Saturday, June 6, 2015

Summer Learning Opportunities

Summer.  Sure, summer is a time to enjoy the green grass, the leaved trees, the warm waters, and that gorgeous sunshine.  Sure, summer is a time where my schedule slows enough that I can actually breathe again.  For me, however, the best thing about summer is time to work to grow professionally. Summer is the time to read professional books, attend workshops, rethink practice and pedagogy, and connect with other educators.

This summer, my plans may be bigger than the time available.  Here is some of the professional learning I have planned for the summer.

Hilliard Summer Academy:  In June our district hosts its Summer Academy.  Educators around the district lead these sessions creating opportunities to learn from others.  Last week, Julie Johnson, Deb Frazier and I lead a session on digital literacy.  We had an amazing group with so many smart questions.  I was also able to attend a session on our new LMS:  Canvas.  Betsy Bargar led our session.  I'm glad I took it early in the summer so I could play around with it a bit before the year begins.  There are other classes available in the coming weeks.

Columbus Area Writing Project:  This summer I will spend two weeks writing with the Columbus Area Writing Project.  I'm honored to have this opportunity.  I've always admired the work of CAWP and the NWP.  I've participated in many events sponsored by this group, and have always grown as both a writer and as a teacher of writing in the process.  Julie Johnson will be leading our group which includes Tonya Buelow, Deb Frazier, Scott Jones, Deb Lairson, and Mandy Robek.  Our group will be focused on digital literacy. I'm working with educators I know will push my thinking during these weeks.  It should be quite a learning experience.

CLMOOC:  Speaking of the National Writing Project...I'm looking forward to participating in the Connected Learning MOOC hosted by the National Writing Project (June 18 - Aug 2).  This virtual collaboration will allow me to grow in my work to compose digitally and will also provide opportunities to work and learn with others.  During the past year I have followed the work of the Writing Thief MOOC and helped lead The Digital Maker Playground Community.  I have found these learning communities to be another way to learn and connect.

nErDcampMI:  Yes, I made sure to keep my calendar open for Nerd Camp this year (7/6-7/7).  I attended the first year, but due to a conflict was unable to go last year.  This year, I'm looking forward to attending this #edcamp focused on literacy.

#CyberPD:  In July, I'll be cohosting the 5th annual #cyberPD global book talk.  We'll be discussing Digital Reading:  What's Essential by Franki Sibberson and Bill Bass.  The book talk takes place across the month of July.  The book is divided into three sections.  Each week a new section is read and discussed across blogs, #cyberPD Google Community, and on Twitter using the hashtag #cyberPD.  At the end of the month, a virtual live book talk is held in a Twitter chat.  This is always one of my favorite summer learning events.

Innovative Learning Environments (ILE):  August 5-7, I hope to attend ILE.  This conference is focused on using technology to enhance instruction.  Speakers share ways to think differently about the way we define school and share ways to consider new opportunities for young learners.  ILE will conclude with an #edcamp on August 7th.

Professional Reading:  Summer isn't just about events, I have quite a stack of summer professional reading.  The problem is I have more books than I have time.  My hope is to read some of these titles in the coming weeks.  I've signed up for two district books talks that include two titles from this list.

Children's Literature:  During the summer, I always hope to catch up with some of the newer titles available to young readers.  My focus is usually on picture books, but I do find a few middle grade books to enjoy.  This summer I really want to focus my reading on early chapter books so I have better recommendations for the readers I support.  I need to find titles that will work for them as they grow as readers.  Later this month I will participate in Mother Reader's 48 Hour Book Challenge (6/19-6/21) which is perfect for reading some of these early chapter and middle grade books.  In August, Mandy Robek and I host #pb10for10.  This is usually the event I use to celebrate new picture book discoveries.

Wow, when I type all of that in a post I realize I have a lot to do.  It's going to be a busy summer of learning.  Don't worry, I have a vacation planned.  There are a few days tucked away for rest and relaxation.

What do you have planned for your summer learning?  (Yes, I'm a little worried to ask this question as I'm afraid I will want to add to my list!)


  1. I hope you write a post on the early chapter books. This year I discovered the "Branches" books had expanded beyond the Boris series; the new-to-me titles had an appeal for girls.

  2. I challenge anyone who thinks teachers "take the summer off" to utter those words again after reading this post. You continue to amaze me with all you do, Cathy!

  3. I'm pretty proud of all I've accomplished so far -- I completed 2 days of mentor training, I've written and submitted 3 (THREE) articles for CL, I wrote and submitted a grant to our local Dublin Education Foundation, I've read 9 books, I'm caught up on laundry, I cooked some rhubarb sauce (and later today I'll make pesto), i've worked in my own garden and our community garden, I've taken naps, and I've spent time with hubby and friends! Yes, there's a gigantic stack of professional reading; yes, I need to get my self way more organized so I can mentor 1-2 new teachers; yes, I need to...etc, etc, etc. Yes, I need to balance my want-tos and my need-tos!