I usually wake up before the sun and everyone else in my household which allows me to catch up on what’s happened since I laid my head down for the night. The early morning is the time when my kitchen smells of freshly brewed coffee sometimes hazelnut or vanilla biscotti and the sounds of my laptop booting up for another journey into the land of unseen connections. With the renewed faith that someone out there cares I have created several outlets with which to share the information that I am inundated with during these first of the day outings.
Today’s outing brought a video from TeachingChannel.org about text complexity and a Blog featuring resources for those who have English Language Learners in their classrooms sent to us through Desa Dawson, Director of International Languages at the Oklahoma SDE. You can find the video on our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/PanhandleReac3hOut and the Blog link is on the forum http://panhandlereac3h.proboards.com/index.cgi.
The video on text complexity is a great extension to the elementary presentation made at the Tri-county teachers meeting on January 21st in Guymon. It was mentioned several times that teachers should teach to the high during instruction in order to make sure all students were experiencing complex text. Sarah at the Teaching Channel goes in-depth with the concept of text complexity and reminded me that even instructional text should be scaffolded in some way to better enable students to take better hold of taught concepts.
In watching this video I am reminded too of a thought I had while going through the evaluations from Monday’s presentation to panhandle teachers. Many responses suggested that professional development time would be better spent in collaboration with peers. I totally agree but would like those who suggested this to think about the learning aspect of being a teacher. Yes, it is great to share ideas and resources but is that sharing productive when you do not have anything new to offer or consider? Without the introduction of new ideas and resources then our conversation becomes less productive and more cyclical. As teachers it is our duty to also allow ourselves a healthy balance of the old with the new. We should consider constantly the new thought and research behind teaching and weigh those new thoughts against the old tried and true practices that we have relied upon throughout our careers. Professional development is just that development of your being a professional as a teacher. It is not an attempt to be critical of those practices that have gotten you to where you are now but a invigoration of knowledge that either causes you to be more steadfast in your current practices or allows you to reconsider and revamp what may not be working. Maybe you didn’t even realize that it wasn’t working and the new knowledge allowed you to see common practices through a new light. A wise person once shared the fact that many never know to ask a question because they didn’t even have the understanding that there was a question to be asked. It’s the extension of knowledge that allows for questioning.