Wow! That is the only word that comes to mind when I think about my professional development this summer. I think I should rename it PPD - PERSONAL professional development. This entire summer, I've been thinking about topics that are meaningful to me; exploring concepts or practices I'd like to refine in my workshop practice. The take-away from all of this -- mapping out and planning my own personal learning makes it very powerful.
Over the next few days, I'm going to share some of the ways I've been thinking about learning and workshop this summer.
One of the first activities in which I participated was #cyberPD chat. A group of teachers came together on twitter; we had all put Patrick Allen's book, Conferring: The Keystone of Reader's Workshop, on our professional TBR pile. Led by our gracious hosts, Cathy, Laura, and Jill, we spent a month looking at Patrick's book, reading it, responding about sections on our blogs, reading others' posts, responding to their thinking, and then meeting Patrick Allen online last Monday for a twitter conversation about conferring. Talk about a PD that had me entirely focused! So many ways in which to participate and think about conferring. I feel like the conferring part of my workshop will be stronger because of my active participation.
To follow up from this #cyberPD conversation, a small group of us got together to talk about using Evernote as a documentation tool while conferring. Cathy, Deb, Maria, and I all gathered around my kitchen table this past week, four of us actually sitting at the table, and Susan Dee from Maine, joining us on computer via Skype. Two benefits showed up here. First, the connected learning piece. All five of us were connected even though we teach in 3 different school districts and 4 different school buildings. Twitter has brought us together in powerful ways. We can truly form PLNs that span the world. That being said, the 2nd benefit of our meeting was the ability to sit side by side and talk together in person. We could talk in real-time about what we were doing and we could share our thinking on the spot and make it immediately visible to others. Non-stop learning took place that afternoon (ok, and some great chips and queso were eaten as well - sorry about that Susan!). Again, I had many great take-aways about my teaching practice from this personal PD session.
In an effort to not make each post too lengthy, I'll leave you with these two opportunities for now. Check back in the coming days for other PPD in which I've participated and learned. And in the meantime, what have your personal professional development learning opportunities been this summer? Would love to hear about them!!