I, Joy Kirr, am a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. My 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of my learning experiences... Want to have me speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is my PORTFOLIO.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Summer Take-Aways

Summer is over. Where did it go? What did I DO? I had to reflect on what I've learned in this summer of thinking about how I need to change my teaching even more... What ONE thing from each experience do I want to remember as we start the school year next week?

Professional Literature

Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess
     --> Bring it. Be "all in." I need to remember to give my last class the VERY SAME enthusiasm I bring to my first two classes. Often times they don't get my very best, and they deserve it just as much as the rest of my students!!

Notice & Note by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst
     --> I read this book for our district summer committee. I will be using the six signposts as I read with my students.

ROLE Reversal by Mark Barnes
     --> Grades. Ick. Why not give feedback, more feedback, and then more feedback, and then let students grade themselves?! I'm looking into giving feedback on Edline (our grading program) and any other way I can. I'll see what I can do about grades...!

Classroom Habitudes by Angela Maiers
     --> I'm going to use five of her lessons specifically for our Genius Hour lessons! Since this book is about teaching PEOPLE, and not curriculum, I was entranced...

Book Love by Penny Kittle
     --> One take-away?? Okay. Many many many book talks (including reading FROM the books) and "next" lists are a MUST! (Is that just one?) But what about the formula she uses on pages 27-28 that show how students create their goals? I put this book last, because I got the most out of this book this summer.
My "professional reads" this summer... See my shelf (to the right) for other books read this summer.

Meetings, Google Hang Outs, and Discussions Online

     --> It's so very sweet to have time to talk with passionate educators about what you love.
     --> Connecting with teachers from around the nation (and Canada!) has made me aware - again - that many of us have the same types of students, and yet I am so very fortunate to be working where I do. Although we have differences in our schools, our passion for teaching is at the same level.
     --> People WANT to help. People WANT to collaborate. I wish we had more time, but I did not waste mine this summer. I've soaked up every minute, enjoying books, people, and my family.

If you're reading this, you've probably learned a TON this summer as well, and it can be overwhelming. What is your one (hah!) take-away?

Side question... I've looked for the right way to spell "take-away," but cannot find it in this context. Do you know what the right way is?? Thank you!

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