Sunday, August 14, 2011

What Does PD Look Like? (Part 2)

About 2 weeks ago, I shared some of my summer PPD (personal professional development). I said there would be another installation of that thinking, so here goes!

I had an amazing opportunity to present at a Choice Literacy workshop on workshops in the primary and intermediate classrooms with Katie (Creative Literacy). Those of you who have prepared for a half-day or a whole-day workshop know that your learning really starts months before the actual workshop. Katie and I spent a lot of time together reflecting about our workshop practices, teasing out those big beliefs we both share. Our conversation as we put together our presentation was priceless as a learning tool for me.

Some of my cohorts from the Conferring #cybperPD decided we needed a trip together to IKEA, about 2 hours from here. Our initial goal was simple: find a great stool/seat to be able to pull up alongside students while we conferred with them. The trip more than exceeded the initial goal. A 2 hour trip there, MANY actual hours in the store, and a two hour trip home allowed for some funny, personal, and yes, also very rich learning conversations! I know how much learning I took away from these smart ladies, and I hope they took something away from my being there too. :) A huge thanks to Mandy, Cathy, and Deb for such an amazing day together.

Like many educators, I take the opportunity in the summer to focus on a few professional books. I read many good books, but the two that will have the biggest impact on what I do in the classroom this next year are Conferring by Patrick Allen and Real Revision by Kate Messner. I've said much about Patrick's book while writing my reflections, but I have to say if you teach writing, and you haven't yet read Kate's book, it's a must read!!! First of all, she's a teacher, having the same experiences we all do in writing workshop. But here's the genius of her book -- she is an avid writer and has published many books already, including this one. Truly, I'm not sure where she finds all the time, but I am mesmerized as I read how she approaches one of the hardest parts of writing, revision. She does it in such a real way. I have taken so much away from her thinking. But, if that's not enough, she has other authors give revision tips throughout the book. What a great hook with kids!

Another great PPD resource this summer was twitter. I've had family, friends, and colleagues wonder why I involve myself in a social networking site that seems (to them) to be full of minutiae. For me, it is one of the best PPDs in which I've ever participated. As I think about many things in which I participated professionally this summer, they all stem from twitter. Whether it's following a certain person who shares great reading titles, or following authors like Kate Messner, Patrick Allen, Barbara O'Connor, and Louise Borden, I am smarter because of what they share. And then certain people on twitter sponsor events - the two most noticeable for me this summer were the Conferring #cyberPD and the #pb10for10 where educators from all over and all age groups shared 10 picture books they couldn't live without. What an amazing resource! I have also tried to participate in some "chats" on twitter this summer -- an easy one to try out if you're a bookaholic like me is the #titlechat led by @donalynbooks (The Book Whisperer) and @paulwhankins on the last Sunday evening of each month at 8:00 PM EST. So many great finds during this hour long chat.

And, the last summer PPD I always participate in is the opportunity to catch up on the most current children's books. What would a summer be without reading and professional development?!!


  1. Did you find the great stool/seat for conferring at IKEA? We want to know!

  2. Headed back there tomorrow. Fingers crossed that stool I love is still there.

  3. I took a class this summer on Children's Lit but beyond that your summer was filled with positive development. Thank you for the great resources. I guess I need to delve more deeply into my twitter account.