Saturday, June 7, 2014

Fun Filled Learning?

For many educators school is out, or about to end for the year.  The educators I know have completely dedicated themselves throughout the school year and a bit of a break is well deserved. I do believe it is unfortunate that educators receive a bad rap for having summers off.  The fact of the matter is, many educators use the summer to re-connect with family and to organize themselves for next year.

I, like many parents, try to get my kids into summer camps.  These summer camps allow for learning, fun and new experiences.  Personally I think summer camps are great for kids.  It teaches our kids how to adapt and that learning can happen at any moment.  

As we grow older we as adults sometimes lose this perspective.  Can we relax and still learn?  I believe the answer is yes...

I do want to encourage all educators to never stop learning.  It's vital to keep balance and to spend quality time with family and friends, but you can also keep learning.  

Learning looks different to everyone.  Here are some ideas for summer learning:

1)  Start a personal or professional blog.  Reflecting = learning and this would be a great way to step out of your comfort zone, while also being in a safe summer environment.

2)  Meet with other educators/colleagues.  During the school year we always feel strapped for time.  Summer allows for conversations about practice and it allows for collaboration on new ideas.

3)  Read a book.  Possibly the easiest way to keep learning is also the most basic.  I would encourage you to read for professional growth as well as for pleasure.  If you have trouble sitting down and reading, why not look into downloading the audiobook.  Whether you read it or listen to it, I'm confident you will have your thinking pushed.

4)  Challenge yourself to trying something new in your classroom/school.  The possibilities are endless...create a weebly page, use twitter in your classroom, flip a lesson, have students blog, redesign your classroom space, try Genius Hour, Mystery Skype, create student eportfolios, or even utilize tools such as Edmodo or Evernote.  Making small tweaks to what you do can re-energize your craft.  Don't be afraid to try something new.

5)  Reflect.  In the safety of your own space honestly reflect on what you believe is a strength, and what is an area to work on.  Set some goals for the upcoming year and never stop learning.

These are just a few simple ways to use your summer as an opportunity.  I don't expect people to fill up all 10 weeks of their summer, the key is balance.  I hope you find your balance.


Monday, June 9th:  KDG trip to Potter Park Zoo
Monday, June 9th: Fire Drill in the AM
Monday, June 9th:  Volunteer Luncheon located in the library
Monday, June 9th:  4th grade to Discovery Center
Tuesday, June 10th:  5th grade Graduation 10am
Wednesday, June 11th:  Last Day of School (1/2 day for students with dismissal at 12:05)

*  Is it safe to say we are going to line the hallways for our 5th grade send-off?  Please let me know so we can be organized.

*  Before you leave for the summer please be sure to complete the checklist and paper work.

Panthers Podcast:

Panthers Podcast 5 - Paul Wiley

Panthers Podcast 5 - Paul Wiley (iTunes version)

Articles Worth Reading:

A new chapter begins... +Todd Nesloney @TechNinjaTodd

11 Bad Teaching Habits That Are Stifling Your Growth +TeachThought @TeachThought

The Beginner's Guide to #20%Time +A.J. Juliani @ajjuliani

5 Steps To Better Lesson Planning +Lisa Dabbs @teachingwthsoul

4 Things You Must Give Up To Move Forward +Marc Chernoff @marcandangel

Videos Worth Watching:

Helping students with Autism find jobs in tech... (3 min)

@TheEllenShow sums up awkward encounters... (3 min)

Brian Regan...Spelling Bee humor (3 min)

Warner 5th Grade chant! (30 seconds)


  1. Ben I really look forward to growing this summer. I plan to read more books. Since joining Twitter I have stopped reading books and started reading blogs. I need to do both over the summer. I really would like to start some kind of podcast like you have started with Panther Podcast. That is a great way to highlight voices. I plan on connecting with some members of my PLN this summer in one way or another. Finally, I have really enjoyed the power and connections that can be made with Voxer. I enjoy your messages and the back and forth interaction. Thanks again for helping me grow and reflect. But, I need to allow myself the time and space and quiet so that this can happen.

  2. Wish you lot's of inspiration and luck! You've done well, keep up working!