Friday, March 15, 2013

Self Analysis and Owning Your Learning

Today marks the beginning of a busy Professional Development stretch for me.   I'm constantly trying to learn and grow.  Recently I received results from the survey on myself.  The results were not completely surprising.  As I reviewed the results from the survey, I also thought about areas I want to become stronger in.  The current areas that I'm striving to grow and improve in are: math curriculum, reading strategies, common core, technology and effective leadership.

I have always felt that the best way to learn things is 1) by doing 2) by teaching others or 3) by verbalizing what you've learned.  With that being said I have felt "out of the loop" on some conversations this year.  When @Suz_Gibbs , @studiobree and @julieoliver333 start discussing The Book Whisperer I feel out of touch...I don't like this feeling.  So I have chosen to read it.  As of now I'm progressing, I'm sure there will be further information in upcoming posts.

This week's big question is: "Do you take ownership of your own learning?"

Professional Development has transformed.  It used to focus around a couple "no-student" days per year.  During these PD sessions teachers were forced to take in whatever the district organized.  The other form of Professional Development would be teachers trying to gain credits to keep their licenses current.  Teachers did this by taking classes, attending summer workshops, or visiting their local ISD for crash courses to gain credits.  All this led to what I see today.  Today the resources for Professional Development are everywhere.  Sometimes I wonder if they've always been there, but we just recently learned how to tap into it.  

Before we step into the Professional Development Arena we must first self-assess.  Evaluate yourself, be brutally honest, if you aren't honest with yourself this won't have the positive outcomes it is capable of.  Here are my big questions:

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Do you want to make your strengths stronger?

Are you hoping to improve your "weak" areas?

Do you focus on the "now" in your Professional Development or do you look ahead?

When you participate in Professional Development are you "a good student"?

You can answer these questions in your head.  Remember this is all about YOU!  After you self-evaluate, after you answer the big questions then it becomes a matter of when, where, what, and how.  I'm hear to tell you that Professional Development opportunities are now EVERYWHERE!  My personal opinion is, if you are driven to grow, if you are open-minded, then you will embrace the search for professional development.  Now you may be thinking, I hear you, but it costs money, it takes time and I'm busy.  Trust me, I've been there, I understand.  This is where you must be brutally honest with yourself and decide once again, what are your strengths and weaknesses?  Do you want to grow and improve?  Here are some ways to Professionally Develop:

1) Read a Book (books are available in a wide variety of topics, for example, if you are interested in improving classroom reading you could get the book - The Book Whisperer)

2) Read online Blogs and Articles (most are completely free, if you go into a blog site you will find hundreds upon hundreds of blogs that have topics ranging from education to exercise.)

3) Attend a Conference or Workshop (this may cost money and it will take time, but if you are the face to face type, I say go for it.)

4) Create your own Personal Learning Network (the possibilities are endless: meet for coffee, get together on the weekend, Skype, use social networking) (The real key is to use the time to collaborate and grow.) (I use Twitter, I started small and now I feel comfortable.)

5) Embrace Social Networking as a Learning Tool (Social Networking is what you make it, if you want a digital scrapbook, that's what you'll get.) (If you want to network, collaborate, and learn...then the possibilities are endless.)

6) Open Yourself Up (Create your own blog, write about your own thoughts, struggles and successes.) (I bet you will find that writing allows for deeper reflection.)

The big idea here is that YOU control your learning.  I believe this is a mindset.  I hope you embrace your own learning.  Whether it is Social Media, Book Reading, or Attending a Conference you need to OWN IT!  

I never used to OWN my learning.  I would occasionally take classes on classroom management or guided reading, but I just went through the motions.  Professional Development was a necessary evil, not something I naturally embraced.  My advice to all of you, if you OWN IT, it will be more engaging and more impactful.  I now OWN my professional development, I choose to learn everyday.  I learn through reading, collaborating, tweeting, and occasionally attending a conference.  

How will you take OWNERSHIP of your Professional Development?

Next Week at a Glance:

Monday, March 18th: Welcome Back Mr. Holton!
Tuesday, March 19th:  4pm String Team
Wednesday, March 20th:  Assembly with grades 3-5
Thursday, March 21st:  Donuts with Mom (MLive is coming to check things out!)
Friday, March 22nd:  Magician Show 8:45 grades K-2 and 9:30 grades 3-5
Friday, March 22nd:  Dress-Up Grade Level Colors

iPad iNformation:

iTeach: Planning, Teaching and Monitoring with iPads shared by @teachuae

5 Ways to Skype in the Classroom shared by @InstTechTalk

The "Pad"agogy Wheel  shared by @ipodsibilities

Articles Worth Reading:

Teaching Coding: Where Do You Start?  shared by @KatrinaStevens1

Brad Wilson's Blog on AppMadness13 shared by @dreambition

A School District That Takes Isolation Out of Autism  shared by @nytimes

P21 Common Core Toolkit  shared by @powell4thgrade

How Teachers Use Technology: the latest research  shared by @mccoyderek

School Safety article on MLive  shared by @MLive (different from the one I emailed)

Power of Twitter in Education shared by @MrPowersCMS and @DrSpikeCook

Videos Worth Your Time:

Ellen plays Jenga! (5min) @TheEllenShow

This just feels appropriate to show after a Professional Development session (20 min) @SirKenRobinson

Seinfeld Quotes...sure to make you laugh! (3 min)

Inspiring, Just Do It! (3 min)

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