This summer, ABPC Program Coordinator Emily Strickland is asking a selection of teachers engaged in our statewide educator networks to let us know how they’ll be spending their summer break. Early Childhood teacher Frances Granger is another contributor who plans to mix relaxation with lots of professional learning!
1) What books are you reading this summer?
I spend a lot of my time during the school year reading professional books so I make sure to catch up on books that I want to read for fun and also mix in some professional books as well. If I am going to encourage kids to be readers, then I must model that.
I just finished Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup (which I highly recommend) and now I am on to Where the Crawdads Sing. I am also reading The Importance of Being Little: What Young Children Really Need From Grownups. As an Early Childhood person, I am always wanting to find more research behind play-based learning so I am looking forward to that.
2) How will you be continuing your professional learning this summer?
I am working through an Orton-Gillingham training that my school has set up for us and I am also looking forward to the global online conference on The Pedagogy of Play through Fairy Dust Teaching. Their summer conferences have fantastic Early Childhood speakers and ideas. I am in the process of working through National Board Certification for Early Childhood so a lot of my time will be preparing for that.
3) What reflection process do you use to think about the past year and plan for the next?
I reflect on my year by breaking my day down into subjects/parts. I list what procedures/activities went well, what did not go well but I just need to tweak it, what I want to drop, and what I want to start doing.
I then look at the things that I want to start doing and create a plan of how I am going to implement that or find resources that will help me. It helps if you break it down that way so that you can see the areas that you feel confident in and then your areas for more professional growth.
4) What advice would you give a first year teacher on how best to use their first summer as a way to prepare for the coming school year?
Know your standards that you will be teaching. Read them and dissect their meaning so that you understand what is required and then begin to think about how you will get your kids to that point.
I also tell new teachers all the time to work on mastering one major teaching strategy a year. You might want to choose to really focus on Writer’s Workshop one year and once you are comfortable with that you might choose Guided Reading for the next year and then play-based learning centers the next.
That is what I did and it has really helped me feel confident in so many areas now. I would much rather take the time to go deep into a subject and eventually come out with deep knowledge for all of them, than to rush everything and only understand a lot of strategies at the surface level.
Frances Granger (@Mrs_G123) is a first grade teacher at Pike Road Elementary School in Pike Road, Al. She has just finished her 8th year of teaching. Frances is a fan of quality technology integration, project/problem based learning and all things Early Childhood. She is a Certified Google Educator, an @Seesaw Ambassador and is currently working on her National Board Certification.