I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and find yourself well rested and ready for the next 4 weeks.  I remember the weeks leading up to winter break as a teacher and administrator.  It was the second longest month for me in every role mentioned above (with the month prior to the end of the year being the longest).  In each role I was exhausted and yet excited at the same time!

It is important this time of year to take time to do things that you enjoy both personally and professionally, a time to rejuvenate and inspire for the year to come.

Friday afternoon I found myself reading the “Tip of the Week” from “The 2 Sisters” (Gail Boushey & Joan Moser). This article, written by Allison Behne entitled: “Second Helpings”, discussed leftovers from Thanksgiving and how most of us save food to bring back for more helpings later on, and often the food is better the second time.  It then went on to discuss the idea of enjoying a second helping in our professional lives…ways we can revisit a favorite resource, lesson, read-aloud, etc. from the past as “teaching leftovers shouldn’t go to waste either.” (Behne, Nov. 2017)

This made me reflect a bit about what professional learning experience would I like to revisit as a professional leftover???

Then, two days later I find “2 Ways to Brighten Your Day” by George Couros in my inbox.  In this article he talks about how he gets excited finding new blog posts to read and subscribe to.  

After reading these two articles I was inspired to write this week’s Progress Report!  Below you will find some of my favorite blog posts that have inspired me, changed my thinking, challenged my practices from the past.  I hope that these personal “leftovers” maybe new to you or perhaps be a leftover of yours that you can revisit to re-energize and excite you not just to survive the next 4 weeks, but also to to inspire you for the new year!

1. Cool Cat Teacher Podcast

I love these short 10min. Podcasts! Who doesn’t have 10 min. a day to reflect, re-energize, inspire, and provoke change? There are daily themes you will find with these segments:

  • Motivational Mondays – get motivated
  • EdTech Tool Tuesdays – practical edtech tools
  • Wonderful Classroom Wednesdays – meet teachers doing amazing things
  • Thought Leader Thursdays – hear from top researchers and authors to think about your teaching
  • 5-Idea Fridays – 5 practical ideas teachers can use now

Here is a Podcast from February 13, 2017:  A Song for Teachers:  You’re The Teacher by Jim Forde.  This Motivational Monday post is an inspirational song for teachers, we all need a little inspiration to make it through the “Dog Days of Winter”.  I hope you enjoy!

2. Eric Sheninger Blog

I started following Eric Sheninger last February when I saw him present at the ICE Conference (Illinois Computing Educators) and heard about his new book, “Learning Transformed”.  His posts generally leave me thinking about my educational beliefs and practices.  His post on August 6, 2017 really resonated with me, entitled, “Avoiding Initiative Overload”...who in education hasn’t felt initiative overload and one point or another.  This is a great post to remind us we aren’t alone in feeling overloaded and also provides context as to why many initiatives are problematic from the start and don’t lead to transformational change.  

3. The Innovative Educator

I was introduced to the “The Innovative Educator” by a dear friend and colleague when I took my role as Director of Innovative Professional Learning here at Kane County’s Regional Office of Education.  Lisa Nielsen is the author of the blog and writes to share ideas to help the perspective that education is boring and irrelevant.  I was drawn to the post on February 26, 2017, “5 Tips to Getting Started with ePortfolios”.  I started having students create their own digital portfolios almost 7 years ago with my third graders, I started using OneNote then moved onto eBackpack.  It was a great post to read as I reflected on my practices incorporating ePortfolios with students while staying current on some benefits and ways to the same ideas 7 years later!

While there are countless blogs available today (mine included), I encourage you to find your “professional learning leftovers” and revisit them over the next few weeks to stay grounded and energized. Bon Appetit!!!

Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning

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