Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday of Summer

August is the Sunday of summer, and as Dr. Seuss said, “How did it get so late so soon?”

Summer is an important time for me to rest, recharge, retool, and recommit. As August rolls in, my focus on curriculum becomes more intense, and the first few weeks of school begin to gain clarity.

It is estimated that there are 3.7 million full-time elementary and secondary school teachers in the U.S. preparing for the start of their school year, for their first conversation about community, for their first lesson on digital citizenship, for their first science experiment, for the first opportunity to experiment with the new ideas they developed over the course of the summer. 3.7 million teachers! ...and each one of us with our own opinion about what works in the classroom.

Technology and connectivity have certainly changed my classroom, and I am increasingly aware of how it has changed the teaching profession. Educators, now more than ever, need to connect with other educators. Success is hard to come by if we isolate and insulate ourselves in our classrooms. 

As we enter into the Sunday of summer, it is time to give serious thought to reconnecting with colleagues in person and online, and building Professional Learning Networks. Reaching out to connect with other educators allows us all to test new ideas, learn new trends, collect resources, and gather feedback. Connecting with other educators in turn allows us to connect our students to their peers and professionals beyond classroom walls.

Starting with small, manageable steps makes a tremendous difference. For the upcoming school year, let's all consider:
  • Scheduling a regular meeting time with someone outside of our grade level, department, or even building.
  • Attending local, state, and national conferences. Join me at an Ed Camp!
  • Using Twitter to follow an interesting hashtag (#), to seek out others who share your ideas, and to explore ideas that seem foreign to you.
  • Reading educational blogs and posting comments based on your reactions.

Here are some of my trusted PLN resources: 

Twitter, to name just a few:

Blogs, to name a few:

What are your trusted resources for building and participating in a PLN? Share your favorite strategies, conferences, tweeps, and blogs.