A student I taught 12 years ago (when she was in the sixth grade) emailed me recently sharing that in the fall, she will become a middle school English teacher. "That was the best year of school for me," she said, "I just want to help other kids have an experience like that." I was thrilled; what more could I want?
When I was a kid, some of the things I enjoyed most about summer were swimming and banana splits! Yes . . . you heard right. Banana splits! They were my fave summer treat for many years, and I will always remember them with great fondness. As this summer has started, I've seen my PLN (personal learning network) sharing great ideas of how to spend the time in fun and frolic! I've also seen great ideas posted about how to get the most out of our summer learning time. I share this simply to say that as we seek ways to do some summer learning, we need to do it in a way that (like my banana splits) we will remember fondly.
When people ask me if I'm taking some time off while school is out, I respond, "a little," being intentionally vague. I'm embarrassed, actually, that I'm taking so few days off this summer (a total of eight, really).
"It's my choice," I add. "This is self-imposed." But is it, I wonder?
It's summertime: time to relax, refresh and get connected. Joining an online community of science teachers is a great way to find resources, inspiration and like-minded colleagues to collaborate with as you re-tool your courses for the next school year. The list below is a good starting point to find a community or two that meets your needs. However, the list is not exhaustive. Use the comment section to share any online groups or communities that you find valuable!
Social media has been in a buzz with David McCullough Jr.'s Commencement Address at Wellesley High School in Massachusetts: "You're not special!" If you have not read it yet, here is a brief overview from Valerie Strauss's Washington Post blog
(with a link to McCullough's speech).
It's June, and one of the biggest edtech conferences in the US is quickly approaching -- ISTE's annual conference & exposition in San Diego. I don't know about you, but I always get nerdily excited for opportunities like this to network and collaborate with likeminded folks passionate about education. ISTE currently has almost 700 sessions available to attend, some buzz-worthy keynotes including Sir Ken Robinson and Dr. Yong Zhao, and a HUGE edtech expo. With all of these events going on, it can be overwhelming to even the most tech-savvy educator. So, I've compiled some useful tips from my experiences at ISTE that can help you make the most of your trip.
His name was Kevin (a pseudonym). He had red hair and freckles with a slight build. He was confident and well spoken (perhaps outspoken). He was probably the smartest student I had ever seen. His mother was divorced and worked a horse training operation by herself. Kevin had to take care of his two younger siblings. Every one of his middle school teachers complained about him. His attendance was horrible, but that is not why teachers disliked him.
School's out. Politics is in. Five months of presidential political combat lie ahead. So I'm psyched to revisit the challenge of effectively educating kids to be active participants in our democratic processes. I plan to post a number of columns over the next months that focus on student voice, the teaching of democracy, civic engagement and political literacy. I'm hoping some of you will join the discussion and toss in your two cents.