Long time, no blogging! What have I been up to?! During the summer of 2016, I started my master's degree in STEM education and I graduated in May of this year. I am very glad that I was able to go through the program and learn new ideas and skills for my classroom, but I am also very glad that I am finished! Blogging completely fell off the map, reading for fun took a nosedive, and weekends were for projects, papers, and of course, regular school work!
This summer I made a conscious decision not to take any classes because I definitely need a break. However, I didn't completely say no to professional learning. In mid-June, I traveled with colleagues to Minneapolis for three days of PLC workshop. I will probably expand upon that at another point in time, so I will just say that if you really want to get something out of a learning experience, you can generally find something to apply to your professional situation.
Later that week, my husband and I drove two suburbans full of high students to the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska. What a great trip! We were one of three schools that received a "Send a Troupe" grant to attend the festival for the first time. We were able to see a lot of amazing shows that are being put on by high schools across the country and also attend many quality workshops to help make our speech and drama program stronger and encourage continued growth. I was really happy to be back home though, as our days were busy from early morning (I got up at 5:30 am) to 12:30 am (room check time).
Last week I had the opportunity to take part in a four-day workshop for OpenSciEd. I will be a pilot teacher for two units for my 7th grade. I think that this curriculum is well thought out and will be very interesting for students. I am so hopeful that the process will continue to go well with the possibility of a complete middle school curriculum aligned (or mostly aligned) to Iowa's NGSS model. I have been reading Ambitious Science Teaching and taking part in a twitter chat to discuss the book's ideas and implications, and the pedagogy encouraged through OpenSciEd dovetails with the book. I am so excited to start this process, as this really reflects best practices in science teaching, should be quite engaging for students, and promote learning for all levels of students.
In between all of that, I have been taking time to read for fun, and in June I started "The Great Painting Project of Summer 2018." I painted our kitchen, hallway, and both of our bathrooms. I was actually hoping that today would be the last day of touch up for a while (until we get a few new fixtures and furniture items), but I found a few places that still need some attention. If I ever have a lot of money, I will have someone retexture (AND PAINT!!) our walls. The wall texture is such that even with rough texture rollers, paint brush, and other paint accessories, tiny little pockets of wall get missed and the old wall color shows through. That part of the painting has been a bit infuriating, but it is a nice makeover for the house. Also, it's pretty mindless work and that's exactly what I needed this summer! It's been a great way to catch up on podcasts too!
Teachers report on Aug. 17th, so I'm working on enjoying my last days of leisure. What have you been up to?