I just don't know what we did without the Internet years ago. There is so much information available to us all now, right at our fingertips (literally!) that we need a guidebook in order to sift through it all.
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Today's blog will be longer, as it is also introducing you to the various parts of our online "PD." Check back frequently, as we will be posting new information regularly.
Tip of the Week: Action Planning for 2011-12
As Northside Consulting staff members are working with schools this week, we are finding many are wrapping up this school year and beginning to set their sights on next year. Part of healthy team function is time built in for "process checks" and celebrations. If your team is finishing up data for the year and wondering how to best use your team time as the years winds to a close, consider this protocol for team reflection and action planning. For more information on professional development to help your team plan strategically, see our team training opportunities.
Here are some other links you might find useful:
1. Getting the Most Out of Field Trips
The end of the year often spells "road trip" for classroom teachers. How do we get the most instructional impact from these excursions? Check out our Beardsley Zoo article
, to see how one field trip can be connected to high-quality instruction in all content areas.
2. Bringing the Classroom Outdoors
Maybe your school isn't air-conditioned. Maybe your students are gazing longingly at the greenery, and ignoring your lively SmartBoard presentation. Maybe you, yourself, are distracted by the birds and having a hard time getting into your read-aloud. Take the class outside! Just 5 minutes of nature study can yield hours of follow-up learning, and build the inquiry skills that we want to cultivate in our learners.
3. Where Math, Art and Nature Collide: Fractals
I remember the routine: you get the email from the administrator with the checklist for preparing your classroom for the summer, including taking down things from the walls. Chances are, you are already quietly putting away the things that the humidity is causing to "pop' off the bulletin board. What to do with those bare walls and the last weeks of school to keep kids engaged?
Consider a unit on fractals, those repeating patterns that are seen in nature. Fill the bulletin boards with photographs from magazines, or (better yet) take the digital camera outside and photograph beautiful, natural objects, and lead the students through some of the explorations of "Fractals in Nature: Geometry Meets Nature Study
4. Nature Study and "Notebooking"
Take your writing class outside for a living "story starter." A five-minute nature study can spark even the most reluctant writers, and can help students practice elaboration by keeping their focus small and detail-oriented. Follow our nature blog, "A Child's Garden," for tips on things you might be able to study outside right now. Also check out "Handbook of Nature Study" for more discussion on "notebooking" as a writing form, and for many, many activities and downloadable journal pages that will spark your students' artistic, scientific and journalistic skills!