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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

MidSummer 2016 Plans, Opportunities, and Reflection

It's been a very busy summer with lots of professional study and share as well as time for friends and family. As the summer continues, there remains a terrific list of professional learning presentations and events. I welcome you to join me in one or more of these learning/teaching opportunities if you're interested. Below I note the professional areas I'm involved in with notes about what has happened to date and what's planned.

Teach Math Well
I'm really looking forward to a terrific year of math teaching and learning next year. I've started organizing math lessons, information, and learning in the new blog, Teach Math Well, and will continue to add to, revise, and use the blended lessons to guide the program next year for the fifth grade math students. I have a few books on my nightstand ready to read too--these books will support successful math teaching in the year ahead.

Krissy Venosdale, a STEAM superstar,
shared this photo of STEAM supplies. 
There continues to be a lot of work to do in this realm. Once again, I'll organize the classroom STEAM center in preparation for the year ahead--this is a day-long task. I'm also attending a number of STEAM-related workshops at The Building Learning Communities (BLC) conference this week and The McAuliffe Science Center day-long STEAM workshop in Mid-August. I'm sure that information will support STEAM study at fifth grade. A meeting is scheduled for our grade-level team, and as part of our work that day, we'll organize the STEAM year beginning with our newly revised Global Cardboard challenge efforts.

Similarly, I'll continue to work with colleagues at both the elementary level and high school to develop our grade-level and high school-elementary school naturalist study and experiences. As in years past, I'll work with Robin Stuart from Massachusetts Audubon-Drumlin Farm to design a naturalist learning menu. Last year we had a great field trip, expert speakers, and the opportunity to raise endangered spadefoot toad tadpoles. Our study last year also included experts from TransitionWayland, Wayland's Green Team, and Transition Framingham who taught us about living systems and composting. I hope those experts will return this year as well. Further our local grant source, The Wayland Public Schools Foundation, gave us a grant to purchase naturalist tools which we used well to support our study.

Cultural Relevancy
I still have Emdin's book awaiting a read which I'll do before school starts. Also, we plan to continue our efforts to work with and visit The African American History Museum in Boston--a field study that supports cultural relevance specifically with regard to our history study and biography project at fifth grade. I hope to include more content that reflects cultural relevancy in all of our teaching efforts this year and will work with the learning team: students, colleagues, families, administrators, and community members to do this.

Teacher Leadership
I'm close to the end of the NEA/MTA/CTQ/NBPTS Teacher Leadership Initiative which was a terrific year of study and deep learning. I've just started TeachPlus's online Policy course which is also terrific learning. At the MTA Summer Conference I'll join +Dan Callahan and +Mike Ritzius   for a new leadership and teacher share initiative they've been working on, The Art of Hosting: Conversations that Matter. I'm looking forward to that learning as well as it meets my desire to bring professional learning and collaboration to deeper, more meaningful, and impactful efforts with regard to teaching children well.

Building Learning Communities (BLC)
+Tracy Sockalosky reached out to me to see if I'd be interested in volunteering at November Learning's BLC conference. I always wanted to attend The BLC so I was happy to say yes. I'm sure it will be a terrific learning opportunity.

Our Massachusetts ECET2-MA2016 team will meet in mid August to complete the next step of planning for this terrific event. In the meantime, if you're a Massachusetts teacher who is interested in sharing your expertise and ideas at this ECET2-MA2016, please submit an RFP. The event and RFP process is outlined on this blog post.

Local Union: WTA
I spent some time this summer updating our local union's website, and will also spend a bit of time with our local board discussing upcoming issues and events. One goal our local union has is to involve more teachers, and I'm hoping that we can attract a wide diversity of educators to contribute to the decision making and efforts that have always helped to make our local membership a strong and connected professional community.

MTA Summer Conference
I'll join my education colleagues from across the state at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst to learn, share ideas, and have some fun. This conference is open to all MTA members. I find it to be a terrific way to share the research, study, and work I've done as well as learn from others and jumpstart the teaching/learning year ahead. Click the link above to find out more details if you're interested.

During the conference period, I'll present three workshops. If those workshops interest you, please join me (see descriptions below). I'll also have a chance to meet with many Massachusetts educators who have participated in Next Generation Leadership Program, a program I participated in last spring, and I'll spend an evening listening to the Ed Talks (see below). In addition, the chance to catch up with colleagues from my local district as well as a number of educators from my Professional Learning Network (PLN) makes this a terrific event.


School Year 2016-2017
Summer study will prepare me well for the year to come. It will be interesting to get back to school and hear the goals of district and school administrators as well as the goals of my close colleagues, students, and family members. We'll meld that altogether to create a dynamic learning/teaching year.

In general, my goals for 2016-2017 will focus in on continuing to contribute to the terrific shared teaching model we embarked on last year. We'll have an opportunity to talk about that effort when we present at MassCUE this fall. Other focus areas for the year ahead include math teaching/learning, STEAM study, student naturalists learning and experiences, and greater cultural relevancy.

I'd like to reach out to our local grant source, WPSF, once again to support innovation with the creation of a combined science/math unit focused on fractions and matter. I'll likely seek the support of local experts, organizations, and museums to craft this grant, one that I believe will lead to a rich hands-on physical science/math unit of study.

Our teaching team will have the opportunity to present the ways that technology has helped to make our new shared teaching model and grade-level community such a success (see description below). The MassCUE Fall Conference is always a great opportunity to learn a lot about teaching and learning. For me it was the gateway event that opened the doors to building a dynamic Professional Learning Network (PLN) as well as familiarity with many modern day tech tools and learning/teaching processes. I highly recommend this event to all educators if you're looking for some dynamic professional learning.