There are a lot of factors that affect our access to good professional development: district size, geographic location, budget (both your’s and your school’s). So what’s a teacher to do when you’re one of the only social studies teachers in your building, or you want to try something new but the people in your department still won’t give up their precious overhead projector?
There is one outlet where you can find solid PD, often hosted by leaders in the field, at least once a week: Twitter Chats. As Chris Hitchcock, one of the moderators of #sschat, describes how she felt when she discovered the hashtag:
#sschat offered this whole new world of collaboration, support, and interaction that was fascinating and really helpful.
Some of us are starting our winter breaks, others will start this week. Let’s all agree to take advantage of the time off, okay?
The weeks right before break are a rush of projects, grading, concerts, sporting events, class reward/holiday parties, and a dozen other little items that simply must be done before you can leave the building. And those are just your school obligations . . .
So this week I’m not going to write about some cool new tool or trick to use, I’m going to to tell you to go read a book, spend time with your family, take the dog for a walk (if you’re not in a part of the country that isn’t currently in the deep freeze). Take time for yourself and recharge; Edutopia agrees with me and TED has an entire playlist on the importance of self-care. You can do some work over break, you know we all will, but let’s agree to find a better balance during this time away from school.
We’re taking our own advice at Doing Social Studies and won’t have a new post next week so we can all enjoy the time with our loved ones (and it’s not like you were really going to wake up on Boxing Day ready to see what’s new on our site). We’ll have a fresh post for you in the New Year to get you excited about what you can do in the classroom, whenever it is you have to return.
I am trying to be more mindful of pulling my students’ learning through this year. You know, revisiting what they’ve already learned so it doesn’t fly out of their brains never to return (at least not to return until their high school American History teacher says they should have learned this in 8th grade and have to review it…).
I tried out a neat tool this week with my students that Glenn Wiebe showed the KCSS Executive Board over the summer. The ClassTools.net Hexagon Generator allows you to select up to 30 terms that will then be placed on little hexagons which you will then have the pleasure of cutting apart (good task for a student aide with time on her hands, wish I had one).
With only three days this week due to Parent-Teacher Conferences I didn’t want to jump into something new before their long weekend, so I decided to roll out the hexagons. I used a mix of ideas, people and events that we’ve covered since the beginning of the year. Each table got a set and my directions – if the terms on their hexagon have a connection they can touch, but for each side that touches there has to be a connection. Continue reading Hexagons? In History?→