Whoever said that one of the “perks” to teaching is summers off must have never actually asked teachers what they do during summer. So far, during my summer “vacation” I have had zero weekdays off from doing work stuff. These past three weeks have been filled with professional development and meeting after meeting. I do have to say that I am excited to have such wonderful opportunities this summer.
I attended a three-day professional development conference about English language arts Common Core State Standards (CCSS). A team of teachers and I learned more about the CCSS and how to use them to write language arts unit plans with performance assessments. The tricky part comes now, where we need to take the three days of training and condense it down into the two days that we have to share with the rest of our colleagues in August.
I have also been meeting with the RtI team. We first updated all of the students’ files and moved them through the tiers according to their progress this year. We also had the big task of planning our new intervention block. My school district is mandating all schools have designated intervention time during the school day. We have drafted a plan on what the time should look like using the intervention block. Our next steps involve gathering materials and having protocols ready for the teachers to use with their students.
A couple months back my principal e-mailed me a flyer from the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. I filled out the application, but didn’t think that they would pick me to attend one of the sessions. Much to my surprise I was accepted into the session called, “Great Lakes Rocks.” The conference was five days long and one of the coolest professional development experiences I’ve attended.
I have never learned so much in so little time. I would come home every day and excitedly tell everyone I saw that “I made a cloud today!” or “We tested the water samples we collected from Lake Michigan!” In addition to learning so much, all of the participants received every item that we would need to complete these experiments with our students!
While I do still have a couple of professional development opportunities scheduled in July, I am starting to take the time to do some professional reading. This school year I have been hearing about a shift in teaching reading. Everyone keeps mentioning The Daily Five by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. In case you haven’t heard of The Daily Five, it is a reading and writing routine that gets students working independently at their independent reading level.
The companion book to The Daily Five is The CAFE Book: Engaging All Students in Daily Literary Assessment and Instruction by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, which relies on mini-lessons to explicitly teach reading strategies. I devoured The Daily Five and am about halfway through The CAFE Book.
So now, I’ve been scouring the internet to find blogs and other resources. I cannot wait to implement The Daily Five in my classroom this fall, in addition to all of the awesome things I have learned at the different professional development opportunities from this summer!