Tag Archives: Professional Development

Making the Web Work for Me

7 Dec

Inspiration came to me today in the form of my sister, Lissa.  While at the PEAK conference today, I attended Lissa’s presentation titled “Making the Web Work for You.”  She helped me remember why I keep this blog.  I want to reflect on my teaching and learning while also connecting with other teachers.  If I’m never posting on my blog, how am I supposed to achieve this?  One thing Lissa said to me after the presentation was “It takes a little extra time now, but the time it will save in the future is worth it.”  So now I am taking that time.

My school has each teacher set a goal to help us grow as professionals.  A colleague and I set the same goal for a couple of reasons.  The first reason is that we both had interest in the same topic.  The second reason is we wanted to help keep each other accountable.  Our goal is to incorporate inquiry-based strategies for literacy through centers, daily plans, and weekly plans.  We want our teaching of literacy to be more authentic and natural.  We do not want letter of the week or other phonic programs because we do not feel it is authentic.

My current understanding of authentic inquiry-based literacy learning is that it is student driven.  When students start asking questions about letters and sounds is when it should be introduced and talked about in the class.  It should not be introduced in alphabetical order, but rather based on student interest and connections to other topics being discussed in the class.  One strategy is by looking at the first letter of each of their names.  My understanding is that students will start to notice letters and the sounds words make and naturally want to know and learn how to make these letters.

Our plan to learn more about this goal is to do personal professional development and observe other teachers that we know already have this in place in their classrooms.  Lissa has also inspired me to reach out in the twitter world to find others that can help me reach my goal.  Now that the inspiration has come, I will do my best to continue to reflect as I learn.

Forever Learning

25 Oct

Teacher collaboration and sharing is amazing! This is something I have known for a while and never want to forget. Some of the best resources I have found are other blogs, Teachers Pay Teachers, Claco, Twitter, and just having conversations with teachers I am working with. In many other careers sharing your ideas is seen as a threat to your job security. If you don’t beg, borrow, and steal in teaching you are doing your students a disservice. If something works better for the students, why not do it? Most teachers are happy to share their ideas to help students everywhere.

This week I sat in on the other first grade teacher’s class. In thirty minutes I learned a lot! This teacher was a very positive teacher. The students were supposed to be reading but some of them were making the choice to do something else. Instead of talking to those students about what they were doing wrong she said, “I like the way _______ is becoming a better reader” and “Look how ________ is becoming a better reader.” She also used everything as a learning experience. There were two students who were supposed to put three stickers each on a poster. When she went over to them they had ten stickers on it. She didn’t say they did it wrong. Instead she asked them how many they should have had on the poster. They then counted by two’s and talked about odd and even numbers. The teacher seized the opportunity to teach those students instead of disciplining them.

After attending the Midwest Brain and Learning Institute, I am very interested in finding ways to promote movement in my classroom. The teacher I observed did a spectacular job! She noticed the students were having a hard time sitting still on the carpet. She stopped what she was doing and had the students flick their fingers, touch their face, and flick their fingers again. It took all of about 20 seconds and it redirected the students enough to finish her lesson.

Another resource I use often is blogs. I have about ten teaching blogs that I follow for new ideas. There are times that I use someone’s idea to come up with a new idea for my own students. All students are different so it is important to evaluate the relevance to my students before I use it in my classroom.

The best part about these resources is that I will forever be learning. I can always adapt my teaching to help the needs of my students. There is no one way of teaching and I am willing to try everything once.