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Easy Summer PD [episode 16]


Click below to listen to an easy summer pd:

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Morning Message: 

[1:01] Would you rather be the principal or office administrator for the day?

While we think it would be fun to be principal for the day and do all the things you wish you could do at school, for example, leave school early and have games all day, but we all agree that office administrator would be ideal.

They do all the hard work, but they’re amazing! They’re always so kind, have a positive attitude, a smile on their faces, and they know everything and everyone. Office administrators really are the heart of the school!

We’d love to hear your responses to this question and future questions, so let us know over on Instagram!

Here's an overview of episode 16:

While summer is a time for you to recharge and relax before the next big school year, it’s also important to think about how you can make some changes for the upcoming year. One way we’ve always done that is through reading professional development books over the summer, that we can then implement in the fall. In today’s episode, we’re sharing an easy summer professional development of reading over the summer. 

Summer is a great time to work on professional development, but we all don’t have the time or money to sit at a conference. Therefore, we decided to share our favorite professional development books with you! Most books that we share throughout the episode are ones we’ve read, but we also mentioned books that we’re currently reading or are on our summer read list.

What we love about each book is that it taps into different aspects of teaching. Those topics range from how to structure your classroom, tips on organization, ensuring a positive and safe environment, how to provide engaged learning, understanding global social systems for younger grades, and so much more. Each book provides insight, takeaways, and will leave you with an impact that you can translate to your classroom.

Learning professional development doesn’t have to break the bank or require a full three days of your time. By reading one, two, or all of these books will provide you with easy summer professional development that will leave you with ideas, strategies, and conversations that you will be able to take with you when you return to school in the fall, all from the comfort of your own home!

We invite you to join us for our FREE Design Your Summer Challenge. This challenge will help you identify what you need for recovery this summer and make a plan for back to school readiness. You can sign up now here. We hope you’ll join us!

In this episode on easy summer pd, we discuss:

  • Our favorite professional development books to read over the summer
  • The impact that these books can have on your teaching throughout the school year
  • How each of these books apply to different aspects of teaching
  • Positive takeaways you will get after reading each of these books

This week's teacher approved tip:

[16:23] Read non-fiction books on an e-reader

This is such a great idea because it has so many benefits! When reading on an e-reader, you’re able to highlight words or phrases and take notes that you can reference in the future. The bonus is that you’re able to export those notes and email them to yourself through a PDF.

Having this ability will leave you with less headaches and stress in the future!

What we're giving extra credit to this week:

[17:57] Heidi is giving extra credit to Where’d You Go Bernadette?

[18:35] Emily is giving extra credit to The Floor is Lava


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Read the transcript for episode 16, Easy Summer PD:

Hey, there, thanks for joining us today. In today's episode, we're sharing an idea for easy summer professional development. And we'll share a teacher proof tip for organizing your takeaways from nonfiction books. But before we get to that, let's jump into this week's morning message. We start our episodes with a morning message just like we used to do at morning meeting in our classrooms. This week's morning message is would you rather be the principal for the day or the office administrator? What do you think it? I think like truly my heart of hearts, it would definitely be office administrator. But I have this little dream of maybe being principal for the day and just being like, you know, like, the kid is king for a day and just doing all the stuff that I could never do that you wish the principal would do and be like, Hey, we're just sending every one home. Everyone wanted to have fun. But what can do I'm only principal for the day. They can't fire me. I like it. What about you, Emily? I'd have to say office administrator for sure. I just feel like the office administrator is the real heart of any school. And they keep everything functioning, they know everything that's going on. And somehow they seem to know everybody too plus, I just have really fond memories of our school secretary growing up, I don't know if you remember her, she was always just so happy. And it felt like she like knew me personally. And that just made me so happy. I loved her. And she always had amazing nails, she did. And we have a couple of responses from some people in our community. Cassidy said the office administrator because I love pens and post it. And we know her, she really does. She also said and I don't want to deal with what principals deal with, which is for sure. Right? Absolutley. And Carrie Ann says office administrator all the students know and love them, because they help them feel better when they're sick and call parents when they need something. And they're just always smiling and kind. And they don't have to deal with the discipline issues. That's definitely a win. But you have to teach them how to use phones because they don't know how to do that. We have established that recently with my own children. So I think we're all on the same page, that office administrator, they definitely do all the hard work, but they're also the most amazing. So that's who we'd want to be.

Summer can be a great time to work on professional development. But that doesn't have to mean taking a lot of heavy duty trainings if you have that option. Luckily, one of my favorite ways to work in professional development is by reading an educational book to help expand my teaching expertise, and then give me some new ideas for the upcoming school year. So today, we're going to share some of our favorite professional development books, and also what new ones we're planning to read this summer. Consider this a little book tasting to give you some ideas for a professional development book you may want to pick this summer.

So we're starting with our favorite, The First Six Weeks of School from the Responsive Classroom. And the summary is watch children's learning blossom all year long when you lay the groundwork with the help of this classic comprehensive guidebook for K-6 teachers, day by day and week by week, the first six weeks of school shows you how to set students up for a year of engaged and productive learning. This is a title that I came back to every year that I taught school Oh for sure. I appreciated the suggestions. And it had really concrete tools for how to structure those first weeks of schools in powerful ways so that you're affirming that new little crop of students. But you're also like from the from the jump, you are starting to design a safe, nurturing classroom culture. And it just walks you through things that like hadn't occurred to me before reading this book, like walk through a fire drill before you had to do a fire drill, like stuff that means a lot but you maybe don't consider doing so it's very helpful. And it's just so many good reminders. So even if you don't fully reread it, revisiting it every summer is really helpful.

Absolutely. Our second recommendation is Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones. In Tools for Teaching, Dr. Jones describes the skills by which exceptional teachers make the classroom a place of success and enjoyment for both themselves and their students. Tools for Teaching integrates the management of discipline, instruction and motivation into a system that allows you to reduce the stress of teaching by preventing most management headaches. Preventing the key there. Yeah, these skills are made accessible through practical down to earth language, and detailed examples and illustrations. This book changed my teaching. I devoured it between my first and second years of teaching way back in 2002. But it is one I still refer to. It is a hefty book. It's not a little one, but it is full of vital information about how to prevent classroom issues before they even become a problem and then what to do with some get through the net. And then how you can maximize your instruction for the most impact. It really has lots of clear takeaways and how to implement things they talk about like channeling your inner Queen Victoria when a student is acting up and like you are cool, calm and collected this, this little ruffian can't ruffle you. And I for sure, like when a kid is acting out 100% I have that picture of Queen Victoria and my brain. Imagine you're putting on your crown. Yes, walking over there with my scepter. And the illustrations and this are golden that are so funny. And I feel like this is just such a great book for new teachers a good gift to give to new teachers. In fact, I gifted it to my sister in law last year when she got a classroom teaching job.

The next recommendation is the First Days of School by Harry Wong. The First Days of School book walks a teacher, either novice or veteran. Through structuring and organizing a classroom for success that can be applied at any time of the year at any grade level pre K through college. I'm in impressed that they're making that claim. But this book is a classic for a reason. Wong cuts through all the noise and he just lays out everything in clear steps. We don't 100% agree with all of his ideas in this book, but the good stuff in there is so good. It's worth the read.

And our next recommendation is The Joyful Classroom by Responsive Classroom. You may notice a theme here we love we love a Responsive Classroom book. I don't think they've ever steered me wrong, and so true. Light the spark of learning in your students teachers know it instinctively research bears it out. Students learn more and with more joy when offered intriguing lessons that connect with their lives and interests, while challenging them to stretch and grow. So we did this book as a summer book club read a few years back, we we ran this for a group of teachers in our Facebook group, and everyone really loved it. And this book really lends itself well to a teacher summertime read, because it's full of clear takeaways, but it isn't heavy or technical. It breaks down the components of engaged learning and explains how to implement them. Plus, it's got lots of pictures, which I always enjoy, and it's just a really easy read that will make you excited to get back to school and try out some of the new ideas. It really is a perfect summer read and the pictures are a plus.

So next on our list is Unpack Your Impact by Naomi O'Brien and Linnea Tabb. O'Brien and Tabb explain how to provide students with a deep but achievable understanding of global social systems as they're transformed by history, sociology, economics, geography and civics. And because the unpack your impact curriculum can be folded into existing lessons for almost any topic. Students garner an appreciation for how all learning shapes and is shaped by a diverse array of human cultures. Unpack Your Impact shows that primary teachers can make a positive impact individually and globally. So I feel like this is the social studies training I needed in college. My Social Studies training was really weak. It was basically just learning how like younger grades focus on self and family and you slowly build up through like neighborhood community and state. Yep, same. And then the class took turns doing book talks on picture books related to social studies. And that was it for this semester. Yeah. I am. That's really sad because we were in that program five years apart. Yep. So I've never really felt well equipped to teach social studies. And clearly I'm not alone with them. So I just love that these two authors look at the huge umbrella of social studies, everything that can be folded into that, like economics and history and civics and then they show that how even our little learners can do real thinking in those areas. I think that's such a powerful skill to give kids in this era of such global connectivity is just to be able to see these patterns and connections. And it's so nice to see a book that tackles this topic, aimed specifically at the younger grades because it feels like sometimes the books are for older kids.

Our next book is the Morning Meeting book by, you guessed it, the Responsive Classroom. Promote a climate of trust, academic growth and positive behavior by launching each school day with a whole class gathering. This comprehensive user friendly book shows you how to hold Responsive Classroom morning meetings, a powerful teaching tool used by hundreds of 1000s of teachers in K-8 schools. We are huge fans of morning meeting and we talked all about it in episode six of this podcast. If you want to make a change to your morning routines in a way that will have massive impact on your classroom community, this upcoming school year. This is the book for you. And it will tell you everything you need to know about how to run an impactful morning meeting every day and just make it part of your daily routines. I really can't say enough good about this. I love it so much. I love it.

Our next book is Shifting the Balance by Jan Birkins and Carrie Yates. The current emphasis on the body of research known as the science of reading has renewed what some refer to as the reading wars, and raise challenging questions for balance literacy teachers about the best ways to teach reading. Instead of fueling the debate, Jan Birkins, and Carrie Yates have immersed themselves in the research and produce this concise and Practical Guide to integrating effective reading strategies from each perspective. Each chapter of Shifting the Balance focuses on one of the six simple and scientific shifts balanced literacy teachers can make to strengthen their approach in these areas, reading comprehension phonemic awareness, phonics, high frequency words, cueing systems and text selection for early reading instruction. So this is one I just finished a couple months ago. And if you have a background in balanced literacy, which we both do, and this book is so helpful, like the summary mentioned and looks at six ways, teachers can shift their practice to be more aligned with current research. And this book is really just laid out so clearly, it's easy to understand. It has clear suggestions for how to implement things, it shows the benefits that those shifts can yield. It's really well laid out and it's not super dense or overwhelming. It's really perfect if you're wanting a summer professional development read that really gives you some impact, but isn't going to require a lot of mental work to understand. I give this a thumbs up.

And the book I am currently reading is Morning Classroom Conversations by Maurice J. Elias, Nina A. Murphy and Kelly A. McLean. Students need to feel heard and understood by adults and by their peers. When you make morning classroom conversations a regular part of your class, you give students a safe place to practice critical and creative thinking, build active listening skills, learn to respectfully disagree with others, and strengthen peer relationships, all while improving overall classroom climate. So by now you know that I am passionate about the power of a good morning routine. So I really scooped up this title as soon as I saw it, even though it's geared towards secondary students who have like outgrown an elementary style morning meeting. I think this has a lot of application to an elementary classroom. One thing that I found especially powerful Is their discussion of brave spaces versus safe spaces that we can't necessarily guarantee a safe space. So we have to be willing to be brave enough to be vulnerable and share and grow together. And I thought that was a really interesting take on that. And this book also provides three years worth of meeting topics. So if you do happen to teach other grades, this book would be very helpful in helping you run this whole morning conversation routine. That sounds awesome. I'm loving it.

Now we're going to share a little about the books we haven't read yet but plan to read this summer. I'm actually going to be reading The Six Shifts because I've been waiting for Heidi to finish it so I can read it. And you will love it. I'm excited. Heidi, what are you going to be reading this summer? So I've got two of my in my stack. The first is Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics by Peter Liliadol that's what I was thinking. Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics helps teachers implement 14 optimal practices for thinking that create an ideal setting for deep mathematics learning to occur. This book translates 15 years of research into a practical guide on how to move toward a thinking classroom. And I took a conference a couple months ago and I heard this book mentioned several times. And so I thought, well, this really sounds like something I need to know about. So I ordered it and I will let you know how it goes. Maybe it'll be a future extra credit. Guess if it's worth it. And then the second one in my to be read pile is Brain Words, by Jay Richard Gentry and Jean P Willette. Brain Words explains how children's brains develop as they become readers and discover ways you can take concrete steps to promote this critical developmental passage. With the insights and strategies of brain words, you can meet your students where they are, and ensure that more of them read well think well and write well. I mostly chose this one on the strength of Richard Gentry's name, he did a training at my school like years ago, and getting to watch him working with one of our struggling readers really transformed my school's way of teaching reading. So I'm excited to see what he has to teach in this book, even if it does look a little text heavy, more than I might want in a summer read, but sacrifices must be made.

Now let's talk about this week's teacher approved tip. Each week, we leave you with a small actionable tip that you can apply in your classroom today. This week's teacher approved tip is read nonfiction books on an e reader. If it's a book that you're likely going to want to reference in the future, you can highlight and make notes, anything you want to remember. And then you can export the notes and have an email to yourself as a PDF. So then that is available for any future reference you might need. So I set up a folder in my email to store all of my notes there. And so if I need to reference anything, I can pull up the notes for the specific book I want to reference. And then I can just do a CTRL F, to find whatever I'm looking for in the PDF. And that has, they just saved me so much time and so many headaches. And it's nice when I'm reading a book to be like, Oh, I'm going to need to remember this at such and such time. Or maybe it'll be a good podcast episode or something. So I can make sure note all that and then it's easy to reference when they need it. When you told me this idea the other day like blew my mind. Thank you have to start it. I'm so smart. And if you do any professional development reading over the summer, maybe that will be handy for you too.

To wrap up the show, we're sharing what we're giving extra credit to this week. Heidi, what are you giving extra credit to this week? Well, let's get in a time machine and go back like 12 years I am giving extra credit to Where'd You Go Bernadette? My neighborhood book club just read it. I've have always meant to get around to it. Because I've heard it's good. And it really was good. I loved it. And I read it so long ago, I can barely remember it. It was so well done and just kept me guessing the whole time. So A + if you want a non professional development book to read, I really liked that one. How about you Emily? What's your extra credit? Well, if you're trying to reading, I'm giving extra credit to the floor is lava, which is a silly game show on Netflix. I think the first season came out in 2020. That sounds and season two just came out on the show teams of three compete to get all the members of their team across a room where the floor is lava. And all of the rooms are themed like the garage or you know the kitchen or thing you know, in a house. And it just feels nostalgic since we all remember playing that game as kids jumping from couch to coffee table when the floor is lava. And it's just really light hearted and fun. And I find it's nice to have a show that my kids all enjoy watching. And that doesn't drag me completely crazy. It's really hard to check both of those boxes, especially as my kids are getting older in different stages. This is one that they actually still all like. And even if you have never watched the show, you've probably lived it with students who have watched the show and go play mat. So true.

More About Teacher Approved:

Do you ever feel like there’s just not enough time in the day to be the kind of teacher you really want to be? The Teacher Approved podcast is here to help you learn how to elevate what matters and simplify the rest. Join co-hosts Emily and Heidi of Second Story Window each week as they share research-based and teacher-approved strategies you can count on to make your teaching more efficient and effective than ever before.