With summer comes less of the demands on our time in education. It’s an opportunity to refresh, renew, and recharge. Never one to just sit by idle, I always look forward to this time of year. What other profession do we get to start over every year? There are so many simple things that educators can do, teachers & administrators alike, to stay ahead of the curve, and get invigorated for the next year.
Create an account on pinterest full of fun lesson ideas, technology integration suggestions or a board of inspiration for days when you are down. Want to learn more about digital citizenship? Start searching and pinning! Want to gamify your classroom or building? There’s a pin for that!
Pinterest tip: The more detailed and specific you keep your boards, the more likely you are to use them because of how easy it will be to find what you’re looking for!
Find a podcast that you enjoy!
One of my personal goals is to walk more this summer. I am NOT a fan of the heat. Or sweating. Or, um exercise. One way my walk is more enjoyable is when I listen to one of the podcasts I subscribe too. I get behind throughout the year, and am hoping I can get caught up this summer! My favorites?
Find a book that can help you change the way you do ONE thing next year. I recently read “Leverage Leadership” and can’t wait to sit down with my new principal and implement the coaching piece that I read about. In the book, they talk about priority scheduling what matters most. As a teacher, I was most passionate about our campfire talks. It was an opportunity for my students and I to just sit and chat. If I remembered to write it on my lesson plans, then it was way more likely to happen. In the same sense, I am going to be very intentional with my teacher coaching. I’m going to create a schedule and stick to it! Developing a yearlong guide that will systematically–and systemically– be effective will make me more cognizant of my role, empowering teachers!
Need book suggestions? I highly recommend the ASCD Arias series. Short and sweet, and available in ebook format! Angela Watson is also starting a book study on July 1st on her book, Awakened. I also obsessively devour anything that Robyn Jackson writes.
Find a hashtag!
ISTE is having their national conference at the end of June, the Greater Clark Connected Ed conference in July, There will be hashtags related to both conferences that you could follow along with from home, just to come across lil’gems that can challenge your philosophy on what we do for a living. Edudemic just posted these 21 interesting conferences that you could also look into via Twitter or in real life.
Find an edcamp!
They’ve created a master calendar of edcamps all over the US, see if there is one coming by you! If not, what about creating your own? Administrators should think about adding edcamp style PD for their campus when making PD plans for the fall. According to #edcamp participant surveys, traditional PD was rated a 2.5 on scale of 1-5 & #edcamp rated a 4.5.
Find a blog, create a blog to start reflecting and sharing!
I have an account through Feedly that I have linked many of the blogs that I consider “musts” that I read regularly. Several I have signed up for through listservs, so I get an email when there is a new post. Extremely handy for the ones I just don’t want to miss out on! Justin Tarte just posted his “Top Ten Blogs to Read This Summer” list, you might find some inspiration there!
If you’re looking to start a blog, I can’t recommend Heather Steele, at Blue Steele Solutions, enough. From technical aspects, to platform support, she is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. With her social media knowledge, she can help you discern exactly what you want to do, and the best manner in which to accomplish it!
All of these tips are “saw sharpeners”, as Stephen Covey would say. One of his “Seven habits of Highly Effective” people is to “sharpen the saw”. This habit discusses self-renewal, self-care, self-respect and self-improvement.
Even picking just one of these from above will help keep you from having any “summer slide”! How do you plan on “sharpening” this summer?
October is a big month to celebrate education. Not only are we leading the charge for National Principals Month, but NASSP is also involved in promoting the importance of connected leading and learning during Connected Educators Month I thought in that spirit I would list the top five reasons I think being a connected educator has changed not only the way that I do my job, but also how I think, interact, and learn. (Those are HUGE facets of anyone’s world!)
#5. Connections become friends.
When I have an important decision, point to ponder, or even a snarky opinion to express…I now contact people that I have developed relationships with online. I have met some of them once, hung out with some of them twice, but I interact with them on a daily basis. They’re my sounding board, my inspiration, and the ones who keep me on a path of doing what’s right for kids.
#4. I get the opportunity to discuss innovative, trend pushing, status quo breaking initiatives with educators who are out there making it happen. The last #SAVMP hangout was awe-inspiring. (And not because I was leading it, wink wink!) We had three different educators who are doing things in three incredibly different ways, all making a difference in education.
3. Conferences become family reunions.
BT (that’s before twitter) I’d attended both the ASCD and ISTE conference with my instructional technology position. They don’t particularly stand out in my mind (aside from the great travel companions). This year, ISTE and ASCD were the HIGHLIGHTS of my admin career. I had such an incredible time putting faces and voices with profile pics and avatars. Between each session there were hugs and speedy chats as you went from session to session. I traveled to ASCD alone. In Chicago. If you know me, you’d know that is a HUGE thing for “Ms. I can’t even go to the movies alone.” I went and came back having found two ladies who are not only inspirational educators, but are now inspirational, supportive friends. I have already started planning for both conferences again next year, and @ErinKlein and I have roomie ‘rangements pending!
EdCampDallas is also just around the corner and that’s another great way to make connections with learners around you. We sold out (!!!) this year, but keep your eyes open for others to pop up in our area soon!
#2. Your jargon has changed and changes often.
Hashtag. FF. Voxer. Techlandia. MISTERMACNOLOGY. Podcasts. Feedly. Cpchat. Follow. Retweet. Google hangout. Ignite. Blogger. Google Plus. DM. Chat. Followers. Twitterati. Bammy’s. GFC.
All google worthy things that are now a part of the lexicon of being a connected educator.
#1. Like you even had to read this far to know what my #1 was. 🙂
Do something this October to get connected. Follow a blog. RT something worthy. Follow a chat. Lurk and learn. Stalk a celebrity. Just DO something!