Today marks the final portion of this year's #CyberPD event. In case you've missed the previous weeks, the easiest way to get caught up is to read our Jog the Web on Opening Minds. In it, Cathy Mere linked all of the posts related to our blog book chat on Peter Johnston's book Opening Minds. We began on Cathy's blog, moved to Jill's blog, spent last week on my blog, and are finishing this week on Carol's blog. Be sure to head over to Carol's blog to follow the conversation and link up your post today!
My Final Thoughts, Reflections, and Actions
Over the course of the past week, my mind has been in constant motion. How can I incorporate what I've learned and realized through our book study? How will Johnston's latest studies and suggestions impact my teaching? What can I do right now?
Moving away from "I like the way..." will be a challenge! It is so imprinted on my brain that I'm sure it will slip out occasionally. But like Peter said during our chat, "No guilt. Just action."
Right now, I don't have a classroom full of first graders. I tried practicing on my niece, but she is only 7 months old. So, I've turned to my classroom set-up as one immediate thing I can work on. While I've been working in my classroom, I am constantly asking myself how I can arrange things to be more conducive to big open spaces and room for children to collaborate. My goal in doing so is to create a more dialogic classroom. I have completely changed the look (and feel) of my room in the process. I've taken down almost everything off the walls, except for the absolute "essentials" (like alphabet, numbers, word wall) and am going to leave it blank so that my new group and I can create it together. By doing so, I'm hoping it will remind me that our classroom is truly "our classroom." I hope children will see there is room for them to show their learning and thinking.
As I was reading through my Twitter feed, a tweet about Matt Renwick's blog post caught my attention. In his post "Summarizing a Book Study with Prayer Cards," Matt talks about one of his ideas for what to do after a book study so that you can easily access (and remember) important parts of your learning. The idea is very similar to the "cheat sheets" we've all been talking about and planning. I'll be working on my "prayer cards" in the weeks to come, because as Matt says in his post, "Learning lost is nothing gained."
When my students arrive, we will spend time learning how to have discussions and how to be good listeners. We will think about the way we talk to each other. We'll wonder and play and collaborate. We'll be thinking together with books. Together, we'll create the kind of classroom where everyone has a voice and everyone matters.
In the next couple of weeks, I'll be rethinking, revisiting, and reflecting on my goals for the upcoming school year. My learning from this book study will definitely have a part in those goals. Thank you to everyone for pushing my thinking and stretching my mind in ways I hadn't considered!
The power of #CyberPD...
In case you missed it, Cathy Mere wrote a guest post for IRA's Engage blog about the power of #CyberPD. She really captures the power of using this form of professional development to enhance our teaching skills. Be sure to check it out!