Launch the 2015-2016 School Year with Professional Learning Communities!
Happy new school year, ESSB!
As I shake away the summer cobwebs from my brain, I stumbled across a few neat resources to help refocus and jump into the 2015-2016 school year.
Professional Learning Communities (PLC) are a huge buzz in today’s practice of teaching. Yes…like Doctors and Lawyers, Teachers maintain a professional practice. As such, Teachers need to remain sharp and current in their practice. The days of ‘one-size-fits-all’ PD may be going the way of the dodo bird. Teachers are looking for learning opportunities specific to individual practices. PLCs may be just the thing. PLCs can provide learning to fit your specific classroom realities with your specific clientele, but they can also provide flexibility for when you have the time to learn. The biggest advantage is the autonomy provided to each learner, enabling you to learn at a comfortable pace based on your personal learning style. Sounds a little like what you are trying to provide for your students 🙂
3 PLCs popped out at me this week and I’ll share them with you below. I tried to find something for everyone, so the 3 offerings cover Early Elementary, Special Needs, and Technology for all Teachers.
- Early Elementary
The first is a K-3 Digital Learning Community. Teachers are always asking for early elementary resources for their students, and this PLC could be a great place to start.
“PreK-3 Digital Learning is a free professional learning community (PLC) that hosts webinars and wide-ranging discussions on digital learning in the PreK-3 grades. This community will help you stay connected, share ideas, and get support from colleagues.”
Watch a sample webinar from this community, and consider checking-in on a regular basis.
It’s free and sessions are archived so you can watch them whenever you get the chance, or ignore them if one particular topic is not relevant to your practice.
- Special Needs
This community will be a great support for teaching students with Autism. The sample video provides great tips to help you manage transitions with your students. It could also be a springboard into to other Special Needs Learning Communities.
“Teaching Students with Autism is a professional learning community (PLC) that provides ideas and resources for teachers working with students with autism, particularly advances in technology that can lead to significant breakthroughs in communication and learning. This is a collaborative community where educators can share information to help support the needs of students with autism.”
- Technology for all Teachers
This next resource may not be a PLC by definition, but it certainly provides some food for thought in launching this school year. The content of this Virtual Conference had me a little baffled at first. The idea of Teacher Entrepreneurs was not clear to me. After watching some sessions by an amazing cast of educators, it began to make sense. Just like Teachers and Practice go together, Teachers and Entrepreneurship also go together. The thought leaders in this series talk of their experiences as teachers and how this has led them to embrace the role of an entrepreneur. Branding their product (lessons, resources) and marketing them (blogs, websites) to their consumers (students, parents, educational community). It’s neat to hear the perspectives, and will surely spark some ideas for you this year and beyond. You are likely already a Teacher-Entrepreneur!
Here is the main page to the virtual conference
If you miss the live events, everything is available on youtube. Here is a list of all recordings.