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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Slide Into Summer Fun & Learning (Part 2)

My neighbor is always teasing me this time of year.  "So, you're finally off for the summer! Rough job you have!"  We'll, summer has arrived, and while it's true that I am not going into my classroom everyday it doesn't mean I'm not working. To avoid the "summer slide," I look to keep my teaching skills current by working 'away' from the classroom.  

For the past two summers, I was completing my Master's program through Simmons College. As I consider myself a lifelong learner,  I have decided this year to find other methods to help me become a better teacher.

Here are some of the ways that I am working this summer:

*Tweeting through Twitter:  I am continuing my professional development by participating in Twitter Chats.  A Twitter Chat is a group of people meeting at a specific time on Twitter for a specific purpose.  On Mondays, I am involved with a group of (mostly) 4th grade teachers for #4thchat. We have discussed such topics as: Writing Conferencing, Editing, Homework and much more.  On Tuesdays I participate in #5thchat and on Thursdays #6thchat.  By participating with these groups I have extended my professional development.
My Tweetdeck showing #4thchat & #elemchat conversations.

*Blogging: I continue to keep this blog updated.  I am currently working on a "Slide into Summer Series" as a guide for parents to help their child keep up their skills.  Writing a blog often involves some type of research which also allows me to keep up my skills as well.  Not only will I continue to write my blogs, but I will continue to read the many educational blogs to which I subscribe.  In this way I will learn from my peers.

*Attending Conferences or "Unconferences": This year I have decided to be involved in some Unconferences. Read here to learn about such events and How to Prepare for it.  At the end of July I plan on attending an online Conference called: RSCON11.  Educators from all over the globe will be presenting to educators from all over the globe for free thereby, sharing their expertise with those trying to learn new skills.

In August I plan on attending EdcampCT.  This unconference will take place in Connecticut in the United States.  Again, it is free, presented by educators for educators.  Anticipating that I will be learning a great deal over the next two months.

*Reading Books for Professional Development: After listening to some great educators on Twitter (especially @mrsd5107) speak about the Daily5 and Daily CAFE, I decided I would acquire the book to learn more.  The Daily CAFE, which was designed by Gail Boushey & Joan Mosher, is a way of "helping students understand and master strategies used by successful readers."

Another book I have just recently purchased is "The Book Whisperer", by 6th grade teacher, Donalyn Miller.  It came highly recommended by many of my Twitter friends.  I am hoping that it will provide more strategies that will help "awaken the inner reader in every child" in my classroom!

It is important for students and teachers, to continue their learning during the summer hiatus to avoid the 'summer slide'.  Of course, having fun and coffee is also allowed!


  1. Thanks again, as usual, for a great post with thought-provoking content. I will be doing many of the same things as you this summer, but I have yet to participate in a chat. I don't know why. Shy? Maybe, but I haven't been too shy to do anything else we've been doing! I think I will soon!

    I signed up for RSCON3 today too. Professional development is one of the joys of our job, I believe. The opportunity to continually grow and develop is a great gift.


  2. Hi! You forgot to add that you were teaching your sister how to blog, tweet, and to make better presentations by using web related tools! And, doing a great job at it I may add! I am happy you are not in the classroom this summer!

  3. Hi! Great post. I am also doing many of these things .... & Love the opportunities and flexibility that online "learning" affords us! I am going to check out the "online Conference called: RSCON11" as I have not heard of it. Yippeeee! Something else to explore!
    Thanks again & keep posting!!!!!

  4. @ Denise: There are all kinds of chats on twitter. I was nervous at first because it seemed so huge. When the #4thchat came along I thought it was manageable to I joined. I suggest "lurking" in a chat so you see how it goes and then jump in. You will learn a ton in a short span of time AND you will connect with so many wonderful people as we did in the Blog Challenge. Let me know if you need links to chats.

    @Carol Ann: You are too kind. You were already on your way being a 'techie'....You are the cutting edge in your field! Can't wait for the iPad to show up so we can play!

    @Ally: I too am excited about RSCON11 as I have never participated in such an event. Let me know if you need a link to the dates and times of presentations. There are so many to look at! Loved that we have connected through Twitter!

  5. I recently read The Book Wisperer and LOVED IT! Sign up for my free newsletter as I will soon post an audio interview with Donalyn, the author -

  6. Nancy - It sounds like our summers are VERY similar! I'm taking 2 grad classes this summer online through the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh. They have a MS in Curric & Instr with a wonderful "Teaching 2.0" emphasis on new teaching pedagogy and technology integration. I'm loving it, but definitely don't have the summer "off"! In addition, I've changed grade levels (will be teaching 4th after 6 yrs of teaching 3rd) and had to move my classroom. I'm exhausted!

    Really interested in The Book Whisperer - Have heard a bunch of folks talk about it, so I off to order it now, after seeing it again in your post. Would be cool to get a Google+ hangout together to discuss it afterward!

    I admire your commitment to being a lifelong learner. It is so important, and so important that we model it for our students. Looking forward to knowing you better and continuing to learn from you!! :)

  7. @Mike I am excited to learn about the audio interview. I am just starting the "Book Whisperer" and am so excited because I just received a message that Donalyn Miller will be following ME on Twitter! Also, I have visited your site and signed up for the "8 Hooks of Reading" mini course. Very excited about and applaud your efforts to provide such a wonderful experience for your subscribers!

    @Patti I think the Google+ idea sounds great. I can see that the Book Whisperer has really caught the attention of many educators and it would be nice to chat about it. So glad you are going to read it too! Good luck with your Grad classes - you'll be done before you know it. I actually miss being in school as I loved connecting with others with the same common goal.

    @Patti & Mike: Thanks for visiting Teaching is Elementary!

  8. Hi Nancy,
    Thanks for another great post. I'm doing a lot of the same things this summer. I joined twitter this spring and I'm involved in several chats, #daily5, #1st, #elem. It's amazing how you can connect with educators from all over the word who have like interests. I'm getting a lot of great information and I love it! I recently started a new blog, and I love reading yours. Up until last year I was teaching third grade. Currently, I'm teaching first graders. I would love to chat with you on Twitter. Keep up the great blogging!
    Thanks again.

  9. Hi Valerie,
    Thanks for leaving a comment. I did make it sound like I was working all the time. Although I consider participating in the chats work (as it relates to my profession), I find it so very enjoyable and helpful. I have connected with many teachers and other educators that I would never have met. Please find me on Twitter (@ncarroll24) as I would love to chat with you too.
    I'll bet making the change from 3rd grade to 1st grade could be a bit challenging. Hopefully, it will be a smooth transition for you!
    Good luck.
    Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

  10. Hi Nancy
    What ideas from Book Whisperer are you going to try out in your class this year?
    One thing I learned is the importance of reading as many children's books as I can. I wonder if we could start a 4th grade group sharing of book titles, what kind of reader would like the book, and a simple book hook/talk for people who haven't read the book but need to know enough about it to recommend to kids.
    Have you read Igniting the Passion for Reading by Steven Layne?
    Wonderful, practical, simple ideas you can implement right away.

  11. Hi Nancy
    Me again! I did not know about Edcamp and I live in CT. Have you ever attended an unconference? I think the concept could be used with kids, too! As the year rolls on I have students with different technology abilities. My kids are great at teaching each other new tricks and tools they've learned as they work but this might be a fun way to share and teach each other.
    How do you sign up for the CT conference? I can't find the info on the website.

  12. Hi Rebecca,
    I loved reading the Book Whisperer and am now reading the Daily5 and DailyCAFE. I am hoping to incorporate a combination of all of these into my classroom. I think I will really allow my students to read WHAT they want for at least 30 minutes daily. I am hoping that by using the Daily5 strategies, my students will build the stamina needed to be able to read independently for 30 minutes.
    I agree with you about reading as many children's books as you can. Right now I am reading "The Great Gilly Hopkins" and "The Landry News".

    I have added a page to the #4thchat Wiki I love this idea - thanks.

    Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog. Hope you'll come back and visit!


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