Wednesday, May 28, 2008

One more year down....

Two weeks ago, we held our last regional ELA forum for the year. These forums are a way for the teachers of our region to gather, share their best practices, ask each other lots of questions and hopefully build a network (community?) of fellow teachers. We have had some amazing teachers share what they do throughout the entire year - from reading and writing strategies to school-wide collaboration with artists in residence to differentiated reading instruction. Almost every one contributed to the conversations and the ideas - I know that I walk away each time having learned something new.

The group really drives the agenda and I am excited about the possibilities for next year. We'll continue our talks on summer reading lists and whether or not the students really read, we'll share strategies and speakers we have seen, and maybe, just maybe, we can move the community online to continue to share between face to face meetings (one of my ultimate goals!)

One really interesting example that was shared by one of our high school teachers extraordinaire was how she is plans to use Shelfari with her students. This teacher is one of the all too rare "I let them read what they want to read so that they learn to love reading" types of teachers. She engages her students regularly with different reading strategies, is reflective of her work and is always looking for new ways to engage her students. Since she wants to share what she reads and to track what her students read, she is thinking of using Shelfari to help them create these lists. Then, as the students move from one grade to the next, the teachers can see those and build upon the lists. In my ideal world - the librarian would hook in next and be able to make purchases for the school library that are relevant to the kids, based upon their recommendations!!

I use GoodReads myself - same type of concept but visually, Shelfari seems a bit more appealing. (You can see my bookshelf on the left - if you join, add me as a friend!)Whichever you choose - I think it is a great way to share reading in the classroom and one I am thinking about implementing with several groups this summer and next fall.

All teachers seem to be in continual planning phase and as we wrap up one school year and ready for the next - what are your plans for the fall and what are you reading/doing to prepare? Are you remembering to take some time for yourself and take a trip or visit local sites of interest? Share in the comments section and give me some good ideas!

1 comment:

Mrs. Kondrick said...

Theresa,

I was a little sad to see our ELA forum come to an end as well. I always walk away from our time together energized to use the new ideas in my classroom.

My plans for the summer include re-energizing and challenging my self with the Western New York Writing Project. I the chance to learn from other colleagues research, and do my own creative writing fills me with joy & a little panic.

My new job next year challenges me also. I want to enter my fellow teacher's classroom knowledgeable but not know-it-all. So I will probably leisurely read the Reading Teacher.

As for ideas for how to spend your summer Theresa, take it easy, lay on the beach, & read one of the good books we share at GoodReads!!