Children's Books

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reflecting on 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, I want to share some of my professional highlights from the year. (Make sure you check out the links that will take you to previous posts and additional information.)

  • Google for Education Certification- In the winter, I used my weekly free time during my son's basketball practices to study for the Google for Education Level 1 Certification. While I was studying I learned a lot about YouTube, Calendar, Mail, and Blogger. This free training empowered me in my use of technology. I encourage everyone who uses Google products to check out this training. 
  • Donalyn Miller and Reading in the Wild- In March, I had the opportunity read Donalyn's book and hear her talk about guiding and supporting students and their independent reading. To say that this book changed my thinking and teaching would be an understatement. I would say it has transformed my thinking and teaching. It charged me to empower students and teachers. 
  • EdCamp- In February, I attended my first EdCampSTL. I was amazed by the energy and learning that was shared by dedicated educators. I saw the learning that was taking place, and I wanted to share it with other educators in St. Charles. The next week I had the privilege to hear one of the EdCamp co-founders, Kristen Swanson. She showed us how to use the EdCamp model for professional development. I went back and talked with my principal, and she agreed to let me use the EdCamp model at our next building professional development time.  
    The teachers loved it, and it spread across the district. I also found myself helping with the planning of our district's first EdCamp in June. I'll be attending EdCampSTL on Feb. 11, 2017. I hope you can join me.
  • Twitter- During the summer, I continued to use Twitter to connect with educators from across the globe. I entered a contest over Twitter and won a school visit from Donalyn Miller. In October I moderated my first Twitter chat for #OrEdChat.
    This chat keeps me up late each Sunday night as I chat with educators from Oregon and the northwest. 
  • Staff Book Study- To prepare for our November school visit by Donalyn Miller, we held a voluntary book study. It stretched our thinking and led us to join together as a community of readers. We offered another staff book study in December, and several teachers read The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. We'll be starting our 3rd book club in January.
  • School Visit with Donalyn Miller- Do you see the common thread through many of my 2016 highlights? The school visit with Donalyn Miller was an event that will have a positive impact on myself, our teachers, and our students for years to come. 
Each of these events have changed me. I've learned things that have impacted the learning in my classroom. Most importantly, it's made me aware of my own learning. It's inspired me to share with my students that I am a learner just like they are. We are all learning together. 

As I look ahead to 2017, I can't wait to see what's in store.  I will:
  • Blog- Blogging has helped me reflect on my learning and my students' learning. I'm going to be leading a blogging professional development session in just a couple weeks. I can't wait to see what other educators want to blog about.
  • Read- Our staff book clubs are on a roll. I am excited to hear what other teachers read during Winter Break, and our next book club title will be announced soon.
  • EdCamp- EdCampSTL is not far away, and we're planning the second #EdCampSCSD.
  • Grow- This is my twenty-fifth year of teaching. I still have a lot to learn. My students deserve it.
All of this would not have been possible without the support of my administrator and colleagues. My administrator supports my risk-taking, and she trusts me as an educator. I am blessed to be in a school that is willing to do what's best for kids. My colleagues are supportive and willing to try new ideas that will positively impact our students. 

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