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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My ESL Summer

I've been in education since 2002 (in various roles, at various organizations), and I am amazed at all I have learned and how the work has changed and how I have changed. The way I try to teach and how I think about teaching changes on a nearly daily basis. 

I think that teaching is a study in how people are different that I am. I'm constantly comparing the way I figure things out and the way others learn. I find these differences delightful!  Every year, I think I become more patient, more kind, and more empathetic to my students and the people I work with. My favorite aspect of this career is that I can get better, every year, every day, every class period.  2002 me wouldn't recognize 2015 me.  

This has been a summer of great growth so far. I'm teaching an ESL Summer Reading Enrichment program eight hours a week, and it's been a joy for me. I have anything from two to five students with me (from China, Brazil, and Ethiopia), and these students are in ESL 3 or ESL 4 (finishing up our program). My discomfort at not knowing exactly what to do has pushed me to be flexible and go with the flow, and it's fun!  It's been great to stumble through conversations and figure out what works best.  No grades, no stress. Just learning and conversation. Just reading and asking questions. I really want to observe some more ESL classes next year. It's fascinating work, and I think I could learn a lot from the people who do it every day!    

I'm also taking an online class titled Engaging Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students and Families in Secondary Schools with the PD group Primary Source. It's been great to learn about this topic that applies so much to what we do. I can think of so many things we do well in our district and so much we can do to improve. What a blessing to be so diverse and learn from so many different people!

Also busy planning EdCamp Malden in October: Trying to advertise the event and get prizes. Hopefully it will be a good day of learning!

August is about AP PD week and two days each of co-teaching PD and Google 1:1 PD.  

Don't worry--I'm having fun too.  Going to the movies during the day, sleeping in, seeing friends and family. 

Hope everyone out there is loving summer too!  

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Summer Reading List

Hi, all.  Someone recently said to me, "don't you have a blog?" And I was like, "I swear I'll update it.  Back off!"

The school year completely consumed me this year, so I didn't really blog BUT I'M BACK!

By the way, my cat looks like that but he rarely gets that formal.

While on the topic of blogging . . . I had my students blog about The Great Gatsby this spring.  Check them out at this link!  We used blogger, and it worked well.

We've been out of school for a little over a week, and now I'm starting to plan my summer work.  I recently went to the first annual Massachusetts Disciplinary Literacy Unconference, which was awesome.  Follow our learning at #madluc.

I'm teaching an ESL Summer Reading Enrichment class at my school in July, which should be awesome.  I'm taking an online class titled Engaging Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students and Families in Secondary Schools (perfect topic for me--I need help!).  I'm also doing a week of AP Language PD (scores from the 2015 exam come out tomorrow!) and two days each of co-teaching PD and Google 1:1 PD.  I'm going to be so full of new ideas in the fall (we go back August 31).

Also planning EdCamp Malden for October 17, 2015!  Get your tickets here!

I'm also reading a lot this summer.  Here are the highlights:

Make it Stick is about how the brain learns for the long term (so far, it looks like a lot of mini-quizzes are in order!).

Teach Like a Pirate has been on my list for a long time.  Lots of EdCampers are big fans!  I'll be discussing it online at #tlapsummer at the end of this month.

I'm rereading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks for AP Language.

Ditto with Bird by Bird.

I'm using The Power of Habit for my senior reading selection.

For fun right now, I'm reading How to Build a Girl by one of my favorite writers, Caitlin Moran.

I'm also trying to formulate my SMARTGoals for EdEval for next year.  I have so many ideas on improvements to my work, but I need to make them measurable . . .

What are you reading over vacation?  Hope it's a great one!  I hope to get some more entries on the blog before school starts.  If you've got anything cool to share with me, do it at or @abbeydick.