Why is the title of this post, "I Did It Again" you might ask? Well, it is because I did again what I often do when reading a professional development book(s). I let myself become intimidated by the ideas in the book I was reading and began to feel like I could never do this - or never "catch" up with all of the learning that I need to be a good teacher in this time of major change. Phrases like "global audience", "global communicator", "synergies", and "the legacy of student contribution" had me feeling like this was all too much or too big to be able to handle. (I was going to add "in a primary classroom" to that last sentence but it is a lot at any level.) It didn't help matters that I also was dipping into several other professional books at the same time while reading blogs and tweets. All of this converged and I felt like maybe I could not do this job anymore.
|Random bits of paper and gum wrappers used as bookmarks show how quickly I was grabbing books to read and putting them back down again.|
Unhurrying the Hurried Educator: A Convo about Personal Learning and Passion by Pam Moran
Why you should set soft goals for your classroom this year by Vicki Davis
The art of having your own back by Sarah Berry
TED Talk: Cloudy with a chance of joy by Gavin Pretor-Pinney
Now these links do not have anything to do with the reading that we did this week but I think it is important that we all take care not to overwhelm ourselves. It is especially important when so many things are being requested of us by so many people. (Or when we are even being overwhelmed by people reminding us to slow down and have fun.)
So how do I normally handle these feelings? I STOP. I stop letting my thoughts spin. I take a break from twitter, blog reading and professional book reading. What happens for me during this time is that ideas percolate in my brain and begin to come together for me. I did just take a break like this and when I was done, my family noticed that I was extra chatty during dinner about all of the things that I was going to try this next year in school - the ideas began to come together for me. Taking that break allows me to remember that I am me - not Alan November, not Kathy Cassidy, not Kylene Beers, not Frankie Sibberson, not Cathy Mere, not Laura Komos - even though I love these teachers and the ideas that they share. I am me and I will never be able to be exactly like anyone else.
What works for me is to read and read and read without really taking notes or highlighting or anything. Then I let the ideas simmer for a while in my mind and play against each other. Then I create my list of things that I would like to try in my classroom. This list is always just a suggestion of things I can try. I do as many as I can when I feel like the time is right. I also often notice things happening in my room that I can attribute to my reading and thinking but that were never on my official list. If I let go of my need to do it all, I end up doing a lot.
So what are a few things I want to put on my list for next year? Here are a few ideas from this week's reading that I am sure I will add to as the summer progresses:
- Create a class Twitter account to begin to connect more with other classrooms. (If you have a class Twitter account, I would love to know your thoughts about how it has worked for you along with your Twitter handle.)
- Actively work on building a global audience for my students using twitter, blogs and possibly epals. (We do have an audience outside of our classroom but it is still rather small.)
- Create a research folder of apps on our classroom ipads to make researching ideas easier for my primary students.
- Reread and browse the #cyberpd Pinterest page that Cathy created for all of us to contribute to and use.
- Participate in more Skype calls with other classrooms, authors, grandparents, etc.
- Think about the "big picture" of what I want students to know and be able to do using tech tools to make sure that I am being purposeful.
- Breathe. Every month. Every week. Every day. Let things happen and be willing to go with new things that come up even if they feel scary.
July 3rd: Chapters 1 and 2 - Hosted by Cathy Mere at Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community
July 10th: Chapters 3 and 4 - Hosted here at My Primary Passion
Today: Chapters 5 and 6 - Hosted by Laura Komos at Ruminate and Invigorate
July 22nd: Final chat about the book on Twitter using the hashtag #cyberpd
You can participate in several ways:
- You can write a blog post with your thoughts about the section we are reading for the week and add the link to your blog in the comments of the host blog.
- You can add your thoughts directly in the comments of the host blog.
- You can share your thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #cyberpd.
- You can come up with another way to share you ideas. We would love to see a new, creative way to join the conversation.
If you are interested in past #cyberpd discussions, here are some links for you:
2011 #cyberPD: Conferring: The Keystone of Reader's Workshop
2012 #cyberPD: Opening Minds
2013 #cyberPD: Who Owns the Learning (posts from the event so far)