voxer groups were a challenge for me) I found that the risk of putting myself out there was SO worth the reward. A blog seemed like the most logical next step in my professional growth.  I hope this journey continues to strengthen my professional practice, as well as grow my professional learning network. A collaboration junkie at heart, I love hearing how other great teachers are learning and growing.

The biggest challenge will be to find the time to write, but I simply need to make reflection a priority, as I do my family and (not-so-successfully) exercise. Perhaps treating this blog like Dumbledore's pensieve will help alleviate some of the pressure and stress that teaching inevitably brings.

So, onward I go into the sea of education blogs, in hopes of helping others - and myself - along the way!

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