I have learned more through Twitter chats and my online communities than I have ever learned in a district sponsored / developed professional development day.
Some people might see that as a sad statement, but I choose to look at it as an opportunity for my district to grow and change and as an opportunity for me to love learning and find what's best for me and my kids. I worry that once EdCamps and personal connectedness become "the latest thing" and that it will lose it's personal side. That's what makes all of my PLNs here online so special -- they are mine, not something that somebody told me I had to do or something that my district pigeonholed me into through a set of choices.
I've been spending a lot of time learning through my favorite blogs (I use Feedly to keep track of all of the ones that I follow) and Twitter (Tweetdeck is also a go to for me) this summer to help me adjust my feelings about the change in my teaching assignment in the fall and look for new strategies that I can use. I want to be a better teacher of kids, not a better teacher of math and science. To that end, I've got several documents started with links to activities, blog posts, videos, activities, and notes from books and articles that seem to be great resources for the new year.
And then I read this post by Pernille, and it made me laugh to myself. How many times have I found the BEST resources or discovered the GREATEST idea over the summer, only to have it fizzle out in a month or not even make it to my classroom? More than I'd like to admit. Pernille makes a great point. When we get busy, we settle into what's comfortable (the known, the usual) for us. I always have grand plans for all of the new knowledge I learn, but they never seem to really come to fruition. The first suggestion, "Do things now," may seem like I'm wasting my summer. But as I mentioned above, I love learning over the summer when it's mine. Intentionally setting aside a day makes sense to me so I actually sit down and rework my plans to incorporate my new learnings so I make the best use of them during the school year.
I'm hoping that if I really use one day each week, leaving me six other days for non-school related summer fun, I will be able to focus on my goals and really achieve what I would like to accomplish for myself and with my kids this year.
So let's hear it! What are your favorite tools for your learning? What are you doing to enjoy your summer and still feel ready for the upcoming school year?