Summer Learning

Happy summer! Learning is a passion and a purpose, right? What are you reading and learning about this summer? As educators, we have a drive and passion for learning. That passion is crucial for our success as change makers! We all know that brain research on learning, our students, challenges, culture, and life are all constantly evolving. To keep up with those changes, we keep learning ourselves (practicing what we preach, right?). Schools should be a place of curiosity, where educators nurture that curiosity and encourage the hunger for learning. And that starts with us! The more we learn about…

Starting the School Year with Fun!

I blogged about back to school last July here: Starting off the School Year. Since it is the end of July–it’s time for another back to school post! My blog last year was about my mistakes in reading the syllabus on the first day and not making it fun! So on that note, here are some ways you can make the first few days of school more engaging! Check out this Indiana Jones group activity to make going over your syllabus, policies and procedures more engaging (from Ryan Stephans of Summit Trail Middle School who adapted it from John Meehan…

Improving PLTs

If you’ve been around education, you have probably heard of DuFour and PLCs, or Professional Learning Communities. We have been working on growing the success of PLCs (we call them PLTs, for Teams) on my campus for a few years now. We started the improvement process by focusing on the Team Leaders and equipping them with the tools they need to lead an effective team by modeling growth and learning. “Highly effective teams know what we’re working on, why we’re working together and how we’ll work together.” – Elena Aguilar In planning the team leader training we (the ICs on…

The importance of talking

The Texas Council for Social Studies annual conference was a few weeks ago in the Houston area. It’s one I’ve attended off and on over my years as an educator in Texas. This was the first time I went with a group of other teachers as well. The conference (although in a poor location with tiny rooms) was full of a variety of sessions tied to technology, specific topics, writing, reading, and talking. Unfortunately, I only saw a few sessions on the importance of talking as educators and as students. Talking to learn new content, talking to review old content,…

It’s been awhile…

So my blogging goals for last school year definitely slipped away from me! So back at it now, as better late than never, right? Today was the first day of the Cy-Fair Digital Learning Conference. DLC is a great conference that CFISD organizes each year at the end of July. I think today they said about 1700 educators were in attendance–fantastic for summertime professional learning!  I went to a great session on PLCs. It is fascinating to hear about how other districts (and campuses for that matter) view PLCs. Some view it as something to be done and for others,…

Listening to Understand

It is almost November and this is my first blog for the school year, oops! But better late than never, right?? In my conversations, meetings, books I’m reading, and professional learning opportunities lately a common thread has emerged: Listening to Understand.  What does that mean to you? Is that something you think about? I have am amazing opportunity to work with the Teaching and Learning Alliance on a Lab School Cohort on my campus. Our coach is Cynthia, and she is someone that you can learn so many things from! What I’ve noticed most is her ability to listen. And…

Starting off the school year

Summer is rapidly coming to an end which means let’s start the back to school work. Time to take all that summer learning from books, blogs, twitter, planning with co-workers, professional learning, vacation, and etc, and put it into practice. How do you start off your school year? Prep your classroom, make some lesson plans, get those bulletin boards and seating charts ready, etc?  What about the syllabus, class rules, and class expectations? That was something that was at the top of my priority list my first few years of teaching. I felt it paramount to cover every bit of…

#LFTX17, High-Impact Instruction with Jim Knight

Whew, only the end of day 1 and I am still processing the learning. I was with Jim Knight for High-Impact Instruction today. To help solidify my learning, I’m coming here to jot my notes and thoughts from the day and action plan moving forward. First off–how awesome is this?? As part of the session, we were given the High-Impact Instruction book, a guide for Teachers and a spiral-bound notebook to guide our reading and learning from the session and the book. Today, we focused on: The Impact Cycle for Coaching –what it is and how can it be used…

In the summer swing!

My last post was over a month ago, oops! Time to readjust my goals so that doesn’t happen again. How has your summer been so far? I’ve spent some time on campus for interviews (we still have a few openings in the department to fill), and I’ve spent a lot of time on my laptop grading AP Human Geography virtual school assignments. The past few days have been wonderful. I’ve had some lovely family downtime visiting Gma at the lake house, spending time with the kids, time with cousins, and just going with the flow. No real schedule of events….

Wrapping up a school year

We are getting closer to the end of the school year. This week we have our EOCs and next week will finish up AP testing. So what do you do at the end of the year? What lessons are your favorites? What do you try to leave students with to carry into the summer? Are you hurrying to finish your curriculum, or finding times to explore new things and to play? Now is the time to play, explore, and let the students inquire, right?  If you missed out on that all year because you felt the pressure to finish the…

Strengths

Do you know what your strengths are? What about your weaknesses? Is that something you think about or talk about often? And speaking of weaknesses–I dislike that in an interview question. Do you like it? It is a tough one to answer when attempting to persuade someone to hire you based on your skill set, but then have to explain to them where you have deficiencies. My husband is currently working on his masters (to gain administrator certification). One of his first assignments was to complete a Kiersey Temperament Survey. It was interesting to read his results as they fit…

#IMMOOC–The Innovative Educator

Innovation is more than just inventing something new. Innovation is creative and messy. It is about creating a space for experimentation, failures, change for the better. Critical questions to ask when looking for innovation: Is it new? Is it better? How can you use innovation in teaching? How can students use it to learn?  We have to create an environment of uncertainty and unpredictability.  If you know every day when you show up to class EXACTLY what is going to happen (think about it from the lens of a student–I’m going to come in, sit down, do my warm up, listen…