I’ve always taken pride in using my summer vacation to learn and improve as an educator. The summer of 2016 may have been my favorite year doing so. Here are a few things I experienced, and what I bring back to my classroom as a result.
National History Day // Tommy became Lakeview’s first NHD finalist back in May, and we spent a week in June traveling to DC and the University of Maryland. While celebratory in nature, I was able to meet some talented educators and was immersed in a culture of student enthusiasm for history. The contacts I made have already begun to bring great ideas back to my classroom and reinvigorated my excitement for teaching student research.
Back to School // I began taking courses in January toward my second Master’s degree, one in school leadership (Concordia University). This degree has already been more difficult than my first degree (Reading Specialist) and has forced me to evaluate my own instructional practices. I’m excited to teach with a fresh perspective of what is effective, not to mention bring some new tools to student learning that come through this process.
NHD Website Course // Building websites has always been a challenge during History Fair. I began taking a course this summer which puts me in the student’s position, researching and building a website as students do in my classroom. It’s always nice to live an assignment through the role of a student as I imagine ways to improve that experience.
Teacher Advisory Committee // The Leadership of the Chicago Metro History Fair has kindly included me in this leadership committee. While I have input regarding the History Fair contests, the friendships I’ve made with some of Chicagoland’s best educators has been exciting. We also took an afternoon to travel to UIC’s Daley Library to explore their special collections and conduct some research ourselves.
Googlepalooza // This is an in-house conference for CPS teachers that I was lucky enough to sneak into! Googlepalooza was two days of hands-on exploration of GAFE (Google Apps for Education) and working with teachers who have used GAFE to streamline assessing and learning in their classroom. Again, a treasure trove of information to improve how I teach student historians at Lakeview.