Now I read with the teacher in mind, thinking about how I will facilitate conversations around instructional strategies and ideas from the professional texts I'm reading, in order to help teachers have a better understanding of the "why" and "how" of the instructional moves they make in their own classrooms. This has changed how I annotate and keep track of my own thinking as I'm reading. I started last fall by keeping notes using Google Drive, where I could link handouts I create and web links within my notes so it was all in one place. I found this made it easier for me to share with teachers this year, as I could create "synopsis" notes that could be shared with them during coaching cycles or professional learning sessions.
This summer I'm taking this a step further, using "virtual" avenues that I've expanded through my PLN (Professional Learning Network). The National Council for Teachers of English just published a qualitative narrative study on teacher participation in online professional development. As I tweeted out today, I'm a big believer and participant in this kind of learning!
This summer I've added another layer to my professional learning! I'm using Google Drive and Voxer to participate in several professional book studies. This idea started back in May when people were sharing their #cyberpd book stacks via Twitter, Facebook, and Google Communities. Several people in a larger Voxer group I'm a part of noticed that we had similar titles.
And so a smaller group of us decided to read three books we had in common during June, July, and August. Michele (@knott_michele) set up a Voxer group and reading schedule for the first book, Writing About Reading: From Book Talk to Literary Essays by Janet Angelillo. I set up a google doc where we could keep notes and add comments as we read. It's been a great way to share ideas and thinking, while still enjoying summer time trips and activities. As a literacy strategist, I've really appreciated the comments and questions the teachers & teacher librarians have added to the conversations, both through Voxer and the google document. We've worked together to create handouts and charts that capture key ideas that we can easily reference once we're back in the busyness of a school schedule. We're just getting started on our next book, Conferring~The Keystone to Reader's Workshop by Patrick Allen, using the same format.
Voxer has benefited me in many ways, since someone first tweeted about last summer. Working in separate buildings, my coaching partner, Jamie (@fivenomar) and I found it very helpful this past school year to stay connected during the week and in planning professional development. My new coaching partner, Matt (@Matt_Halpern) and I are already using it for thinking about & planning for the upcoming school year. My colleague, Natalee Stotz (@nataleestotz) set up a #nErDcampNNE Group for our planning committee to use the weekend of Nerd Camp Northern New England, which helped us all stay in touch in various parts of a large school building. I'm a part of a 'Coaching Connections' Voxer Group that includes a small group of literacy coaches who support each other in work specific to coaching and working with adult learners. We started by meeting monthly via Google Hangout and added Voxer as a way of sending quick messages of encouragement or questions during the work day. An 'All Things Literacy' Voxer group was created when I tweeted out a question looking for input from 3rd grade teachers about how they use & organize Readers Notebooks and our conversation needed more than 140 characters. Honestly, the more I use Voxer, the more I see the powerful layer it adds to an already vibrate, engaging professional learning community! I'm so thankful for those in my PLN who have been willing to try this idea out with me!
How are you leveraging the various online professional development opportunities and platforms? I'd love to hear more about the ways your using it to expand professional conversations and learning! As for the professional books I'm reading this summer, I'll share big take aways from my reading in upcoming blog posts...so stay tuned.