Where has the time gone? I have been out of town visiting my New York daughter and after a week of shopping, eating, visiting, coffee drinking, walking, freezing, baking and just plain old hanging out with her, I am back in warm southern California. We had an amazing time together and I have lots of memories to help me through the months when I don't see her. One of her friends came into her apartment for a visit, saw me first, and said OMG because the resemblance is pretty strong. She is just a younger, prettier version of me! It's always a source of entertainment to me to see that when I hold parent conferences and I have not met a parent previously. You know exactly what I mean!
So we are on to 2013 and at this time of the year I always like to reflect on the future and set some personal as well as professional goals that will drive my thinking as I move forward to the second half of the school year. What are your goals? What would you like to accomplish with your students? Are you willing to try new strategies? Is there some professional reading your are determined to do? What workshops are you going to attend? Do you have a conference you will attend that will offer up some new ideas? What technology skills are you determined to master?
With the new Common Core standards I have tons of professional reading to do and will try to find time in my schedule to do this. Here are some of the books I have purchased that look amazing:
How many of you have heard of Timothy Shanahan? If not, please check out his blog if you want to have a deeper understanding of CCSS. He is a distinguished professor as well as the Director of the Center for Literacy for the University of Illinois. His credentials are amazing and he has much to say about the Common Core S tandards that is worth reading. You can find his blog here and I hope you sign up for the thoughtful and interesting newsletter he sends out. Look at what he says about "The Daily Five" which has made me stop and think about how we are teaching our students. Clearly he is an expert on literacy and has sharpened my understandings of terms such as "close read", complex text, and text based questioning. I am anxious to read his book because he is so deeply respected. Check it out and do not tell anyone I suggested you spend a million dollars on PD!
With Common Core we are being asked to have our students use a more collaborative model for learning material and to me the books that build capacity for this are those written by Spencer Kagan. If you are an older teacher this should be a very familiar name to you but he has updated his material and I really love a lot of his classroom management ideas and structures. Many of you are already using them in your classroom but do not realize they are his. Have you heard of "Think, Pair, Share", or "Lines of Communication?" I recently bought his primary books because I think collaborative work is far more challenging to do with our youngest students and needs to be carefully planned out. I have found this out from hard core experience! So if your district is pressuring you to have students work collaboratively and this scares the pants off of you- check out his website here and see what you think. Some of his books are also available on Amazon.
Have you heard of this website and are you familiar with the books and information they offer their readers?
If not, I highly recommend it. You can read about this research based program that focuses on building social skills, community in the classroom, classroom management, etc. which leads to academic achievement. There is a website here and a blog. Take time to look around since it is loaded with great information. Remember to sign up for their newsletter.
I think I better stop here because I feel sure that I have overwhelmed you. If you have gotten all the way to the end of this post you are a total rock star!
Happy New Year! Go out and teach like your hair is on fire!