My Summer Reading Plans #summerreads

I was inspired to steal the idea for this post (and for the Pic Collage) from Andy Milne & #slowchathealth. In the past, I’ve mentally outlined a few books I might read over the summer, but it was kind of a “if I get to it” thing. This summer, I have books that have been sitting on a shelf waiting to be read. I’ve always enjoyed reading, and if there’s one thing I enjoy about having more time in the summer to do, it’s that. Although to be honest, I don’t do it as much as I should! Silly Netflix…and mountains…and facilitating at leadership conferences…and running camps…and the beach (I don’t like to read there…sunscreen and sand in my book, no thanks!)…and…well, you get the picture. 🙂

This post contains a list of books I’ll be working towards reading this summer and a short explanation about why it’s on my list. I may not get to them all. I have different reasons for everything on here, some personal and some professional. I’ve divided my list into sections and linked to Amazon descriptions of each one. As Andy says in his post, remember to check out your local library or your favorite book store! I’ll technically start working on this list before school is out on June 27th after I finish my latest read, Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography. 

I don’t have a particular order to read this in (my money’s on Wormeli’s book first), but I know that when I fly to Seattle to visit my sister in July I’ll read a professional book. You never know who you may run into while on a flight or sitting in an airport, and I wouldn’t want to pass up the chance to have a conversation with another educator who sees my book and asks me about it.

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PROFESSIONAL READS. These are the books that cover topics that are interesting to me and my career as a teacher. Although I only teach health education, I’m interested in a multitude of education topics and enjoy expanding my horizons. 

Fair Isn’t Always Equal (Rick Wormeli). Rick is one of my eduheroes, and I’ve changed the way I grade and provide feedback to students based on his work. I look back at certain grading policies I had a few years ago and shudder. Rick’s writings resonate with me, and click with a lot of my general education philosophy. I’m looking forward to reading this book and cementing my grading practices for next school year and years to come.

Teaching In The Fast Lane (Suzy Pepper Rollins). I’m interested in continuing to find ways to create active learning experiences for my students, and my hope is that this book will help me on my ongoing quest to do so.

School Culture Recharged: Strategies to Energize Your Staff and Culture (Steve Gruenert & Todd Whitaker). I think I’ve followed Todd on Twitter since I first signed up back in 2010 and saw his name on a list of educators to follow. I’m interested in learning the most effective ways to transform school culture, and will read this from the perspective as not only a teacher, but a (potential) future administrator.

READS FOR PLEASURE

Gwendy’s Button Box (Stephen King & Richard Chizmar). A new Stephen King book? Well, technically a novella, but yes, please! Usually when King has a new regular-length release I buy two copies: one for me and one for my dad, who got me into Stephen King in the first place. One day I want to take a sabbatical with the sole intention of reading the entire Dark Tower series from start to finish. Well, I’m half joking about that, but for those who think King’s all “horror” check out his other well known books that aren’t horror related. Rita Hayworth & The Shawshank Redemption, anyone?!

All American Boys (Jason Reynolds). My 8th grade students are currently reading this in their ELA class. When I see a student carrying a book I haven’t seen before, I pick it up to read the description. After doing that with this book, I decided to add it to my summer reading list. I’m interested in books written for adolescent boys, especially those who are reluctant readers, and I’ve heard Jason Reynolds is a great author for those types of readers. 

The Last of The Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War (Richard Rubin). I’m a BIG history geek and have always been fascinated with books about history and wars. As a fifth grader, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was my hero and I can probably still draw out the general troop movements/order of battle for the entire Battle of Gettysburg. I think my sister’s still mad at me for being dragged all the way to Gettysburg, PA with my family that year, and the long drive to northern Maine to see the museum about him. World War II became my jam as I got older, and I was close to majoring in history & education in college before I made the decision to go into health education. WWI unfairly gets less recognition than other conflicts. I’ve been on a WWI kick over the last year or so, probably because these events happened 100 years ago. After slowly listening to George Carlin’s epic, five part, 20+ hour Hardcore History podcast about WWI…I added this to my list. 

IF I GET TO THEM…(or, books I’ll just read during the school year)

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen (Jazz Jennings). We cover gender identity during our human sexuality unit, and show some short video clips that feature Jazz telling her story. I’ve included this in a resources list we provide our students, and would like to read it to better my understanding of what transgender teenagers go through in their lives.

Brain Rules (John Medina). I bought this book a long time ago, and it’s been sitting on a shelf ever since. It’s a popular read among my #healthed PLN. The brain is fascinating, and ideally the knowledge gained in this book would improve how I teach adolescents, as well as different aspects of my own life.

Promoting Health and Academic Success: The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Approach (David A. Birch & Donna M. Videto). I picked this book up at SHAPE Boston so I would be better versed in creating a school wide environment that is based on educating the whole child. If I ever become an admin., my goal is going to be creating that type of environment in our school. I’m going to pick through the sections of the book as I take on different projects for my practicum hours.

I also have some “classics” that I’ve never read that I would love to pick up someday: books like Slaughterhouse Five, Fahrenheit 451, etc. As I mentioned before, I’m a big Stephen King fan and still have plenty of his epic length books to read. I enjoy reading YA books my students read, so I may pick up something by an author like John Green or a book from our middle school summer reading list. Lastly, I often add a book from Ryan Holiday’s monthly reading list email to my “to read” list, but those are usually not at the top of my list because a lot of them are quite long and about some pretty detailed topics. So, any of the above might make its way onto my summer reading list.

What’s on your summer reading list? Comment below or hop on Twitter and use #summerrreads. 

Now, about that grading…

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Those Fidget Spinners…

Fidget spinners are the latest trend to take over American schools. Like anything, they have their fans and their opponents, and in my mind it’s another go-round of a pretty consistent cycle of mini-trends of toys captivating kids that adults don’t understand or take issue with on a way too personal level.

A few years ago Tech Decks made a comeback, and in our school Rubik’s Cubes were the thing for a while. Water bottle flipping was the thing a few months ago. When I was in middle school, the cycle went through pogs, and Giga Pet/Tamagotchis (mine always died), then Yomega Brain yo-yos. Members of my Twitter PLN are noticing the same thing. With any trend, it’s time to cue members of the education profession calling for a ban of the most recent distraction…because surely it is ONLY a fidget spinner, or a Tech Deck, or a water bottle, a computer, a cell phone, the sky outside the window…surely only THOSE things are why students are bored and distracted in our classrooms, right?! Are we going to get fed up with…pen clicking? Finger tapping? Looking out the window? Let’s ban all clicky pens! No fingers for you! Block all windows!

Sheesh!

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My Man Kermit

All sarcasm aside, earlier this week I talking to a colleague who made the following observation: these spinny things captivate students and hold their attention. We recently saw the same thing happen with water bottle flipping.

So, we found ourselves asking questions. How can we harness this in our classrooms? How can we captivate students like these inanimate objects? If a small plastic device with a few ball bearings can hold their attention for that long, what can we do to do the same in our classrooms? My Twitter PLN is full of educators meeting students where they are, particularly PE teachers who are using them as fitness timers. They did the same when the Bottle Flipping Movement took over our cafeterias, by developing similar games using cones in PE, and our engineering teacher used that as an opportunity to teach about concepts related to physics. As educators we constantly have to find ways to make our subject areas meaningful and interesting to our students, especially in a world filled with distractions.

“But kids are already so distracted these days! They already don’t pay attention in MY class, and MY subject area is SO IMPORTANT that they NEED to pay attention ALL the time!”

Say what!? I don’t even pay attention all the time and I’m an adult. Of COURSE your students are distracted: they’re kids!! I don’t want to go into the science of brain development, particularly during adolescence, but as we know (or you SHOULD know) we can’t expect kids to pay attention for long periods of time without a break. Many teachers forget this or choose to ignore it. Brain boosts and movement breaks are used for this specific reason by educators who understand that kids can’t learn with a “numb bum” (thanks for that term, Andy!) after sitting down all day. Perhaps something similar can be accomplished by allowing students to use their spinners every x amount of minutes.

When I see fidget spinners, I’m also reminded to keep things simple. We live in a time where the world is literally at our fingertips and accessed through phones or computers 24/7. Virtual reality is a legitimate thing now. Sometimes, going low-tech is the better way to go, and it’s actually nice to see students so absorbed by something not on a screen, no matter how silly or simple or time-wasting it seems to us as adults.

I understand the purpose of fidget cubes, but based on how my students are using the fidget spinners, I’ll admit the spinners are a distraction for most (but not all) kids. That doesn’t mean I would advocate for banning them. For me, a simple request to keep them away is all it takes. As educators, we can find ways to incorporate them into our teaching, and they’ve given me another opportunity to connect with my students. Students have shown me modifications they’ve made to their own fidget spinners in order to try to make them spin longer, and students trade different color bearings with each other. They even make their own! Students have asked me how long I could make them spin for and have me take one of theirs for a spin (sorry, couldn’t resist!).

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An American Adolescent completes her work while modeling appropriate fidget spinner use based on clear, common sense classroom guidelines…

Sample Ways to Incorporate Fidget Spinners in Classrooms

  • As fitness timers in PE class or during movement breaks
  • As Creative Writing Prompt Devices for ELA classes
  • As devices to “hack” (try to improve) during an engineering class
  • As a model for art class (okay, I’ll admit that’s a stretch)

I’m not saying we have to adapt what we do to fit every.single.micro.trend that students are into, or that we even need to incorporate them into our classes. But if we can find something to engage students, how is that a bad thing? Set parameters for your classroom that are based on common sense, take a deep breath, and realize it’s not that big of a deal.

For the record, I handle the Fidget Spinner Situation by actually doing one aspect of my job as an educator. I talk with the student and determine what needs to be done on a case by case basis. Most students are understanding and respond to a polite prompt to put it away. It’s not that difficult. If it’s particularly distracting to a student, then I may take the spinner for the block and let them have it at the end of class. To me, all of this is common sense and it takes approximately fifteen seconds out of my class. I have too many more important things to worry about during the course of a school day to get all fired up about a toy. This might even speak to a larger issue of educators making decisions that benefit them and not the students, but that’s a whole other rabbit hole I don’t want to go down in this post.

I’ll end with a Hot Take: one student has told me that the Moondrop is going to be the next “it” thing. If so…you heard it here first! 

Now, about that grading…

13 Reasons Why: Compiled Resources for Educators

The Netflix series “Thirteen Reasons Why” has started many conversations around mental health and suicide prevention among educators, school counselors, and school administrators. It’s also caused some painful memories to flare up for students or adults who have struggled with mental health issues. The series is based on the book by Jay Asher, a book that I read a few years ago in basically one long sitting (interrupted by some sleep and a few hours of track practice) after noticing a lot of my students reading it. I enjoyed the book and I recently watched the series, which I also enjoyed. However, I was surprised at some of the things they decided to include in the series. The Netflix series is more graphic in nature and expands upon events in the book (which takes place in only one night) over a series of days and weeks. There is a lot more detail and more graphic depictions of events than in the book, which is why the series is generating a lot of buzz that the book did not.

Netflix shows can be watched by teenagers at any time, on their phones, tablets, computers, or TV. Often, teenagers will watch alone or a few friends, but not their parents. I understand the increase of concern based on this one series, but I would hope that this will make parents and educators more aware of what their teenagers/students are accessing on their own time, whether it be from Netflix, YouTube, books, etc. It is increasingly more difficult for adults to keep an eye on the media their teenagers are consuming. And, as always: why does it take a major television show to promote discussion around sensitive topics that have always been areas of concern? But, conversations and awareness are good, so I guess that’s another topic for another day…

Many local school districts have proactively sent information home to families about the television show with the goals of informing parents of its content and providing talking points for adults to use when discussing the show with their children. As I write this post, my district has not yet done so. Since starting my program to obtain administrative licensure, I’ve found myself thinking about how I would respond to different things as an administrator. For me, this is the perfect opportunity for collaboration among multiple components of the WSCC Model: in particular the components of health education, counseling, psychological, & social services, health services, social & emotional environment, and community involvement. Assembling a school wellness team, with support from central office and other community members, can help in determining how to be proactive when handling a topic like this. This is an opportunity to connect with their students and their families while they are paying attention to a very important topic: we cannot lose this opportunity! Unfortunately, many districts will remain silent.

Below you’ll find a list of resources that have been sent my way that may be helpful in discussing “Thirteen Reasons Why” with teenagers. These were obtained from multiple resources: my school psychologist, the CTAPE email list, and my PLN on Twitter/social media. I haven’t fully examined all of them, but a link and brief description is provided. I hope these links are helpful to you! Thank you to those who have been sharing their resources with others!

Netflix 13 Reasons Why: What Viewers Should Consider (The JED Foundation). Information viewers should consider before and while watching the show.

13 Reasons Why: Talking Points (The JED Foundation). The talking points mentioned in the resource linked above.

13 Reasons Why: Considerations for Educators (National Association of School Psychologists). Guidance for educators and students, with additional resources for more information.

In Response to 13 Reasons Why (To Write Love on Her Arms). A perspective from the founder of an organization helping individuals with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.

What Parents Should Know About 13 Reasons Why (Riverside Trauma Center). Information for parents and recommendations about conversations to have with their adolescent children.

“This Is What’s Missing From ’13 Reasons Why’” (Teen Vogue). An op-ed writer explains the red flags they noticed in the series.

Risk Factors & Warning Signs (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention). A list of warning signs and risk factors for suicide.

Netflix Series ’13 Reasons Why’ Has Parents, Mental Health Experts, and Educators Worried (Good School Hunting). Erika Sanzi writes from the perspective of a parent and a former educator.

7 Essential Discussion Questions for “13 Reasons Why” (We Are Teachers). Questions educators can use should the series come up while conversing with students.

 

SHAPE Boston Day Four Recap!

The fourth day of SHAPE Boston was on St. Patrick’s Day, and the convention attendees decked themselves out in a lot of green. Me? I wore blue. I should have worn my green t-shirt from sendateacher.com, but because we were presenting today, I felt a tie was appropriate for our first national presentation. I was able to grab lunch with some college classmates and helped two people set up a PLN on Twitter. My brain is still spinning from all the information that I learned, and I need some more time to reflect moving forward. Some changes I can implement quickly in my own classroom; other changes need time to be researched and developed. There will be blog posts about all of these. Onto the recap! 

Members of my PLN I Met: No one. Guess I met most of them already!

Sessions Attended…

  • “Physical Activity During School/The Kinesthetic Classroom – Teaching & Learning Through Movements” (Dana Chambers & Magaera Regan). This session explained some of the neuroscience behind the effects of movement on learning and armed educators with details to justify the importance of movement in the classroom. The biggest take away for me was the importance of explaining to other educators that movement doesn’t take away time from academics when it is an integral part of how you teach. 
  • Ad-Hoc Twitter Session! I took some time to show a friend and college classmate how to set up an online PLN on Twitter. She was a quick learner, and I look forward to seeing examples of her student’s work online. Afterwards, I wandered around the exhibit hall with my colleague, Danielle.
  • “Take Action in Your State: Success Stories from Advocacy Champions” (Michael Doyle, Jenny Dearden, Jamie Sparks). If you’ve been reading all of my recaps, you’ll notice that I’m particularly interested in advocacy at the state and national levels. This session began with a recap of ESSA and shifted to experiences in Minnesota and Kentucky related to advocating for health and physical education in their own states. Seeing what was going on in other states was motivating, and as much as they have accomplished, everyone knows there is still a lot of work to be done, and we need a “sustained, strategic effort” from teachers and advocates in ALL of our states.
  • “Five Strategies to Supercharge Your Health Class” (Mary McCauley). Mary led another health education session with different ideas to amp up your health class. Many activities were content heavy, but I attended this with my colleague Danielle, and we came away with a few ideas to implement during different units. 
  • “Shifting From Content-Based to Skills-Based Health Education” (Jeff Bartlett & Danielle LaRocque). Hey, that’s us!! Danielle and I have taken our health curriculum and made it a skills-based health education curriculum. It’s not perfect, and we’re not 100% there, but we are well along. I was thrilled to present with Danielle, and we had a GREAT audience who shared their own ideas, too. We presented at 4:15, on a Friday that was St. Patrick’s Day in Boston, and had almost 50 people attend! I enjoyed the follow-up conversations with other health teachers afterwards. Looking for our Slides? Check them out here. It’s easier to understand if we explain them, so if you have questions, shoot me an email: jeffreybartlett at danvers dot org. 

Resources to Share…

  • We stopped by the Common Bytes booth at the expo. Although they aren’t available for purchase yet, they have some cool little nutrition activities that fit into our unit objectives and would be more engaging than the way we currently teach the content part of nutrition. Another plus? When we looked at the prices they were budget friendly! They’ll also have an online component, for schools interested in that.

One Takeaway to Implement ASAP…

Final Thought….

  • I had a few conversations with fellow Massachusetts teachers who are doing GREAT things in their classroom. We need more teachers to present! It’s a great experience, and we all learn together. Please consider presenting at your state, district, or national conference if you haven’t done so already. We want to learn from you! 

Now, about that grading…

SHAPE Boston Day Three Recap!

Days Three (Thursday) of the SHAPE America Conference continued the professional learning and networking from the first two days of the conference. Here’s a recap; the day four reflection and a final reflection will be posted sometime this weekend or early next week! I don’t go into crazy detail about all of the ideas I obtained from sessions, but hope to write about them as I implement them during the school year.

Members of my PLN I Met: Keith (@MrKNoel), Chad (@ChadDauphin), Melanie (@MelanieLynch52), Adam (@pe_mullis)

Sessions Attended…

  • “TOYs (Teachers of The Year) Just Want to Have Fun In Health Class” (Melanie Lynch and Mary McCauley). This session with Melanie & Mary gave me some ideas for the content portions of our skills based health curriculum. I’m always interested in seeing how other teachers teach the same content areas that I do, and I left with some ideas specific to nutrition and even some classroom management techniques. Melanie and Mary were engaging presenters who exude passion for health education.
  • Exhibition Hall. I spent some time browsing the exhibition hall. I clearly had to spend time at the Springfield College booth (Class of ’08), and networked with a doctoral student there. I picked up a book from Human Kinetics on promoting health and academic success in schools using the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child approach. I had a great conversation with the representatives from the CDC’s School Health branch, and the Melanoma Foundation of New England. We were fortunate to obtain a facial analyzer machine from a similar foundation, the Melanoma Education Foundation. I swung by the Dove Self Esteem Fund booth to have a chat with Jessica Lawrence, and talked about all things health education on a macro level.
  • “Health and Physical Education Advocacy Using the School Health Profiles” (Regan Dodd and Kim Kato). This was a brief, 30 minute presentation about using the school health profiles from the CDC to advocate for health programs. I fill out the survey every two years, but never looked at the end report, which I now plan to do!
  • “Bye Bye, Binary: Inclusive Secondary Human Sexuality Education” (Emily A. Owens-Edington). I attended this session because the information around LGBTQ education is constantly shifting. Since we shifted our human sexuality curriculum, I’m always trying to stay up to date on the most current terminology, especially because the students stay right on top of that information. This session featured a lot of crowd sourcing from the audience, and I enjoyed hearing the perspectives of other teachers. Although I knew a lot of the information that was presented, I left with some ideas about how to promote an inclusive environment in my classroom, and a GREAT three sentence response to anyone who is using offensive language relating to someone’s sexual identity or orientation: “We don’t use people’s identities/orientations as insults in this space. We value and respect each other. Thank you.”
  • “Physical Activity in the Classroom, Pittsfield, MA: A Success Story” (Linda Avalle). I’ve been attending a lot of sessions about implementing changes on a school wide level to increase student movement and engagement. Linda Avalle and representatives from the Pittsfield (MA) Public Schools shared their success story of shifting from a district where 2.7% of elementary students were physically active for the SHAPE/CDC recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day to 75% of students meeting that benchmark. Discipline referrals also went down significantly, AND they have the data to back it up! A 5 minute activity break in the morning and afternoon, a 20 minute structured recess, and 30 minutes of physical education daily did it.

Resources to Share…

  • The Genderbread Person. I’ve used this in health class during human sexuality, and it does a great job with the differences between biological sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. 

One Takeaway to Implement ASAP…

  • The three sentence response for when students use hurtful/negative language towards other students is a good one for teachers to have: “We don’t use people’s identities/orientations as insults in this space. We value and respect each other. Thank you.”

Final Thought….

  • One of the best aspects of conferences like SHAPE America? The conversations that happen between sessions or in the before/after moments when people are settling in. When you’re in a place surrounded by people who are passionate about the same things you are, it’s almost impossible to not have a great, profession enhancing conversation. 

Now, about that grading…

SHAPE Boston Day Two Recap

Day Two of the SHAPE America Conference was jam-packed with learning and meeting friends from my #healthed and #slowchathealth PLN. I wrote this in a rapid fire way, so please pardon any typos for now!

Members of my PLN I Met: Andy M (@carmelhealth), Matt (@Physed_Pomeroy), David (@WstprtWellness), Collin (@CollinBrooksie), Nick (@NicholasEndlich), Rich (@richwiles), Jo (@LovePhyEd), Allisha (@RunDanceLive)

Sessions Attended…

  • “Action Academics” (Kenny Clark). This session focused on incorporating physical activity into the regular classroom. This is a topic I’ve been interested in and been thinking about since our school became a 1:1 school with Chromebooks. Kenny had some ideas that can be implemented by teachers of any subject, and some school-wide ideas, too. I’m thinking about compiling some of the information with other movement resources to present to our entire teaching staff. With a new term starting Monday, and a new group of students, there are one or two changes I think I can make almost immediately to my teaching. I’ll probably blog about them in the future.
  • SHAPE General Session. John Jacobs, the Chief Executive Optimist, gave a FANTASTIC presentation to the convention attendees about positivity. It’s hard to put into words if you didn’t experience it. 
  • “Participatory Activities to Engage Students Within The Health Classroom” (Andy Milne). I was BUMMED that Andy Horne wasn’t able to make the convention, but THRILLED that I was finally able to meet Andy M. and see his presentation. I’ve been following Andy & Andy on Twitter for a while, and have collaborated with them on Voxer and the SHAPE America Podcast as well. Andy’s session was engaging and thrilled with ideas that I think we can add into our health curriculum to fill some gaps. 
  • “Facilitating Role Plays in The Health Education Classroom (Jessica Lawrence). Jess presented another engaging session that was relevant to our work in the health classroom. We use role plays in two of our three grade levels, and this session helped connect the dots for creating additional steps/protocols for our students. We spend so much time, for example, trying to teach students about interpersonal communication skills, that we forget they need to know how to write an actual role play. I think we’ll now give students a half script to fill in and then will bring in an administrator to demonstrate a role play and the processing that happens afterwards.
  • SHAPE Social. I spent the evening networking and connecting with other health and physical educators. A lot of talk centered around advocacy and what we can do as health educators to help schools, families, and communities understand the importance of being healthy. I was able to meet a few more members of my PLN, and even found a way to go 2-0 in a new game.

Resources to Share…

  • Tools2Engage: This website by Andy & Andy has a bunch of their health education teaching resources. It’s worth checking out! (That’s an understatement)

One Takeaway to Implement ASAP…

  • Action/Participation Cards. Kenny shared a template for action/participation cards. I plan on making copies or developing a similar template on cardstock for all my students. Each direction of the compass is associated with a specific movement activity. Students have a “Movement Activity Partner” and link up with them to perform the movement and answer my prompt.

Final Thought….

The #healthed crew from Twitter and Voxer is like one big family. I have never met any of these individuals until this week, but I have shared resources with them and discussed a lot of health education “stuff” in Voxer or in a podcast. Despite never having met any of them, it felt like we had already met and known each other for a long time. The power of individuals to create change is big, but when it’s added to the power of other individuals, obviously it multiplies. This group of health educators and physical educators are onto something, and big things are on the horizon.

Now, about that grading…

SHAPE Boston Recap

Today was the first day of SHAPE Boston! Mother Nature and her friend by the name of Stella allowed me to head into an extra day of SHAPE Boston due to a snow day. I plan on briefly writing a short recap post after each day at SHAPE, whenever I can based on the evening events, to reflect and share some resources from my notes. My brain is always SPINNING (in a good way!) after I attend conferences, so I guess this is my way of working through some of the information now working its way through my cerebrum.

Members of my PLN I Met: Jessica (@cairnguidance), Amy (@teaching_health), Mary (@PrideandjoyMary), Bob from PE Pep Talk (@PEPEPTALK). 

Sessions Attended (each 4 hours long)…

  • “Systems Thinking, Systems Changing: Institutionalizing School Health Programs” with Jessica Lawrence. This session tasked attendees with completing a simulation board game that simulated a three-year process to implement a system-wide change in school health. It was research based, fun, and VERY informative yet frustrating. It was a real eye opener to see all the work that has to take place to get multiple stakeholders on the same page in order to implement a systems change within your school or community. I’m currently getting my administrator’s license, and for me, this was a valuable experience in making sure to build relationships and create buy in before attempting to implement a wide scale change. It’s hard to explain in detail, but I know the handouts and information provided will inform my career when I eventually make the move into administration of some kind. My ideal admin. gig? Being responsible for a school or district wide culture of educating the whole child through wellness initiatives (or something like that).
  • “Ready to Go Health Projects For Any School On a Budget” with Amy Lauren Smith. I’ve worked online with Amy before, and I used to write for Choices (she still does), so I was looking forward to this session. Amy actually messaged me last night and asked if I could help out due to her co-presenters being unable to get into Boston due to the snow. I was happy to help out a member of my PLN, if only for a short period of time during the session. Amy focused on project based learning in health education, and I’ve been thinking about how we can use elements of the PBL Framework in our skills-based health education curriculum. I left the session with some ideas of my own to share with my colleague as we further refine and improve our scope and sequence.

Resources to Share…

One Takeaway to Implement ASAP…

  • During Amy’s session we were using sticky notes to share our goals for the session. Sticky notes are commonly used for formative assessment. I thought about using sticky notes during project work, and having each group write their goals for the class period on a sticky note before sticking it to the wall. At the end of the class, the group can reflect on their progress working towards that goal, and make a game plan for next time.

Final Thought….

  • We had a great discussion in Amy’s session with a pre-service teacher who is preparing to student teach at the undergraduate level. The conversation was focused on boundaries between students and teachers, specifically about disclosing or not disclosing information. I think the student left with some valuable insight from experienced educators. It’s refreshing to see future educators at conferences like this, and more importantly, not being afraid to ask questions.

Now, about that grading…