When I came up with my idea for this blog post, my initial thought was, “Haven’t I written something similar before?” So I did a little dive into the archives of “The Progress Report” and found just last year, on February 16th I wrote an article entitled, “PD Overload” where I outlined and provided you some quick “take-aways” from some of the PD I took part in throughout January of 2021, here is a link to the post if you want to check it out.

It must be something about this time of year, where I can’t stop myself from learning and, if I am being honest with myself, start to miss being in the classroom. So I attend PD, stroll through Twitter, and devour professional learning books like it is my only job (Ha, I wish!).  I’ve thought a lot about how I can share this information out with the masses, I could offer workshops, retweet on Twitter (when applicable), curate them into a course for Illinois Online Academy, present at conferences, etc. but I keep coming back here, to this blog, which has recently been referred to as “helpful and actionable” by a reader, which is EXACTLY what it is supposed to be, plus this blog is really a little bit of everything – goes out on socials, can lead to further PD for those interested, and gets posted forever for everyone to see and refer back to! So with no further ado here is what I have been crowdsourcing lately:

I kicked off 2022 by joining the Get Lit(erate) Community created by Stephanie Affinito. At just $5/month I was promised to receive a theme to guide the month’s topics which would (and I quote from Stephanie) “Help you cultivate a life you love one book and one page at a time”.  Let me tell you, just 25 days in and I am not regretting this decision at all! There were so many take-aways for me as I read through my January 2022 ‘Library of Content’, but the one that stuck out to me the most was through Stephanie’s video about “Something to Learn”. Here I learned about creating book stacks, the benefit of having them and even using them to get to know yourself a bit more as a reader!  While Stephanie did a deep dive about book stacks for our Get Lit(erate) community, she also created this quick blog post so that everyone could learn more about book stacks.

BookTo the right you will find my current book stack.

Now that I had a book stack it was time to see what my book stack said about me, (see blue talk bubble.)Thought bubble blue jan 31
I highly encourage you to do this for yourself but also with your students! 
I even went ahead and made you this template you can use with your students so you don’t need to take the time to create it yourself! I hope you enjoy!

Here is a gem I found on Pinterest from Carole Glantzow Zboray that could be a super fun “first project”.  Students create a Google Slide that includes an audio of their full name, a favorite quote, sport, genre to read etc. (these could be swapped out depending on your preference), their picture, and 3-5 fun facts about themselves. Then you can embed a walk-up song for each student (just like they do in baseball before a batter heads to the plate). Talk about a new and fun “get to know you” activity!  Here is my walk-up song, what’s yours? Surfaces – Sunday Best (Official Music Video)

DiceThis next idea came from an @TCEA blog.  In this blog they provide over 7 different ways you can use dice as a unique icebreaker but also for debriefing after any lesson. I read and it not only got my mind thinking of all the fun ways I could use this within an upcoming PD I was facilitating (I love a good icebreaker) but also how it would be used in any class, with any age! Oh did I mention they provide a copy of countless templates you can use? Click here to access yours today!

The last resource comes to you straight from the Twitter world, specifically, @mrs_truckman! Mrs. Truckman took the 5 core SEL competencies: Self-awareness, responsible decision making, self-management, relationship skills, and social awareness and created an activity where you list at least one thing that you CAN control within each competency. I don’t know about you, but this would be great for ALL students and adults to fill out, especially as we are about to hit the 2 year anniversary of the pandemic. Have no fear! In doing my best to keep this “helpful and actionable” I created a template of this activity for you to use immediately! Click here to check it out!

I love learning from others and scrolling through my PLN (professional learning networks) as I crowdsource ideas and resources, so here is a challenge to all you faithful readers – PLEASE share with me what you have crowdsourced lately or what new and exciting instructional strategies you are implementing in your classroom! I would love to learn from you and highlight your strategies/learning!  You can email your ideas to me at kalgrim@kaneroe.org, share by adding a comment to this post, or even tag the Kane ROE on socials @KaneCountyROE on socials.

Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning




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