Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Perfect Day of Professional Learning (#nerdlution 10)

Today was a marvelous, spectacular, all good, perfect day of professional learning.  Some days are like that.

I recently commented to a district administrator that I needed to go to a conference.  She may have thought I was joking until I repeated it again with added emphasis.  I need to go to conferences and workshops.  I need to read professional books and blogs and follow amazing educators on Twitter.  I need to talk to smart colleagues about professional this and that.  Professional learning energizes me.  So, it is possible that I may not sleep for days.

The day started at 4:40 with a pre-run check of my e-mail and a glance through Feedly to check if anyone on my must-read list had a new post.  I read a post about wordless picture books at A Year of Reading and thought these new titles and maybe dusting off some old favorites to recommend to teachers to use with students after winter break.  Next up a post from Librarian in Cute Shoes, prompting the addition of Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library to my wish list.  I limit myself to three reads before the gym, so I had to glance at a very practical and cute fashion blog before heading out.  Running is always my time to ponder, so my three-miler was filled with reflection and planning.

I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop hosted by a neighboring school district.  Steve Barkley presented on instructional coaching with the end in mind -- student achievement.  His presentation was thought-provoking.  There were numerous and frequent opportunities to talk with colleagues, and the day flew by.  (Side note: As someone who facilitates large-group professional development, I was in awe of his sense of timing with turn-and-talks, as well his storytelling and use of analogies to emphasize a point.  Masterful!) Since I was there with another instructional coach from the district, we were able to reflect on where we've been, where we are, and where we're going.  Such fabulous conversation!  My wheels are still turning from the day of learning, but I'm not ready to write about it yet.

My mentor/best friend happened to be at the workshop too.  Cue the angels singing!  We didn't realize this beforehand, and our busy schedules had made it so we hadn't seen each other face-to-face in too long.  It was the best surprise.  Plus neither of us had to run kids to practices or other events after-school, meaning we could go grab a cup of hot tea and a cookie. The gift of time.  I think I become a better educator (and mom and person) every time we're together.

After some dinner and family time, more professional learning awaited.  I read a little from Causes and Cures: Getting to the Root of Academic and Behavior Problems before turning on my computer to get ready to blog.  Apparently in the two minutes that it takes to turn on my computer and access Google Chrome, I can become distracted.  I began scrolling through my Twitter feed and discovered a chat that had just finished with Jennifer Serravallo.  Lots of great questions and answers!  I'm interested to know more about her approach to formative assessment of independent reading.  Back on task, it was time to start blogging as part of my #nerdlution.  My blogging buddy Kendra has talked a lot about her writing journey on our blog.  I feel as though we are in the same place, but she's better at articulating it.  Because she's awesome.

As this post comes to an end, I'll end my perfect day of professional learning with more tea and blog reading.  There may a little football watching too.


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