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Relaxation and Reflection

Summer is a time to recharge our batteries, to spend time doing what we find enjoyable and thinking about family, friends, life, and school. For me the most relaxing activity is taking long walks very early in the morning, before the heat and humidity rise and make spending time outdoors difficult. Next, I love to read; during the summer I catch up on professional reading, but I also read mysteries and newspapers. I find that all the time my mind is connecting these experiences to what I learned about teaching from last year's experiences. Mulling over experiences is quite enjoyable. What do you do to relax and reflect on the school year? Please share.
Laura Robb

Attending Professional Conferences

I hope that some of you are able to go to conferences. I just returned from the Lakota View Conference in Ohio and spent three wonderful days with teachers and other speakers. Hearing Ellin Keene, Tim Rasinski, Carl Anderson, and Lester Laminack gave me so much to think about—the importance of oral talk, being an adventurer in school reading, listening and teaching through conferring, and the power of prosody. The spirit of learning and sharing stories was ever-present at the conference. Even if you can get to a conference for just one day, it can make a difference in your teaching. Meeting teachers, sharing stories and experiences, and having fun all contribute to helping us grow and become more thoughtful practitioners.
Please tell us about conferences you attended.
Laura Robb

Professional Learning Communities

I believe that professional learning is most successful at the building level. Each school's culture is different; each school's faculty members are at diverse stages in their teaching journeys. Learning in small groups on self-selected topics is a great way to foster professional growth. The caveat, though, is to meet weekly to discuss reading and share lessons—both those that worked and those that need feedback from supportive colleagues.
What does your school do to foster professional learning? How do you organize study groups? Have you observed positive outcomes for teachers and students?
Laura Robb

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in The Laura Robb Blog are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.