Primary Chalkboard: Summer Learning - Keep YOUR Learning Edge!

Summer Learning - Keep YOUR Learning Edge!

Greetings My Primary Chalkboard Peeps!
Summer break is either underway or nearing it's glorious entrance into your life! WAHOO! I just LOVE my summer break- it gives me a chance to recharge, relax, and start formulation my plan of attack for the next year.
This summer comes with a whole NEW challenge, as I was just hired as the administrator for my elementary school. I am just flat out stoked about it! I have a great vision of where I want my school to go and how we will get there. It will be a wonderful adventure and I can't wait to share all the details along the way both here and on my blog, An Educator's Life!
Anyways, I digress.
Over the summer, after I have had a chance to sleep in for a week or two, and have had a chance to tackle some projects that have been in the wings waiting, I begin to "wonder".
I wonder if I will be able to keep up the next year.
I wonder if I am aware of the most recent research that will give me the edge I need to help my next class.
I wonder if I was effective in my math instruction.
And my "wondering" goes on and on. I hope I am not alone in this line of thought!

So, my mind then goes to the next logical step... HOW TO ADDRESS all my wondering questions!

Every summer, I devote small amounts of time to reading educational blogs, articles, and professional magazines. In doing so, I find that I still enjoy my summer (hiking, swimming, reunions, and family outings), but I also have a game plan formulating in my teacher brain!

So what exactly DO I read?

That is a great question. Let me share a few of  my tips to MAKING time, and a few of the sites/books that I am currently reading and/or read from frequently!

1) Figure out what it is you want to improve in next year.
     -It can be overwhelming to try and read about LOTS of topics. Narrow it down to one or two and study the heck out of them!

2) Make time to read at least weekly.
     -I tried to MAKE myself read every day one summer. I found that it took the enjoyment out of my summer break, and that I started to resent the opportunity I was trying to make for myself. Now, I set a goal to read ONE article and ONE chapter from a professional text each WEEK! Tons of flexibility and still gives me some accountability. I also feel like I am able to think about what I read and consider if that new learning is worth adding to my skill set for the coming year. And, I can usually finish ONE book in a summer. Easy-Peasy!

3) Share what you are learning- start a blog, share on social media, keep a learning journal, or just simply tell a good friend- teacher or not- what you are learning about.
     -I think it is key in the summer learning cycle, to share what you are learning- with someone- anyone that will listen. I mean, don't become "that person" that scares others away, but find someone you can share your learning with. If you don't, you won't remember it!

4) Enjoy it AND your summer. Remember, this is simply to help you "up your game"! If it becomes tedious, or interferes, then simply adjust it. It's YOUR learning!


1) I just LOVE ASCD! Their Educational Leadership magazine is simply amazing. Here is a free SUMMER edition that ANYONE can read. Click HERE. Once you get to the link, use the left side of the screen to read the article you want to read.

2) Because I want my teachers to use data more to drive their instruction, I am focusing on data-driven classrooms this year. I am reading TWO different books on the topic currently. Again- I try to read one chapter a week in in each!
I am reading:
So far I am loving them! Learning lots about WHY data is important, and how to collect and use data that is helpful!

3) I also love reading newspaper articles each day about what is going on in my state in the education world. I feel empowered knowing what my state and patrons think about education, what the trends are, and what to expect during each legislative session. I also feel prepared to answer parents questions when they arise. In Utah, I love Utah Policy. I get a daily digest of newspaper links for major headline information. Education appears nearly everyday. You can subscribe HERE if you are from Utah (or if you want to read Utah policy).

4) I should own stock in this site. I think 1/2 my paycheck goes to them each month...ha ha. I search their site frequently for books/ebooks about the current topic I am studying. Sometimes there are great FREE E-editions that I will download.

I think that I have probably passed the TMI (Too Much Information) line, so I will leave it at that. Remember, that summer learning IS important, it IS easy, and it WILL help you be a better teacher this fall when you return to school.

Here is to an amazing summer break with a wonderful learning edge!

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