Gimme Five: The Off-Season

Thursday, May 8, 2014
your cruise ship director, Suzanne

The three best things about teaching: June, July, and August.

I hope that no one has uttered these words (or ones like them) to you.  They make my blood boil, and the Texas summer heat hasn't even gotten here yet!  

We know how our summers are spent- planning curriculum for next year, working summer school, and attending professional developments.  

Professional Development Truth #1:  All trainings are not created equal.  

I keep this gem on my camera roll so that I can text it to a friend when applicable:
Can I get an Amen?!

Pet Peeves at a Training:
-Telling me something I already know
-Telling me something that would have been nice to know months ago
-READING A POWER POINT- Don't get me started!
-Being a perfect example of what not to do in the classroom

Professional Development Truth #2:  A good training can change everything!

Just as we've all sat through bad trainings, I hope you've also gotten the change to attend good ones as well.  Here are 5 life-changing (too far? career-changing) trainings that I think every educator should attend:

1.  You can probably guess this first one-- Gretchen Bernabei!  
We heart our girl Gretch!  I dare you to spend two days with her and not make a "where has this been all my life" face/audible noise.  Her essay structures have been a game changer for me.  They make writing logical and give students something to say.  She provides tips and resources for 4th-10th grade teachers.  Texas teachers, you're in luck!  She's hitting (almost) every major city this summer.  Check out her schedule here.

2.  Abydos Learning (formerly the New Jersey Writing Project)
I need to go find my students from my first year of teaching and apologize.  I loved them!  We had a great year, and I was a darn good teacher.  But when it came to writing instruction, I didn't know what I was doing!  I knew that I needed to sign up for this training stat to remedy this.  Abydos is like therapy.  You learn how to teach writing by writing yourself.  Seriously, pages and pages.  This is not meant to deter anyone. It's wonderful!  You are applying strategies you've been taught to your own work.  Let's face it, it's good for us to be in the student seat every once in awhile.  This training also reinforces the importance of student choice and sharing writing (and not is a roll-your-eyes we-don't-have-time-for-that kind of way).  Click here for a summer offering near you.

3.  Rich Allen
I can still quote part of Rich Allen's training.  I know I'm a big dork, but come on!  He's just that good.  
What you learn with pleasure, you remember forever.
Give directions-
Where as the first two suggestions were ELA-based, this training is for anyone everyone.  He presents engaging strategies for every content area and grade level.  He will help you create a productive, inviting area that makes students want to learn.  Holla!  For more info, click here.

4.  Kylene Beers
After reading Note & Notice, we jumped at the opportunity to attend training with Kylene and Bob Probst.  This is where we found one of our new favorite strategies- Possible Sentences.  They are both so kind, and you absolutely will walk away with many an idea your anxious to implement tomorrow.  Her summer and fall dates are listed here.

5.  The Curly Classroom
Didn't see that coming?!  Bless your unsuspecting heart!  It's party time friends.  Come and join us for our birthday party.  Topics we plan to cover: interactive notebooks, writing structures, and SHARED READINGS!  As a party favor, we have a grade-level set just for you!  I just wrote to someone today that Shared Readings are the best thing I have going on in my classroom.  Start the new school year with them in your class too.  And guess what- registration opens TODAY!  So sign yourself up and invite all your friends.  (There might be an extra gift for those that bring a friend...or four.)  We can't wait to see you then!!

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