Plan and Share

This post is week 6 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators.

The Prompt:

Incorporate Summer PL Back into the Classroom

How will you incorporate your summer professional growth into next year’s plans?

As a forever learner, yet retired teacher, I find myself still yearning to learn and share. I connect in different teacher areas [CLmooc, #etmooc], Twitter hashtags or chats [@TeachersFirst #rethink_learning, #connectedlearning],  and blogging. As a mentor teacher in Jennifer Gonzalez’s JumpStart: A Technology Course for Thoughtful Educators, I like to keep up with the current pedagogy and strategies for tech integration. As a former Language Arts Media teacher, I know and understand what the classroom could be like as well as the struggles teachers have when learning and implementing technology. I am a resource for my former school district, keeping in contact with colleagues and sharing excellent resources with them, resources that fit with furthering their tech implementation according to the needs of our students [I still consider them “our” students].

Whatever I learn, I share– and my main focus is to encourage others with ideas and strategies that will enhance and extend learning and learning choice in the classroom in authentic ways. Student agency, engagement, and voice are key elements for the learner, and feedback, interventions, and differentiation are key elements for teachers. I’ve continued learning about activism, internet connections and safety, dealing with source validation over fake news, and maintaining a thoughtful, critical thinking stance. How can we implement technology to enhance these elements for both the teacher and the student?

So, for example, I’m participating in the 2018 Summer #WriteOut in places, parks, poetry, and doodles with #Clmooc. Learn more at CLmooc blog and National Writing Project / National Park Service WriteOut. In my post, WriteOut CLmooc InfoMap, I blogged about our area and it’s natural history: I wrote a poem, shared a Thinglink Infograph, and provided ideas for deeper searches when looking for information about one’s own area. In the fall, to encourage place-based learning, I could discuss possible assignments and their pedagogy using various strategies and tools and include that post’s content as examples. I take my practice and apply it to the classroom in ways that would help a teacher understand how technology can enhance both teaching and learning.

If I were still in the classroom, I’d be connecting with other classrooms to share the similarities and differences in the various aspects of our “places,” be they physical, natural, or social and cultural. I’ve done this many times [a wiki of 2009 collaboration: Eagles Write], and student engagement and learning increases greatly through these connections [Blog post about same project: Differences Unite]. When teachers participate in collaborations such as these, they learn the value of connected learning. It brings authenticity to classroom work and engages student through interest, creative production, and shared purpose with peers.

As always, learning with tech and learning through connections with others takes time — so I encourage other teachers to start small. There’s a lot to do and sometimes it seems overwhelming, but what one thing could you do next week that would enhance learning and teaching? I learned a great way to think about this from Mickey McFetridge: the Someday/Monday Approach. Think about what your classroom would look like someday if you implemented a strategy and write it down. Then think about what you could do the next Monday to try it out. Read the post here: Summer Learning for Educators: The Someday/Monday Approach. Start small with any plans and build your and your students’ confidence and skills.

My plans for next year will be to share my summer professional development in ways that continue to encourage authentic connections with technology integration through my various online communities and connections, perhaps collaborating with other teachers who have similar interests, just as connected learners do.