As the year wraps up I am reminded of the hustle and bustle of the final days as we try to fit in the final learning opportunities as we feel the pressure of the last day of school looming overhead. I remember thinking about the missed opportunities, the content that wasn't covered, the things I could have done better, and the things I wanted to try. I began thinking about all the things I wanted to do over the summer to make the next year better. I still do much of that reflection and goal setting, although my role in technology I don't have the same end of year pressures with 130 students needing my guidance, attention and compassion.
As with every end there is a new beginning. With that in mind, let's focus on our journey for the next school year. What do we want next year to look like? What do we want to do differently than we did this year? What do we need to make our goals a reality?
You will all answer those and the following questions in your own unique way, but I am hoping that we see similar ideas coming through. I hope we see ideas about engaging students, creating hands on learning. I also hope I don't see how can we make better worksheets or how can you make sure student desks remained fixed and forward facing all year long.
To achieve our goals we need each other. To that end, I am hopeful that we can come together to provide some new learning opportunities for our group and others. So I have a list that I hope grows and people work to make a reality as the summer and next school year moves forward.
A list of potential activities to help you achieve your goals. Please review and share those you would like to embrace in your learning journey.
Read educational books like Teach Like a Pirate, Play Like a Pirate, Learn Like a Pirate, Ditch that Textbook or the numerous other books in the Dave Burgess Pirate Collection. Or other incredible books from other educational authors who choose to share ideas to make education great!
Attend Conferences or Edcamps to gather with other educators to learn and grow together.
Take coursework/classes to learn specific content that will assist you in your learning journey.
Embark on an educational journey to add a new degree, license or certification. (yes becoming a Google Certified Educator, or becoming an Ambassador for Nearpod, Seesaw, BrainPop, etc. counts)
Blogging or Podcasting- creating or getting back into recording your reflections or ideas about education.
Host a Twitter chat- I hear #sstlap is looking for summer moderators especially since summer means 4 nights of Soccer including Thursday nights for the current host. Anyone Anyone Bueller Bueller - let me know if you have a burning topic you want to discuss like using QR codes, Making Geography Awesome and Engaging - moving beyond coloring maps, How to create a ticket lesson, how to use games in your content area, or anything you have up your sleeve. The topics are often chosen because they are things that I have wanted to learn about or share with my PLN. I always want the topics to be relevant to you, so what better way to make them relevant to what you want to learn about than creating the topic and questions for a #sstlap chat.
Organize an informal learning session like PatioPD or Personalized PD or PubPD where educators come together in person and share ideas.
Use Blab, Voxer, Google Hangouts to connect with other educators. Attend EdcampHome or start your own virtual PD session with members of your PLN. Discuss best practices or start collaborating on a unit or lesson.
Examine your learning environment - how can you change your room to make it more student and learning friendly?
Examine your teaching practices- do you use Backward Design or Universal Design for Learning? If you don't know what these are or how to implement them, let me know I can share some resources. Do you know what students should know/learn by the end of the unit and how they will demonstrate this learning before you begin teaching? Do you use a variety of methods to present information and provide students choice in how they demonstrate learning?
This list is getting pretty big, and if you engage in all of them plus the many other individual goals you have, you will miss out on being able to enjoy summer. Yes I know most of you will work hard during the weeks without students, because that is who we are, but remember to stop and smell the roses, feel the sand or grass between your toes and enjoy an ice cold beverage from time to time as you recline in the lawn chair.