Sometimes, teaching can bog you down. You love what you do, but sometimes your schedule, the behaviors, the standards… they just wear on you. You keep moving forward, but you feel sluggish. Uninspired. Unmotivated, maybe. If only you could just sit in a lounge chair, put your feet in a pool of cold water, and sip an iced cold glass of lemonade… Starbucks aptly named their pick-me-up, thirst-quenching drinks Refreshers. I can get behind that. Sometimes, you just need a Refresher. Here are my Top Five Teacher Refreshers:
- Twitter: Twitter is the number one FREE professional development resource for educators. Period. If you are not using Twitter to stay current, you should. All it takes is 20 minutes. 20 minutes to scroll through your feed each day and read everything newly awesome and trending. People share the most amazing resources, including links to free worksheets and lesson plans on Twitter too! Scared to try? Start by searching #edchat or #satchat. These are my two favorite chats, and people use these hashtags all day, every day. Take a look at what you see. Like it? Retweet it. Click on a profile. Like what you see? Follow them. I guarantee you this: After a week of scrolling through Twitter, retweeting, and following, you will have built a nice little home feed for yourself. You will learn from others, and better yet? Others will learn from you! Think of how amazing our profession would be if only the really great stuff was shared!
- EdWeb.net: I’m not sure why it took me so long to hear about edWeb, but when I did, it was an a-ha moment. Where have you been all my life? Since then, I have viewed a number of their FREE hour-long webinars on topics such as designing learning spaces and integrating computer science in grades K-5. Some may shy away from signing up for these free professional development opportunities due to the inconvenient times. Not to worry! I have only participated in one live webinar. The rest have been recordings, and I assure, you can get just as much information from the recording as you do from the live feed. In fact, the ability to pause is pretty awesome.
- Pinterest: My friends know that I have a Pinterest Problem. When I was first introduced to Pinterest, I was a maniac. I pinned everything. From first grade worksheets (that I didn’t need) to Christmas crafts (that I would never complete), if it was cute, I pinned it. You never know, right? Well, now I am much more discerning. I usually create a board for each school year, but I also have a collaborative board for our Makerspace and a Leadership board since I am currently in graduate school. It is a terrific visual representation of my goals. And if I don’t have time to investigate deeply right then and there? No problem. It will be there later!
- Teachers Pay Teachers: I know there are some who believe that everything that teachers create should be shared without a fee. And philosophically, I agree. But I also know how hard some teachers work creating amazingly adorable, structurally sound, deep, and meaningful resources. And I don’t mind paying for them! They are usually FREE or pretty inexpensive. Plus, I absolutely love the convenience of searching for a particular topic, clicking “buy with PayPal”, and downloading directly to my computer immediately. A few years ago, TpT added the Follow feature which I also enjoy. I love when my favorite sellers post something new. It gives me a little spark and inspires me to try something new!
- The Library Voice Blog: If I could only follow one, just one, blog, I would follow The Library Voice blog authored by Shannon McClintock Miller. “Shannon is a mom and Eric’s wife. She served as the K-12 district teacher librarian at Van Meter Community School District in Iowa for 8 years. Shannon is now an international speaker and consultant who speaks about education, librarianship, technology, social media, and making a difference in education and the lives of others, especially children.” Her blog posts feature tons of pictures and links, and her advice is both inspiring and practical. She spearheads a number of wonderful, collaborative, international projects that I have participated in. What a way to engage our local students and make the world a little smaller and a little nicer!
I know there are so many other resources out there. Where do you turn when you need a little inspiration?
What are your Top Five Refreshers? I’m looking to take a sip of something new and sweet!