Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sweat Out Some Summer Learning!

The brain is an active organ that we need to keep stimulated all year long.  Here are a few suggestions on how to keep exercising your brain throughout the summer to ensure it does not turn to mush like it seems to do with our students every year.

1. Read a Book - This could be an educational book such as Chicken Soup for the Teachers Soul or Teach Like A Pirate or a personal read or newest best seller.  I have just started reading Me Before You before I go see it in the theaters.  You can even invite your colleagues and create an informal book study that meets weekly at Starbucks to also get your coffee fix in too!

2. Meditate - Take care of your mind and body and find peace.  This year I did a free 21 day meditation course by Oprah and Deepak which was a great way to practice relaxation and eliminate negative body energy, and eliminate unnecessary stress.

3. Start an Idea Diary - I am sure you have a famous "TO DO LIST" somewhere.  I know I have too many to count!  Instead, jot down your ideas that come up throughout the summer in a small notebook that you conveniently carry in your purse or car.  Inspirations come from everywhere and these great ideas tend to be forgotten if we do not make note of them somewhere. Just remember to read over them before the start of the school year.

4. Create a Blog - Everyone has a story to share that many educators can learn from.  Reflect out and share some of you great ideas and creative activities virtually.  Weebly, Wordpress, and Google Blogger are a great place to start. 

5. Learn Something New - Go out on a limb and try something that you have never done before not related to education.  Sign up for a yoga class, get a new cookbook, learn how to make origami, construct a robot....the list is endless!  Who knows, you may find your next creative passion or hobby!

6. Go to a Face-to-Face Session - It is nice to visit with colleagues and other educators during summer professional learning opportunities.  Sign up for a  technology Edcamp, content specific workshop, or pedagogy session in your area to ensure that your teaching skills stay sharp and up-to-date.

7. Watch a Webinar - If you cannot make it out to a face-to-face session, try the flipped classroom approach and join via instant or playback webinar.  Last week I hosted a webinar for my Astronomy teachers using Starry Night High School.  We were all speechless about the awesome interactive program they have to offer.  If you've never watched a webinar I invite you to join Edmodocon 2016 this August to learn more about how to use Edmodo in your classroom, school, or district.  By the way, your truly is one of the guest speakers! 

8. Join a Twitter Chat - I am relatively new in the twitter world, but I have really learned so much.  Some great chats that I recommend are #leadupchat (for lead teachers and administrators), #satchat, #falconedchat (for my fellow falcon colleagues), #pblchat (for those interested in project based learning), #ntchat (new and seasoned teachers welcome), and #tmchat (for more ways to use thinking maps).  Come to explore, collaborate, steal, and share ideas from other fellow educators across the globe!  Please feel free to follow me @aguzmanscience!

9. Plan Ahead - The summer is a time for teachers to re-energize and gain back their spark and passion for education.  Decide to take a risk and try something new in your class.  It could be to try the flipped approach, make it more student-centered, or try a PBL?  Do your homework, plan, and be prepared to ensure that your work is successful.

10.  Reflect on the Year- Many teachers have their students (or teachers) fill out evaluations or questionnaires.  Make sure you take some time to really read and learn from what your students (or teachers) have to say.  What worked well?  What failed miserably?   Also check out your state assessment data and see where your students excelled and where they needed improvement.  This can be a great start to determine how you can do things differently and how you can plan to ensure that next school year is even better! 

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