This is my 10th year as a teacher and I feel like I am finally doing the teaching that I have been striving to do.
Much of this has come from creating a Social Network and Professional Learning Network filled with resources and amazing teachers.
My Network and Resources
I honestly feel that Twitter is the #1 source for teacher resource and professional development. Not only does it open your eyes to what people are talking about it education but it has connected me with resources that I didn't know existed.
By spending time on twitter, I have learned about and/or participated in:
- International Dot Day
- Global Read Aloud
- Primary Blogging Network
- Other 1st grade bloggers
- Reading and Writing Support through @TCRWP - The Reading and Writing Project
- Sunday Night 1st Grade Chats
- iPad support and advice
- Authors tweeting to my class!
- App creators connecting with my class!
This is just the tip of the Twitter iceberg. Through these educational experiences, I have been able to share with my building-mates and team-mates. It has helped me grow as a teacher leader.
Did you know that my kiddos can travel to Arizona without even leaving the classroom? I didn't until I hooked up with an amazing 1st grade class near Phoenix. We are able to see through pictures and hear through their blog posts about the differences and similarities between our class and theirs.
I have found blogging to be an amazing way to learn about people and places. I am hoping to instill that love of discovery with my students through KidBlog.
Conferences, Outings and Playdates:
GET OUT OF YOUR BUILDING AND LEARN SOMETHING!
Get out into the world and see what other teachers and districts are doing. We can get caught up in the way that our districts do things and close our minds to the outside teaching world. Be a new voice of learning in your schools by sharing valuable alternatives to what your district is currently doing.
No district is perfect and every district can and should be exposed to new ideas. That is how a person/district grows and gets better.
Within your district, join those district committees. They might not be glamorous but they are essential and valuable. Get your voice heard and learn the processes that are involved in running a district.
I have gotten by butt out of my building by:
- Attending IRC in Springfield yearly
- Attending the CPS iPad academy and Technology Playdates
- Visiting other classes and schools such as Maria Walther and Burley School in Chicago
- Attending conferences such as Lucy Culkins and the 2 Sisters
- Being on countless district committees like Math, Writing, Academic Advisory, Operations and our Education Association.
My challenges for you (should you choose to accept them)
1. Create your own twitter account and get connected.
- Already on twitter? Try creating on for your class or trying out a new chat session.
2. Start a blog for your classroom.
- Already have a classroom blog? Try identifying a few great blogs to follow or get your students blogging.
3. Make a list of your Professional Outings.
- Is it enough? Are you learning? What is in your area that you can attend soon?
Good luck with your personal/professional challenges! I can't wait to hear how they go.