Things have been quiet here at Ye Olde Blog the past few days. I've been swamped with work and other issues that are taking up a great deal of time and energy. Lots of blogging material, and very little headspace. Radio silence may continue a bit over the weekend.
I was notified this week that I was selected to present at our state's "Summer Institute." I proposed a session on standards-based grading and motivation and made the cut. Looking at the list of presenters and sessions, I feel honored to be included. I have a couple more conference proposals floating around---both for national level gigs. I don't expect to be invited to either, but I am definitely of a mind that "If you you don't ask, you don't get." As I think about starting up a small consultancy business, I know that I need to get out there and show a bit of what I can do.
I'm pretty darned good in the classroom. Seventeen years of opportunities have honed my skills. I feel like I know what I'm doing (and what I should be doing) and can put together a dynamic learning environment for kids. But what I've learned about myself in the last few years is that I'm really good at working with teachers. I feel like this is an art form in its own right, because we are not easy people to deal with in groups. I know how to read the crowd...I know when to push and when to let them range a bit with ideas. I can make adult learning meaningful, not insulting. I can get teachers energized and happy that they came to a professional development session. And what's more is simply that I really enjoy doing this kind of work. We'll see where it all leads.
I'm going to spend some of my Memorial Day holiday getting my plan together. I won't present until the end of July, but if I want my handouts copied for free and brought to the conference for me, I only have two weeks to put them together. I'm thinking about ways to include web 2.0 tools within my presentation. They won't be the focus, of course, but considering that we have internet access and many will have laptops, why not make this workshop something which can live on through a wiki or GoogleDocs? Part of my proposal is to have participants create or adapt grading tools to make them more standards-based. How cool would it be to be able to upload items at that time so that everyone could access them later?
I asked for a 3-hour block of time. I know from my experience presenting at WERA this spring that 75 minutes is barely enough time to have the background conversations. I couldn't imagine doing a workshop in 90 minutes (which was another option). We all need some time to think and more intensive opportunities. But it does mean a significant investment of planning time on my part. My first Boss Lady used to remind us that highly effective professional development requires an 8-to-1 ratio of planning-to-execution. So, at least 24 hours of preparation on my part will be involved.
Guess I'd better get to work.