Last night I had the privilege of attending a workshop for English teachers who get together once a month to share writing ideas, reading strategies and sources and to simply discuss what they are doing in their classroom (Nicole, you are fantastic for doing this!). I’ve gone to this before, but have not had a chance to since summer and was immediately glad I made time for it yesterday. Here is what I learned in a quick two hour meeting time:
- There’s a fabulous TED Talk called “Love Letters to Strangers” introduced to me by my friend Angeline (here is the link: https://www.ted.com/talks/hannah_brencher_love_letters_to_strangers?language=en). I had no idea what a powerful classroom activity this could be to have students write positive messages to random strangers and then leave them in random places (gas stations, inside books in a bookstore, at Walmart). Totally stealing this idea!
- I need to go to NCTE next year because the teachers were so excited about what they experienced while there a few weeks ago. On my list…
- Using podcasts in the classroom is very powerful and I need to continue to do so. Using Serial was a big hit this year and the kids learned so much while listening. After talking with other teachers, I felt good about having used it in my classroom.
- There’s more English teachers jumping in to do Genius Hour with their kids. I loved talking to another teacher who is trying it next semester and sharing ideas and resources. She turned me onto a blogger and teacher named Laura Randazzo (here is the link to her site: http://laurarandazzo.com) who blogs about everything related to the secondary classroom. I am now following her blog. Thanks, Sarah, for the recommendation.
- I get to read Writing with Mentors by Allison Marchetti and Rebekah O’Dell as a book study with this group (the link to the book is here: http://www.heinemann.com/products/E07450.aspx). My geeky side is doing cartwheels in anticipation. Total nerd.
- I love talking with other English teachers. There is some inspiring stuff going on in English classrooms all over our area.
Off to grade, but I wanted to get this down before I got wrapped up in 5,000 other things. In a nutshell, collaboration is the best PD a teacher can ask for…and it’s free. Are you listening, all you schools out there?