Diving Right in! Summer Reading Reflections

“When you stop learning, you start dying.” – Albert Einstein

I don’t know about you but I love what I do and I love to learn!  So as always, I intended to take some time off but have found myself engaged in all sorts of new experiences!

I’ve spent the summer attending training sessions and conferences, reading and developing my professional learning community on twitter (that’s right!  I’m on twitter and I LOVE IT).

I was given the opportunity to go the International Society for Educational Technology Conference in Denver through the PSD IT department and I attended google for education sessions presented by Alice Keeler (alicekeeler.com) and Kasey Bell (shakeuplearning.com ) on using google slides, google calendars, and google apps and more!  I also attended a global collaboration session through an organization called Taking it Global and will be able to continue the global efforts made last year by using this platform instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.  It was a failed attempt however the experience will help with better decision-making down the road!  Google treks were presented in my final session and I was able to see the users of google maps to engage student in and learning about the world.

During the ISTE conference a shift occurred in me.   I have been using my own interactive paper notebook for at least 6 years now for professional development.  It is what my students use and I like to practice the skill in order to create/provide/facilitate better learning in the classroom.  When Alice Keeler shared the idea that everything can be stored, “forever” in the same place I had an aha moment and decided to change things up, take a risk and tried taking my notes on the computer.  To my surprise, I was able to keep up and then when I went to process my notes I found it to be more engaging and I was still able to meet my need for color with the different colored fonts.  I then made a digital style objective log to try myself before presenting to students and have been thinking about how best to present it to and use it with students. 

Follow this link to see an example of the professional development log.

Professional Development Log

I also attended the AVID Summer Institute and Comic con in Denver.  Both of which have provided me with opportunities to learn and grow this summer!   I was the only adult in my AVID class using a computer to take notes and spent much of Comic Con on the carpet with kiddos (I didn’t realize there were other sessions)  I still got some great ideas out of Comic con for example, An idea was presented to have students create what super heroes would look like on other planets and what would their super powers be!  I will be reflecting on the application of these strategies and skills as the year progresses!

Twitter has been something that I did not expect to be so influential to my thinking.  I have participated in book chats with educators from around the world and have collected ideas and shared my own ideas.  It is so inspiring to know that others are wanting to work and develop this profession and be a life long learner while helping others on their journeys of learning!

Mathematical Mindsets, by Jo Boaler is a must read for every educator not just math teachers!  As a science teacher I know that I can apply many of the ideas presented and could not put it down!  I’ve been recommending it to anyone who I know will benefit from its message and research!  I’m excited to have a go at creating science based tasks for students to engage in!

LAUNCH:  Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student by John Spencer and A.J. Juiliani has also been influential in helping me to decide how to move forward with my science classes this year and I believe it may be a great fit for a cross curricular project that the 8th graders in our school participate in!  The notes that I took are in the professional development log above and I am pumped to use the LAUNCH cycle with students!  More to come!

After reading, Innovators Mindset, by George Couros I am determined to create an innovative environment not only from my students but for the science department at WMS.  There is so much work to do but now I have a starting place!  The book provides important questions to be asking and ideas on how to create a more innovative culture and environment!  I will be referencing it as the year progresses!

In order to help students get the most out of the science classroom I have been reading, Redesigning Learning Spaces by Robert Dillon, Ben Gilpin, A.J. Juliani and Erin Klein and I am inspired to make a couple of pretty big changes to my students learning environment!  A couple of take aways so far are the idea to make whiteboards as big as the desks and put them on top of the surface.  Another idea that I am trying to figure out for my classroom is the entrance way.  Have some inspired entrance way and exit so students are inspired coming in and going out!

Another great read for me this summer that has given me insight into my teaching practice is, Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz, He describes how he has created a student centered classroom, steps/strategies you can use and examples of the ideas in action!  A couple of important things I intend on using in my classroom are, High Five being a way for anyone to interrupt class and share information/ask questions or to do a mini lesson, defining rituals and not routines, and some great language and ideas for conflict resolution!

In ended my summer reading with Teach like a Pirate by Dave Burgess!  The ideas presented will help me to make what I do more engaging and meaningful for the learners in my classroom.  An idea that I used immediately from the book was to decorate the doorway of my classroom.  I got a set of battery powered light to put around the outside door and a beaded curtain for students to walk through as they entered.  I was also inspired to launch this blog to the world and shared it on my twitter feed!  I will continue to share my blog posts as I move forward!

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Passionate, curious, science educator, learner, photographer, and outdoors woman! I love to learn new things and share great ideas! All the photos on this blog are my own. Copyrighted 2016 Deborah Holman.

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