Sunday, March 10, 2013

Investing in Professional Learning

Every day I engage in professional learning on some level through digital means via my Professional Learning Network on Twitter, the feed or the chats, or blogs that I follow.  I also rely on my face-to-face community through informal interactions with my colleagues during our walks, lunch, or phone conversations or my formal interactions with my Professional Learning Community. I also engage in independent study with my professional reading. I kicked off the year finishing Penny Kittle's Book Love and am working my way through  Lee Ann Spillane's Reading Amplified on my virtual shelf and hope to start Kylene Beers & Robert Probst's Notice and Note soon.  All of these interactions are fairly inexpensive as they require time.  But once a year I splurge!  I treat myself to the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention (NCTE) and the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN). This year it is in Boston.

I attended my first NCTE conference during my first year of teaching in 1993.  NCTE just happened to be in Orlando.  I was actually not smart enough to realize how lucky I was to have such an opportunity.  A mentor teacher, Marianne Raver got me there as a volunteer. My fees were free which was a perfect opportunity for a first year teacher, low risk.  I found inspiration there in the many voices.  I've since been to Atlanta, Pittsburgh, New York City, Orlando, Chicago and this past year Las Vegas. I've not only had the opportunity to attend, but also had the opportunity to give back to the professional community by presenting at NCTE.

Las Vegas was on my top five travel trips.  Not only did I enjoy seeing my teacher friends from Japan, Washington, and North Carolina and exploring the neon lights of Vegas, my time spent listening and learning was most valuable.  Based on my experiences this past year, I have been exploring Pecha Kucha which was shared in a session with Sara Kajder and her two grad students.  I am revising my use of the brown brown bag exam in my class based on my interaction with the presenters on the panel with whom I co-presented
I am rethinking about how I use digital tools on cell phones with students to create opportunities for repeated interactions with text based on the work shared by Troy Hicks, Bud Hunt & Sara Kajder in the Middle School Mosaic session. I am going to continue to read more nonfiction and dip into some of the titles shared by Carol Jago and finally try out book paths as shared by Kellee Moyee---reinventing the book pass by moving kids not books.

I am still paying for Las Vegas and  will soon start saving for Boston. I am hoping to spend a little less since I have a friend there.  I know that 10 months from now I will have new titles in my hand and new ideas and questions in my head.


  1. It is amazing what we can learn from others at some of the conferences. Too bad it can not be more economical....but I do think you can take some of the travel expenses off on your taxes. I like hearing that as a first year teacher you are taking such opportunities. Jackie

  2. I am envious of your conference trips as a teacher! I used to attend yearly legal conferences when I facilitated special education meetings, but as a teacher, my time out of the classroom is eaten up by shorter professional development opportunities. I'm thankful there are teachers like you who make the effort to go, and then return and use what you've learned!

  3. Love the new background. Loved learning with you at NCTE and loved our morning run along Las Vegas Boulevard. Professional learning is a commitment and it does not come without cost. Thank you for choosing to spend your time (and your money) learning. It pays.

  4. Hooray for teachers learning from teachers!

    And being life-long learners....


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