At the beginning of 2017, I chose RELEVANCE as my #OneWord. Having taken a new (3 year) position as an instructional coach, and with a few months under my belt, I wanted to be sure I stayed connected. I wanted to continue to offer ideas and to learn from my PLN. I wanted to keep growing professionally, as well as share what I learned.
Now that two months have gone by, I feel the need to reflect on my progress.
Here’s what I’ve been up to (in no particular order)…
- I coordinated a school-wide World Read Aloud Day on February 16th, with 24 author Skypes in 5 locations, connecting over 700 middle school students. I started planning and organizing early last October, and wrote a grant (thanks, District 279 Foundation) to purchase multiple copies of all the authors’ books for the students to read ahead of time.
- I served as a MN Book Awards preliminary judge. It felt like a dream come true to have been selected to read 16 novels in the Young Adult Literature category from October through January. On January 28th, we (my fellow judges and I) chose our top four in that category. See all of the finalists here. I’m looking forward to celebrating the winners with my good friend Laura at the ceremony on April 8th.
- I shared my love of books by participating in the #30secondbooktalk competition and advancing from the sweet 16 to the final four. It was my honor to celebrate Jeff Zentner’s upcoming Goodbye Days and MN author Abby Cooper’s Sticks & Stones. Although I didn’t take home the win (and $500 for my school’s library), I enjoyed creating these videos (which included my own kids, as well as a few of my friends’ kids). Happy memories.
- I presented two sessions at our district staff development day on January 30th One was a choice session about teaching argument and evidence, using resources from my good friend, author Erik Palmer’s latest book, Good Thinking. The other was a session for 6th and 7th grade Social Studies teachers on the ideas (questions and signposts) from Kylene Beers and Bob Probst’s book Reading Nonfiction: Notice & Note Stances, Signposts & Strategies . During this session, I also shared sketch noting (channeling my good friend and author Matt Miller) and #booksnaps (a genius way to use the app Snapchat, from the mind of Tara Martin).
- I planned and facilitated the opening activities for our district Middle School Experience Committee. January’s activity was Anchors of Appreciation from Lead Like a Pirate (courtesy of leaders/authors Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf). In February, we all engaged in a “What If?” activity from The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros.
- Speaking of The Innovator’s Mindset, I joined the 2nd round of George’s #IMMOOC (Massive Open Online Course), which begins today. If you haven’t already signed up…go ahead and join. You’ll be glad you did.
- I’m also in a smaller book study w/two fellow coaches as part of our professional growth plans. We’ll share our love for the ideas in this book with all of the other coaches next month. And hopefully, we can eventually share with the staff at our four other secondary buildings.
- I presented #tlap (Teach Like a Pirate by teacher/author Dave Burgess) engagement strategies (specifically Ask & Analyze) to probationary teachers at three secondary buildings. There was even interest in starting a #tlap book study this spring. A fellow coach and I are in the planning stages. Excited!
- Thanks to the friendship and collaboration with teacher/author Vicki Meigs-Kahlenberg , we submitted a proposal for #NCTE2017. Our hope is to share rebel resources for ELA teachers to help bring back the joy for teachers and students. Fingers crossed that our proposal will be accepted come May, and we can rock the room this November in St. Louis. It would be my 3rd consecutive NCTE presentation.
- I’ve been fortunate to be involved in our district’s secondary Blended Learning Collaborative, led by one of our technology leaders. Last week, we learned more about Flipgrid, a site/app I’ve been using for a few years to amplify student voice. I was very impressed with the increased capabilities, and already helped get one teacher’s account up and running.
- And just last week, I hosted #Ditchbook (a weekly Twitter chat) that encouraged participants to use results of this Bartle Test to determine students’ gamer personalities and better differentiate for increased engagement. I incorporated gamification (from author Michael Matera’s book, Explore Like a Pirate) last spring in my ELA classes, and was amazed at how it transformed my teaching.
In addition to the above, and my instructional coach responsibilities, I have continued (and will continue) to share varied book titles with students at the schools I work at. I always find time to read books and enjoy tweeting book cover pictures and titles.
Overall, I am pleased with my ability to remain relevant to the different PLNs and communities I’ve connected with in recent years. Revisiting this #OneWord will keep me motivated throughout the upcoming months of 2017.
I hope you click on the many hyperlinks in this post, since it’s always my pleasure to share the work and brilliance of others.
Until next time…