It's no secret that most teachers would say their favorite time of the year is summer. It's a well-earned and well-deserved break from grading, parent emails, professional wardrobes, and 30-minute lunch breaks. It's a time to relax and reenergize for the year ahead.
But with that freedom from normal work hours, there is also freedom to explore ways to improve my teaching for next year. I like to think about my goals for the summer at the end of each school year. This summer I wanted to start a blog. I finally jumped on that one five weeks in. (My Awesome Teaching Partner, henceforth known as "ATP," told me her summer goal was potty training her almost three-year-old. It makes my goals sound a lot more fun.) It's been a productive summer and yet still a great change of pace. So what have I been up to this summer? How am I doing on other goals?
Here is the list:
1. Teach Grad class on Grammar Instruction. More on that later.
2. Read more. I haven't been making as progress as I had hoped. I've finished The Bell Bandit, by Jaqueline Davies (author of The Lemonade War), Divergent by Veronica Roth, and am currently reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. It's probably my favorite of the three and a great nonfiction read.
3. Read more professional texts. Because of above grad class, I've been digging into Jeff Anderson's 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know and Janet Angelillo's A Fresh Approach to Teaching Punctuation. Janet's work makes so much sense. She works with the younger grades to teach very basic discovery lessons on punctuation, tone, and the rules of writing. I'm going to be stealing a few things from her next year.
4. Attend Sycamore Literacy Conference. ATP and I, among others, attended this professional development the first few days of our summer. While I'm not sure any of us were that pumped going into the experience, I got so many good ideas out of it that you will be hearing about this coming year. Most of all, I learned I have a crush on Chris Tovani. She's amazing. Her book So What They Really Know? is totally on my wish list.
5. Attend some other upcoming PDs you'll be hearing about: Columbia Writing Project Institute, Teach American History Summer Seminar, and a War of 1812 Institute. Whew... who said this summer thing was a piece of cake?
6. Think about how to improve my vocabulary instruction for next year to make it more engaging. I found this gem through one of the awesome teachers in my grammar class. We'll be using this "Kick me Strategy" from Jody McCauley next year for sure.
7. Beat my sister in Words with Friends. Does that count as a professional goal? Because I did it last week! She's tough competition.
Just to round it out... I've also:
8. Completed a month of boot camp.
9. Babysat for 1.5 & 2.5 year girls while their parents were out of town for three days. (I don't know how you mommas do it!)
10. Caught up with lots of lovely friends.
How has your summer been going?