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Posts tagged ‘professional development’

Throw out what doesn’t work. Replace it with this.

I knew the day was coming. There is a fairly extensive remodeling project happening in our office, including the need to move some storage areas for a new ESSDACK MakerSpace.

One of the storage areas sitting right in the middle of the danger zone includes some of my stuff. So Michelle, Facilities Director, office podmate, and “clean up your junk” taskmaster, let me know that my things had to find other living arrangements.

Fifteen years. That’s how long I’ve had the privilege of spending time here. Lots of good times. But also lots of stuff. Seriously, lots of stuff. So I spent four hours this morning going through shelves, folders, and three ring binders trying to decide what to keep and what to toss.

Yeah. Fifteen years of collecting books and resources. Fifteen years of lesson plan ideas and materials. Journals, articles. Freebies from conferences. Workshop handouts.

I eventually ended up with seven very full boxes headed to the recycle bin. Read more

Tip of the Week: Personalized PD with the LOC

Complete the following sentence in your head.

Every workshop I attend should . . .

My first thought?

include snacks and very large Diet Pepsi.

But I suppose there are a few other ways to complete the sentence. A couple of weeks ago I ran across a very interesting post by Pernille Ripp titled Every Workshop I Attend Should . . . What Attendees Wish We Knew. Powerful stuff. As someone who spends a lot of time working with teachers, it was a great reminder of what a good PD session should look like.

  • Teachers want choice
  • They want to connect with others and content
  • They want to be acknowledged as experts
  • They want practical ideas
  • They want to be inspired
  • They want the focus to be on students
  • They want it to be fun

And I’m a big believer in face to face, professional learning in groups. I love the interaction that can happen when teachers passionate about the profession get together. Using Ripp’s list as a guide is a wonderful way to measure whether the learning is of high quality.

But with this new fangled interwebs thing out there, there is also personal professional growth opportunities available that would have been impossible to find even five years ago. So where can you find professional development options that contain all of the things on Ripp’s list? Read more

Books that shaped America. Mmm . . .

As part of the celebration of their 100th birthday, the US Department of Labor recently put together a list titled “Books That Shaped Work in America.” It’s an interesting list. And I will be the first to admit that more than several of the books are unfamiliar to me and that more than several of the books are . . . mmm . . . interesting selections.

I mean, I get why The Jungle made the list. Why Liar’s Poker made the list. Even Busy Busy Town (a personal favorite). But still scratching my head a bit on I’m a Frog and Madam Secretary. That’s the cool thing about lists – everyone has a different opinion. I also like the idea that the Department of Labor asked current and former employees to create the list.

But it got me thinking. Read more

Historians on Twitter

I love Twitter. I probably don’t use it enough or in a way that maximizes its potential. But I still love it. I also think we need to be using it as both a professional development and instructional tool.

And I just ran across Russel Tarr’s very sweet list of historians on Twitter. It’s a big list, and it’s growing every day, but it is a nice place to start if you’re looking to add to your follow list. He also has a great list of History Educators – more of a focus on classroom teachers.

And don’t forget to head back to his ActiveHistory page and all of his Class Tools like FakeBook and Fake Tweet.

Reading lists and intentional personal professional development

I have a confession to make. I failed. And it’s not the first time. Though there is a silver lining – I didn’t fail as bad as I’ve failed in the past.

Back in May, I listed eight books that I planned to read over the summer. Five work related and three, you know . . . just for fun. And just like every summer I’ve created a reading list, I failed to finish the list. But I came close. I went seven for eight.

The secret? Go tech naked for five days and knock out four books one right after the other. In addition to the summer reading list, there was also a brief Civil War kick in early summer related to the 150th Gettysburg anniversary.

And of course, there’s always the annual Wiebe Labor Day bookapolloza.

books thai text

This year’s take.

For the last six or seven years, over the Labor Day weekend, my family and I travel to some exotic city (like Kansas City or Wichita), eat the same sort of food all weekend, and visit as many bookstores as we can. And, of course, we always name the weekend. Among other things. we’ve had Burgers and Books, BBQ and Books, Bolognese and Books.

This year? We wanted to focus on Asian food but couldn’t come up with a “B” word that went with “Books.”

We ended up with Thai and Texts.

Yeah. Not near as catchy. But still a good weekend. Great food. Great conversation. And four bookstores.

Nice story, Glenn. Thanks for sharing. But what’s the point? Read more

Eat your own dog food

In a recent article in Wired magazine, author Clive Thompson suggests that members of Congress should eat their own dog food. Thompson describes the “hardships” Congressmen had to endure as they waited in long airport security lines, rushing out of town on their way to hit up potential donors. Long lines they created by failing to solve federal budget issues, a failure that kicked in the ridiculous sequester idea.

Critics warned that the sequester would cause hardship throughout the country, but congress-folk didn’t care — until they had to share in the pain. When they discovered that the sequester was eating into their vacation time, they rushed back to the Capitol and passed a law restoring funding to airports, working so fast that part of the bill was handwritten. Congress, it turns out, isn’t paralyzed. It’s just not motivated. In this spirit, there’s one simple way to get our do-nothing legislators off the dime: Have them eat their own dog food.

Thompson goes on to describe a term I had never heard of before. In the world of software coding, “dogfooding” describes the habit of programmers actually using their own products, “day in and day out.” Invented in the early 1980s, the term – and the practice – continues because it works. Forced to live with their own code, programmers can quickly see what works and what doesn’t work. And just as quickly fix it.

Thompson suggests that Washington would be a bit more successful if Congress actually experienced life as they code it. They don’t live like . . . well, like you and me. Incredibly cheap and well run health insurance. Private schools for their kids. Great pensions. People throwing money at them left and right.

They don’t really understand what happens in the rest of the country when they pass (or don’t pass) legislation. They don’t eat their own dog food.


Step back a minute. What does this have to do with social studies teachers? I’ll wait. Think this through a bit. Read more


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