Although summer is a “break” from the schedules and routines of teaching, it has always also been a time of learning for me. Whether it be taking course work or having the time to read deeply or attend professional learning events, I find the summer a great time to learn new things and both reflect on and rejuvenate my teaching practice. Of course, in order to really refresh, I do take some time away from professional thinking by reading novels, memoirs, travel guides and cookbooks! I try and learn new things and am currently enjoying learning about different types of weaving, dyeing using natural materials, using new art techniques and focusing on developing my knowledge around local plants All of these personal interests do tend to find their way into my professional work though as well!
One learning goal I have for myself is to become more familiar and fluent with using desmos. Desmos is an online graphing application (and available as an app as well) but has so many possibilities for supporting mathematical thinking for elementary and secondary students. The desmos website is full of examples and ideas for student projects as well as resources for teachers. I feel I just have a beginning understanding of what desmos has to offer so am looking forward to digging in and playing with it over the summer.
My first summer professional reading stack of the summer!
Engaging Children: Igniting a Drive for Deeper Learning K-8 by Ellin Oliver Keene
Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play by Mitchel Resnick and Ken Robinson
Play Matters by Miguel Sicart
Arithmetic by Paul Lockhart
Give Me Five!: Five Coach-Teacher-Principal Collaborations that Promote Mathematical Success by Janice Bradley
Essential Assessment: Six Tenets for Bringing Hope, Efficacy, and Achievement to the Classroom (Deepen Teachers’ Understanding of Assessment to Meet Standards and Generate a Culture of Learning) by Cassandra Erkens and Tom Schimmer
Softening the Edges: Assessment Practices that Honor K-12 Teachers and Learners by Katie White
An area of focus in our district will continue to be assessment. Continuous assessment that leads to responsive, intentional instructional choices is a practice that is woven throughout series I do around mathematics professional learning. Two books that I am going to revisit this summer as I begin to plan professional learning experiences for next year include:
Rethinking Letter Grades is a book by Canadian authors with local examples and I appreciate the “triangle” from this book that shares that in order to have authentic evidence of learning you need three types of assessment data – observations, conversations/interviews and products (which includes projects, creations, writing, drawing, diagrams, quizzes, tests). The Formative Five is a mathematics specific book focusing on five formative assessment practices.
New assessment reads for this summer include the following:
Katie White, author of Softening the Edges, will be a featured speaker at our Curriculum Implementation Day in Richmond next year. Essential Assessment was a book recommended by Angie Calleberg of the BC Ministry of Education as she said the Ministry used this book to inform assessment projects in the province. And although I do have some concerns about Hattie’s use of statistics and his meta analysis of meta analysis studies, I know his new book will come up in professional conversations around assessment so want to have a quick read through it.
Professional Learning Opportunities
For Richmond educators, professional learning opportunities are listed within the portal. Go to Learn 38 then to the Professional Learning tile to find both internal and external events.
For this year’s BCTF PSA Day in October, consider attending the Northwest Mathematics Conference in Whistler. Information about speakers, accommodation and registration is now available here:
Also in October, the Vancouver Reggio Association is hosting Tiziana Filippini, a pedagogista from Reggio Emilia, Italy. More information available here:
A free professional learning event about coding for teachers is being hosted in Vancouver this summer, sponsored by the Government of Canada:
Lots of districts in BC offer professional learning events at the end of the summer so check Twitter, Facebook, the BCTF site and district websites for more information.
For those of you interested in building your own knowledge of Indigenous perspective, culture and content, Talasay Tours offers some grant opportunities:
And the Museum of Anthropology at UBC currently has an exhibit highlighting six cultures from across BC;
Have a lovely summer – a time for adventures, rejuvenating and learning new things!