March seems to have blown in like a lamb pretty much all over the country! I know that many of you enjoy the cooler weather of winter, but I love hot weather! I'm always so excited to see spring on the horizon, because I know that summer is just around the corner.
I would like to send a special "shout-out" to my colleagues at Casa Grande Middle School. I concluded my work with the faculty there in February. We've been exploring instructional methods for differentiating instruction throughout the school year. I had such a blast working with such energetic, dedicated professionals!
I also was able to attend some wonderful professional development myself in February. Specifically, I attended (and presented at) the Wisconsin State Reading Association Conference in Milwaukee and the West Coast Kagan Academy in Las Vegas. I met so many wonderful people and learned so many exciting instructional strategies.
People with whom I work frequently ask me for recommendations on professional resources to enhance their professional development work with other educators. While I am constantly reading blogs, websites, journals, and professional books to refine and expand my abilities as a professional development provider (as well as attending as much professional development as I can!), I want to personally recommend Sharon L. Bowman's work. While she tends to focus on training in the corporate world, her research and writings are extremely applicable to any group of adults, including educators (I know we are a special, unique breed!). For some quick ideas to make any professional development that you might be leading more engaging for your adult learners, check out her wonderful book The Ten-Minute Trainer: 150 Ways to Teach It Quick & Make It Stick! Another great page-turner is her book Training from the BACK of the Room! 65 Ways to Step Aside and Let Them Learn. I also recommend her latest book (I believe it's her latest, although she is so filled with brilliant ideas, she may have another one that I'm not aware of), Using Brain Science to Make Training Stick. This is the book that my presentation at the National Title I Conference in Seattle was focused around. I have to admit that I have only read excerpts of the book at this point. However, it is at the top of my agenda for this weekend to study closely the entire book and internalize as much as I can. I'm sure I'll be referring back to it for ideas for many years, as I have her other resources. I've never had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Bowman or hearing her speak. I can only imagine how amazing she must be! I have had the honor of communicating with her via e-mail, though, and I'll let you in on a little secret -- she is one of the kindest, most respectful people I've ever communicated with. I hope I get the chance to hear her in person one day soon!
Take care everyone, and try to get some extra rest as most of the country turns their clocks ahead!