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Professional Development

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One of the funny things about parenting as an educator is that often, your children teach you a great deal about things you think you already know a few things about. Take, for instance, protocols. “We’re doing these things called modules in my English class,” my daughter Nina explained over dinner one autumn evening at the beginning of her eighth grade year. And I’ll admit, my stomach clenched. I wasn’t well acquainted with the New…

Recently, several colleagues asked me to begin a professional writing support group. If you are eager to begin blogging, publishing articles, or drafting a manuscript, you are welcome to join us. If you have any of these things in the works and are in need of good company, you are welcome to join us. And if you can’t attend face to face but would still like to be a part of things, you may still plan to join…

Anyone can write, but few people write exceptionally well. Myself included. I’ve been blogging for nearly eight years now, but I’ve always defined myself as a teacher who writes rather than a writer who teaches. I make no apologies for this, and in fact, if I had waited until I felt confident in my writing skills to share my stuff with others, I never would have grown as a writer. I wouldn’t have learned half…

One of the greater challenges that people in positions like mine often face is creating alignment between what learners, administrators, and teachers need in order to be successful. Sometimes, people have different perspectives about what is truly needed. They may not share a common view of what success will ultimately mean or what it is supposed to look like. They have different thoughts about how it will be achieved, how quickly, and to what degree.…

So last week, I was planning my work with teachers in a district that is beginning to design curricula. At one point, I knew we’d be taking a peek at the draft of the new Core Standards, and I wanted to provide everyone the opportunity to highlight different aspects of the draft that they were interested in discussing together. My inclination was to show them Awesome Highlighter, a nifty little tool that allows for highlighting…

I’ve spent some time this summer taking stock of my online habits, including the ways in which I’ve established and engaged with my personal learning network. Bud Hunt recently shared his own reflections about this, describing the intentional shifts he has planned and the ways in which he intends to study them. His process intrigues me because I’m hoping to make some purposeful changes in how I engage online as well. This should come as…

People debate the pros and cons of immunization quite a bit in my personal parenting circle. My kids are immunized of course, as they have to be, but I’m fairly certain that every parent considers the safety of wide-range immunization practices. We have to, after all. We’re responsible for our childrens’ well being. Most of us learn what we need to and allow that knowledge to inform our widely varied choices. We all know that immunization…

Over the last several years, I’ve developed a keen interest in the sort of role reversal that places kids at the helm of professional development experiences. Fifteen years ago, I don’t know that I would have been comfortable accepting my students as my teachers. Of course, this was prior to parenting two kids of my own. Now, I find it profoundly humorous that I ever thought I had a choice. Today, I watched my own 8 year old…

Tomorrow we’ll be kicking off the first session of the WNY Young Writers’ Summer Studio, and I can’t wait! Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with the teachers who will be joining our community, and the idea of engaging adults and kids around common goals as writers and learners is really exciting. I think that we are all very comfortable in our roles as teachers at the front of the room. This collaborative model will…