Tuesday, June 17, 2014

3 Simple Summer Goals?

     Next to December, June is about the busiest month of the year-- only no one is singing carols or baking goodies.  We're all bemoaning grading, taking inventory, and shouting things like, "Who cares if the book is out of order! Would someone kill that beeper?!"  
     We spend time hunting down book thieves and rummaging in lockers for MIA titles. We wish for one of those little "Do not disturb" signs from the Hilton and long for a chamber maid to arrive to tackle housekeeping. If we're lucky, someone has stopped to wish us a nice vacation and remind us why we enjoy working with these packages of adolescent hormones.   (Disclaimer:  I was a middle school librarian for about 10 years...)
     By the time we get poolside drinking [soda] with little umbrellas, we have 10% more gray hairs and a few less brain cells.  We've baked the cookies and eaten dozens claiming we deserved them and we desperately hope to rouse up a little patience for our own kids.   

Fast forward three weeks: 
  • Yes.  I did agree to the PLC and where is that book? 
  • Yes.  I did take home ten books to read so that I can recommend good books. 
  • Yes.  I did agree to look at Piktochart and learn how to create infographics. 
  • Yes.  Perhaps I can find time to read
To keep yourself professionally equipped in our tsunami of change, we can't afford to ignore our profession during this extended time of respite. Just as the kids experience the "summer slide," professionals often take on a Rip-VanWinkle persona and wish that everyone will just leave us alone.  Educational changes are make us feel like we're in a NASCAR race and to keep current, we need a little inspiration.  

Three goals seem manageable.  Three goals are easy to meet.  Three is a friendly do-able number.  Take time for yourself and family, but also take time to equip yourself for change.  Partner with a colleague, listserv, or PLC for accountability.  Here are 3 simple goals to embrace: 
If you don't know where to start, here are a few ideas:
  • Review the narrative nonfiction winners and pick a few
  • Review the Newbery and Printz award winners and pick a few
  • For professional reading... you can "do" twitter, but Twitter is often a surge of surface reading.  It's great-don't get me wrong.  I tweet.  I read tweets, and I follow links for ideas.  But that's like being fed with breadcrumbs.  Occasionally, you really need a meal.  There are great professional books which will help you equip yourself for our changing educational world.  Here are a few that I recommend in order to equip yourself with the tools for Inquiry, Common Core, and the latest buzzword for libraries...Makerspaces. Choose one and enjoy it with a friend, poolside, sipping soda and making plans. 
Essential Questions - because it is a vital skill to understand.  It enables us to move away from rote 'n recall.
Rx for the Common Core - because I wrote it and know it's easy to read, packaged for easy understanding and will equip an educator with a plethora of skills for the CCSS, Inquiry Based Learning, questioning, and higher level thought.
Teaching for Inquiry - because everything that these authors write is good.  It will equip you with a strong foundation in Inquiry Based Learning.
School Library Makerspaces - because this is the latest buzzword and we should understand this...in order to weave this into our learning common space. 

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