Thursday, July 31, 2014

Top 5: July

So July is coming to an end and it's about time to show you my favorites from the month!  This summer, I was exposed to great professional development and implemented several new things into my teaching with my summer school classes.  Without further adieu, here's the Top 5 for July!

    Coggle:  I wrote a post on Coggle before but I want to reiterate how amazing it is.  This FREE mind-streaming software really reimagined the way my students planned out their essays.  I had intended on using Coggle as a pre-writing device but my students had other plans.  Instead, they chose to use it as a way to create an outline that was not limited by the Roman Numeral system.  They focused on relationships and level of specificity.  

    Drive:  This summer I transformed my entire writing class into one that is based online.  Every essay was written online (yes... I used to be the teacher that made students do hand-written drafts!).  Every essay was revised online. Every essay was graded online.  The share, chat, and commenting functions of Google Drive allowed me and my students to interact with their writing in a way that time wasn't allowed for in the traditional writing classroom.

    Twitter:  This has been my favorite professional development!  At this moment, I'm loving these Tweet chats: #christianeducations (Christian Educators), #iledchat (Illinois Educators), #ntchat (New Teachers), and #21stedchat (21st Century Education). There are so many others that I love too.  Pretty much any state-level tweet chat is fun to me!  I enjoy collaborating with teachers across the country.  Stay tuned for a post on how to successfully participate in an educational Twitter chat.  In the mean time, check out these other Tweet Chats.

    BRIEF: Joe McCormack's new book BRIEF is intended for high-level executives in Fortune 500 companies.  But that doesn't mean teachers can't learn from it!  The premise of the book is that because we are so inundated with information, we must learn the keys to brevity and how they apply to speaking, presenting, and writing - or as he calls it, being a "lean communicator".  Isn't that what we do as teachers?

    Creating Magic:  Lee Cockerell, the man who ran Walt Disney World operations, says "It's not the magic that makes it work; it's the way we work that makes it magic" in his book Creating Magic. In it, he discusses 10 leadership strategies that help you to put people first in any and every market. The book itself is full of insights into people and what makes them tick.