Summer PD Series: Understanding Students

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My new role working at the district level across multiple schools gives me ample opportunity to create and lead summer professional development (PD) sessions. The Summer PD Series is exactly what it sounds like–I will share my PD sessions here. The hope is this will help me reflect on my sessions and their potential impact.

In today’s post I will take you through the first professional development session I led this summer in my new role which was simply called Understanding Students. Really, the purpose of the session is to inspire empathy and care in the classroom, driven from the teacher. It’s about how to authentically build relationships with students. Continue reading

GCTE Reflection: Being Named Teacher of the Year

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What a weekend! I have been an active member of the Georgia Council of Teachers of English (GCTE) since I was a preservice teacher over twelve years ago, and I have always enjoyed the annual conference the years I have been able to attend. Really, my doctoral pursuits really plugged me back into the organization as well as the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). I have presented at both conferences several times in the last five years, but this year was particularly special and was by far my favorite GCTE conference. Continue reading

GCTE Preview: See You in Athens!

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The Georgia Council of Teachers of English (GCTE) conference in Athens, GA is in just a few short weeks, and this year feels particularly special since I have so many of my colleagues presenting this year too. I cannot entirely pinpoint why I wanted to ensure more of the ELA teachers at my school presented this year, but I know part of the inspiration came from the stellar work they were doing. I have always, no matter the setting, worked with phenomenal ELA teachers. My current school is no exception, so when the time came, I sent an email encouraging several of my compatriots to submit a proposal. Thankfully, most all accepted the challenge, submitted a proposal, and were accepted! In today’s post, I will preview many of the presentations/workshops my colleagues and I will be showing on the weekend of February 9 and 10 as well as why you should check them out! For anyone interested, it is not too late to go to GCTE this year. Go here for conference information. Continue reading

GCTE Here We Come!: Sharing Innovative Approaches to Teaching ELA

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I realized the other day that I had not posted for nearly a month. While I intended to share my latest attempt at supporting my work-based learning students a few weeks ago, a scheduling conflict caused me to cancel my workshop with them, meaning I have been working with most students one-on-one through their resume-building process. I do intend to have a real update there, but in the meantime, I wanted to share some great news and hopefully drum up some interest of fellow ELA teachers in the state of Georgia.

Last night myself and several of my colleagues found out we were approved to present at this year’s GCTE (Georgia Council of Teachers of English) Conference in Athens, GA on February 9-10!

What makes this particularly special this year is rather than going solo as I have in many years past to present, I invited several of my ELA colleagues to join forces with me to put in multiple proposals that showcase the extraordinary work we do with students on our campus. A sincere goal of mine this year was to bring my school to the foreground of what innovative and best practices look like in the modern high school setting, and I was so thrilled to see my colleagues to accept my invitation. Because of their leap of faith, Lanier High School will have 7 ELA teachers represented in 4 great presentations during the weekend. I do sincerely hope fellow ELA teachers in the state can join us. The topics we’ll be exploring include:

  • “Exiting Through the Gift Shop: Enhancing Non-Fiction Instruction through Banksy, Documentary, and Memoir”
  • “Formative Assessment with Seesaw
  • “Innovating Shakespeare: A Collaborative, Technology-Rich Approach to Introducing the Bard”
  • “Transforming Teaching Through a Blended Classroom”

We hope to see you there!

Care & Empathy Training: Preparing Student Mentors to Work with Reluctant Peers

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Today I had a tremendous opportunity to put some of my research from my doctoral study to use in a whole new setting. A few weeks ago my special education department chair came to me with concerns about her peer mentors struggling to connect with her most at-risk students. (For quick background, my school has an ‘academy’ dedicated to serving our 50 most at-risk students as identified by grades, behavior, attendance and other factors under the special education umbrella.) I immediately jumped at the chance to provide training for these mentors, believing my newfound expertise in care ethics could help enlighten these mentors approach to working with their more reluctant peers.  Continue reading