Anything for Professional Development

img_0005I love to learn.  I love to teach, but, I really love to learn.  I think that’s why I’m constantly busy. . . I’m always trying new things, and want to learn new things.  I just completed my Administration and Supervision certification. Boy, did I learn from those classes and my internship!  When I began teaching I had no desire to go into administration.  I still don’t, but I sure did love taking the classes and learning about the many facets of administration.  Anything for professional development.

I tell you this about me, because I may be a little late to the party, but I just recently realized that podcasts are my “new classes.”  Over the course of my drive to and from the gym/school/home, I have listened to all of The Nerdy Bookcast (a part of The Nerdy Bookclub) and all of The Yarn (by librarian Travis Jonker and teacher Colby Sharp). While I’m anxiously awaiting the new seasons of both of these podcasts, I’m listening to the likes of Simon Sinek, Gretchen Rubin, and Daniel Pink.  See. . . constantly learning.  I’m soaking in all they have to offer on my commute each morning and evening.  And.  I.  Love.  It.

I’ve learned about new authors and their books to share with students and teachers at school.  I’ve learned about the inner workings of how a book is put together — the process, the artwork, the editorial pieces, the marketing.  All so interesting to me!  Just this morning, I learned about Gretchen Rubin’s work on habits and how to use habits to create your own happiness.  Hmm. . . Sounds a lot like living with intention to me.

So, as I drive to the gym tomorrow morning, I’m going to continue on this journey I’ve started of discovery both for myself and others.  Because I love to teach, but, I really love to learn.

Connecting Students to Books

I’m participating in the Book Love Foundation Podcast Summer Study Session and week 1 (which was last week, mind you!) was about connecting students to books.  I’m also participating in an online book club where a group of us are reading The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.   In order to organize my thinking for both, I’m going to write more here at My Learning Life.  As you can see I’ve been a bit remiss in creating content consistently.  I hope to take some time every day to reflect on my learning life and share a little bit of it with you all.

Connecting Students to Books – Reflection on Week 1

In order to connect as humans, we need literature.  Literature helps us think, reflect, empathize, and see others’ perspectives.  So as educators, it is so important for us to share quality literature with our students; to immerse them in quality reading experiences.  I worked hard tokids reading do that when I was in the classroom.  The classroom library was the heart of our classroom.  I read aloud to students every day, we discussed books in small teacher facilitated groups every day, students participated in student facilitated literature circles every day, and students had an opportunity for choice, independent reading every day, though at that time (late 90’s) I did not confer with them about their reading, nor did I realize the importance of doing so.

Flash forward to my current position, Staff Development Teacher.  All of those books now have a home in my office.  I still have a classroom library, only this time the books are to connect with teachers (so that ultimately they connect them with students).  I am passionate about developing a passion within teachers and ultimately students.  I provide book talks at monthly staff meetings; when teachers are planning in my office, I suggest mentor texts they might want to consider.  Just the other day, we were working on our action steps for our School Improvement Plan in our Leadership meeting, and I suggested that one way we might monitor progress is by sitting side-by-side with our students as they read.

We have to make reading the center of every classroom.  This is where my work is still in progress.  What are some other ways I might be able to connect teachers with books so that they connect them with students?  While, it was the center of my classroom and I passionately believe that it should be the center of every classroom in a school, it is now my job to model and coach teachers around this idea.  So, as we embark on a new school year in a few weeks, I plan to make that one of my goals for the school year.

My core belief. . .

I believe that students need access to high quality literature every day, so I will coach and model the importance of a classroom library, the importance of the read aloud, and the importance of connecting students with books. 

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