I will have to hustle to catch up, but I only found out about the challenge today.
What are your professional learning goals this summer?
Whatever they are at the onset of June, they will be sure to have changed by the time we report back to work in August.
That is the nature of teaching. It can be mysterious at times and new needs grow out of the current sets of children sitting in the seats. Sometimes, then, the summer is the worst time for professional learning because the learning goals are defined by last year’s student body whereas when Opening Day rolls around, a new set of children will occupy the seats with their own set of unique learning needs.
Fortunately, I am three years away from beginning my next certificate renewal cycle and do not have to worry about meeting the state’s requirements. Nevertheless, that brings me to Goal Number One.
ONE: Complete the online training module for dyslexia that my district mandated.
I have no idea if it is any good. Usually these online learning assignments are a joke: let the videos play on the home computer while checking email and posting on social media. Once the videos are finished (they will monitor the time to be sure the entire length of the videos ran), take the short quiz for which most question answers can be discerned using common sense. If for some reason a teacher fails the quiz, they can read the explanations for the questions and retake the quiz–as often as they need to until they pass.
The older I get, the less tolerant I am of people wasting my time. But mandates are mandates and my retirement date is still several years away.
TWO: Finish my own choice of an online course that looks at incorporating art into core class instruction.
This one is good. How did I forget to use art in my teaching of mathematics? Specifically, Geometry. Here is an example of a Cubist piece of artwork. Note the strong use of squares and circles. Not only does it depict shapes, but it could be the catalyst for a good discussion about similarity.
That’s not all. African art also features strong geometric features like this.
Art will help the students understood the universality of mathematics. I am also learning about using classroom routines to get students to think and wonder before plunging into the details of procedure.
THREE: Keep reading. Always I have a stack of books about mathematics and how to help students better grasp the concepts, brain research about adolescent development, learning, and memory, and pedagogy, especially that which involves bridging the gaps between the neighborhood culture of the students and the school culture of the teacher.
Florida has delayed the next textbook adoption cycle as the new commissioner carries out an edict from the governor to paint new stripes on what will essentially remain the Common Core standards. Thus, I am spared the necessity of needing to attend a week-long workshop this summer to learn the new book.