Summer Professional Learning & What You Should Do NOW To Get To Know Your Students

This summer was a great one for my own professional learning and development, I got to do several things that I wanted to do. I can't wait to share them with you. I have included my affiliate links so the resources I share are easy to find.
The first thing I did was read The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller.


I started it with a group of bloggers who were doing a book study.  It is a FABULOUS book.  It really made me think about how I teach reading in my classroom.  It is geared towards upper grades, but I got so much out of it, even as a first grade teacher.  If you haven’t read it I would definitely put it on your short list-especially if you teach reading, double especially if you teach reading in the upper grades.


Here’s my Amazon Affiliate Link: The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller


After reading this book, I felt so inspired that I created a couple things to go along with it and brainstormed ideas for things I can do in my classroom this year. The reading surveys Donalyn provides are more geared towards middle school students so I searched for one more geared towards primary students and didn't really find what I was looking for so I created some of my own.  

Reading surveys are an excellent way to get to know your students. After having my students and their parents complete these, I felt like I had a leg up on my students as readers. I could provide them with books of interest from the very start of the year. If I want to get my students excited about reading, one of the most important things I can do it give them books that interest them. It's all about giving them choice and providing them with things they actually like.

Primary Reading Survey

 Intermediate Reading Survey


You can find the reading surveys by clicking here or on the image below.  It's FREE for a limited time. 

Or you can pin it for later by clicking this image. 

Something else I did this summer that I would say gave me some great professional development was joined Periscope.  Anyone else on it?  Raise your hand if you’ve joined and are now ADDICTED like me?!?!


IMG_0377.PNGPeriscope is a live streaming video app.  It allows you to connect, comment and show some love to people you follow.  As the host of the video is sharing what they want to say, you can comment with other viewers and give hearts to show the host that you like what they are saying.  Teachers have taken it by storm this summer and are taking it over!  Seriously, there are so many wonderful teachers to follow with some really great things to share.  If you don’t catch the video live you can replay the video for up to 24 hours.  You cannot comment on the replay but you can give hearts so the host knows you’re enjoying what they are sharing. 
Seriously, CHECK.IT.OUT!!  


Some of my favorite teacher scopers are:
Sheila Jane- @sheilajteaching
Tiffany May- @onefab_teacher
Angie Olson- @MrsAOlson
Misty from Krazy About Teaching- @emtysmom
Ashley Schroeder- @schroedershenan


Our Elementary Lives is on periscope (@ourelemlives).  We haven’t made the plunge to do a video yet, but maybe with the support of all of us together we will do a scope.  Make sure to follow us to know if we ever make the leap and start scoping our own videos.  We had some great ideas about sharing our monthly topics, we’ll see if we are brave enough to actually turn the camera around.  


The last summer PD I want to share with you is not something I got to do this year, but have gone TWICE before.  It is the Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project in NYC.  I was lucky enough to go two times to the writing institute; once last summer and the first time 3 years ago.  The TCRWP is a week long institution put on my Lucy Calkins and the Teacher’s College at Columbia University.  There is a writing institute and a reading institute put on by the developers and authors of The Units of Study for reading and writing.  

Have you heard of Units of Study?  Our district uses them for both for reading and writing and I LOVE them.  I get to use the NEW Units of Study grade level books this year and I am PUMPED!  These week long institutes give you everything you need to go back and implement the Units of Study.  It is an intense week of learning and connecting and having fun in NYC but such an incredible experience.  I hope to be able to go again sometime.

So that’s what I’ve been up to for PD this summer.  What do you do for professional learning and development in the summer?  Tell us in the comments!

We’d love hear about any books you’ve read, any workshops you like to go to or other teachers to follow on periscope.  Also, tell us if you’ve ever been to NYC for the TCRWP.

Signing off now to enjoy the rest of my summer, see ya in September…


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An A-La-Cart Style of PD

Hello, this is Tina!

Each learning situation requires a different approach to gain, obtain, and reflect upon new knowledge as well as being able to enhance existing knowledge.  This is why educator Professional Development can be so challenging.  There is no one size fits all.  As I sit here reflecting upon on my own summer PD experience, I started thinking about how I can best share my experiences?  I came up with the idea of integrating my summer PD experience with Bloom’s Taxonomy.  To best share my journey, I created a Bloom’s chart with my various PD experiences from this summer. It an A-La-Cart Style of PD! You are moving throughout the levels based on your needs.

Remembering and Understanding Levels of Bloom’s and PD


#NOTISTE Conference


The week of June 29th through July 1st, I participated in #NOTISTE15 on Google Plus.  I have been a member of the #NOTISTE Google Community for two years now.  What is ISTE you're asking? ISTE is the acronym for the International Society for Technology in Education.  This happens to be one of the largest teacher organizations in the field of educational technology.  This year ISTE was held in Philadelphia.  My journey this year led me to create my badge and participated in my very first Voxer group as well as joined Periscope.  What an exciting journey!  I am planning on using Periscope in my classroom this year.  I want my students to record experiments and projects and share them out to the world.  I am hoping other classrooms will join and ask my students questions along the way.  I am all about global collaboration!  Voxer, oh, what fun! I can multi-task and Vox at the same time.  I have exercised, listened to a live Voxer chat and participated in the discussion all at once.  Crazy!  I already have idea on how to use Voxer in school.  Can I say, field trips? It is a quick and easy app to communicate with other teachers and chaperones.  


Online Course

I just finished an online course called, Create and Captivate: Using Online Presentations to Teach.  I gained a deeper insight into the importance of teaching students about plagiarism.  I have created a poster to have on display in my classroom about plagiarism.  Did you know students can go onto Snopes.com and check and see if the website they are using is real or fake?  I created a Snopes Detective badge for students who discover a website that is fake.  I can not wait to see what websites we discover are fake while researching!  On a side note, my husband and I went to Adler Planetarium in Chicago and learned about Pluto.  My new knowledge about Pluto led me to create the following video for this class. Feel free to take a peak!



Snopes Detective Badge


Analyzing and Applying Levels of Bloom’s and PD


This week I led the #5thchat on Twitter dealing with “How to Run An Effective 1:1 Classroom.”  I am never satisfied with myself.  I needed to explore if other teachers have better techniques for doing things than myself.  I believe in teaching students about digital citizenship and wanted more lessons to instruct my students.  After reflecting upon last year, I realized I need to reteach this skill often throughout the course of the school year.  From the slow chat, I learned about Common Sense Media.  This website has a scope and sequence for teaching digital citizenship.  You can even select your grade level.  I was SO excited!  I also participate in #sstlap on Twitter.  This week we talked about social studies.  Again, I walked away with many cool ideas.  For me, Twitter allows me to meet exceptional educators.  It is my safe place to connect with other educators, reflect, and ask questions.  These teachers AMAZE me and push me to stretch myself!  I cannot imagine not having a professional learning network on Twitter.  I am truly grateful for Twitter and all the outstanding teachers I meet!  


I have already talked about Voxer and Periscope.  However, I love the friendly teachers on my Voxer chats.  They are helpful and always willing to give advice and suggestions.  I appreciate their willingness to allow you to seek them out anytime and anywhere.  Again, another form of social media that allows me to stretch myself.  What can I say about Periscope?  Now you have a visual to whom you are communicating with.  For some reason viewing someone via a video makes them more real compared to a slow chat on Twitter.


Evaluating and Creating Levels of Bloom’s and PD


Blogging really reaches the highest level of Bloom's.  You are reflecting, evaluating and creating all at once.  As a blogger, you are really analyzing your own learning and thinking.  Crazy, huh?  I believe we call this metacognition.  We want our students to think about their thinking!  Blogging allows educators to do that very thing!


Currently, I am working through the process of creating some professional development for my district.  I find myself evaluating my work, critiquing it, and modifying as I design.  I believe I am gaining a deeper understanding about the topic I will be sharing.  I have to think outside of the box and really differentiate for the various learners.  I am enjoying the challenge and find it very enlightening.  


I am not finished with my summer PD journey, next week I have Google training, Apple training, and flipped learning training.  I am very excited about what I will be learning and applying in my classroom.  Let the journey begin!  

In closing...

My suggestion to educators is to decide what type of learner you are and where you want to begin your PD journey based upon Bloom’s Taxonomy.  Think about what you hope to learn and how you will be able to apply your new knowledge in your classroom.  If you are learning something new, begin with gaining knowledge.   As George Couros posted on Twitter, “Do one thing everyday that scares you.”  Take a risk and learn something new.  My challenge to all teachers is to approach PD in a different fashion. Try a slow chat on Twitter or join a Voxer group. Create your own destiny for PD learning. The sky's the limit! PD can truly be defined as "An A-La-Cart Style" if you explore traditional and nontraditional styles of PD.




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