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Monday, July 09, 2018

Summer Study: Improving Teaching and Learning

At first I thought I'd take a summer off from research, study, and writing, but once I had a week off, I was ready to learn again. I love the learning I'm able to do during the summer months. I am excited about how I have the time and brain to dig deeper into the teaching and learning areas I want to grow to make the program better and more fulfilling for the children I teach.

I began summer study by reading Casas' book, Culturize. That was a perfect starting point.

Next and currently, I'm reading a book I co-authored, Integrating SEL Into Your Curriculum. During the writing process I was so close to the book that I couldn't step back and see it. Now that it's been a year since publishing, I'm ready to read it again and seriously embed all the activities into the year's program to uplift social emotional learning in ways that matter.

After that I'll read Mindset Mathematics: Visualizing and Investigating Big Ideas, Grade 5. I'll use those activities to elevate the math teaching/learning program.

Then I'll reread the Grade Five FOSS curriculum that leads our teaching at fifth grade. I'll update lessons and the related website to lead teaching and learning in the Physical Science realm.

When time allows, I'll also look back to my Summer Reading list and possibly revisit Medina's book as I look to make learning experiences brain-friendly.

There is so much to know when it comes to teaching and learning well. During the school year, it's almost impossible to engage in deep study as elementary school teachers are typically busy every moment in the day when it comes to caring for large groups of students. Of course, I believe that classroom teachers should have substantial time for research and development throughout the year, and feel that time can be gained by flattening the hierarchy in schools and making sure that most people who work in schools are working directly with students for significant periods of time. I believe that distributive leadership model will heighten what we can do with and for students.

In the meantime, I'll continue to focus on my studies as well as a number of personal pursuits in these glorious summer months. Onward.