Skip to main content

Reading, Writing, Learning and Connecting This Summer

Coloring by Miranda Affinito
Ah, summer. A time for a slower pace, making memories with the family and renewing and recharging for the year ahead. While I am teaching summer classes at the University, the pace of the busy year is definitely slowing and I am looking forward to reading, writing, learning and connecting with other teachers as we engage in professional learning together. Here are some of the things I hope to engage in and accomplish this summer. If you are engaging in this kind of work this summer too, let’s connect our efforts and energize our work!

Curriculum and Technology Work
As a full-time faculty member in the Literacy Teaching and Learning Department, I teach three graduate classes each semester and each semester, I change the course a bit. I add new readings, re-energize and update course documents and better integrate digital tools into my courses. My goal is to engage my students in course content using technology in the very ways they could do so in their classrooms. This summer, I will be working with VoiceThread, Canva, SeeSaw Learning Journals and Little Bird Tales

Literacy Specialists Collaborative Group Meeting
Last year, I started a series of PD sessions focused on bringing literacy specialists together across my region. Each month, we meet and discuss a topic chosen by the group. Last year, we focused on RTI, literacy interventions, writing and more. This is an amazing group of educators and we have a summer session planned in August to prepare for the year ahead. I hope to spend the summer gathering books, articles, resources and materials to support our work. Our first meeting in October is dedicated to book study on the book ‘The Reading Strategies Book’ by Jennifer Seravello. I cannot wait for this!

There are some amazing educators doing amazing things across the country and this #cyberPD group is one of them! Cathy Mere (the blogger who inspired this post!) has lead this group for a few years now and each summer, the group chooses a book to explore and engage in a virtual book study with. Participants read, blog, share ideas and connect through Google and Twitter. I cannot wait to get started, especially since this year’s book study is on the text ‘Digitial Reading’ by Bass and Sibberson. Join us!

Professional Reading
Oh, the reading! I posted about my professional book stack in an earlier post and I am looking forward to getting started. Honestly, I like the accountability for the reading that the #cyberPD group provides, but I am looking forward to some leisurely reading by the pool as well. In addition to my professional reading, I also have a stack of children’s literature. Mr.Terupt Falls Again and Saving Mr. Terupt are the first on my list! I recently read Because of Mr. Terupt and it hooked me into the series!

Preparing for Upcoming Conferences
Even though summer has just begun, I am so excited about the presentations I have scheduled for the Fall! I will be presenting at Community Education Day at the University at Albany, the NYS Reading Conference, the Online Learning Consortium International Conference and I am an invited keynote speaker at the ROAR Literacy Event for reading coaches/tutors in Albany, NY.

As I write this post, I realize that the slower pace I had hoped for might not actually be that slow…but since everything is important, supports my work and truly matters to me, I know it will not seem like work. It will be authentic learning that allows me to connect with others and continue to develop as an educator. What are you engaging in this summer?



  1. Stephanie,
    I wish I lived closer so I could join you as you gather with literacy leaders to learn. I am guessing there is much questioned and discovered in these gatherings. You have quite a busy summer of learning ahead. Like you, I understand the joy in having time for self-selected learning and growing professionally. The lines sometimes blur between our personal and educational selves. I am looking forward to learning with you during these "quiet" and "relaxing" days of summer.

    Thanks for sharing your plan and for the mention. You know it is this amazing community that pushes me (us) forward.


    1. Thank you, Cathy! I do wish you lived closer as well. Your work is inspiring. I honestly do not know how you fit all you do into a single day! I am trying to build some good habits this summer to sustain my work ahead. See you online!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

An Instructional Coaching Toolkit!

I have a thing for notebooks. And colorful markers. And sticky notes. I use them in all aspects of my literacy teaching and coaching. During coaching conversations, I often find myself providing on-the-spot demonstrations with these tools. I might engage teachers in a brief lesson on phonemic awareness and ask them to sort sounds. I might walk teachers through word building activities so they experience a new way of engaging students. I might introduce books to teachers to model how they might do the same for their students. I might even create game boards on sticky notes as visuals for teachers to support instructional planning. These demonstrations and notes act as instant and tangible tools to further teacher learning.
Over the years, I’ve compiled these artifacts to create coaching toolkits for the teachers I work with. My toolkit for ‘word work’ might include a picture of an anchor chart created with students, a list of words appropriate to the alphabetic feature students are wor…

Focus on Coaching Cycles

At this point in the school year, many of us are deep into our classroom coaching and engaging in coaching cycles with teachers. Just as coaching can look unique from building to building, our coaching cycles are often unique to our coaching context, our purpose for partnering and the goals and needs of each individual teacher: 1:1 coaching cycles, small group coaching cycles, student-centered coaching cycles and more. Each cycle typically has a pre-coaching conversation, classroom coaching/co-teaching/observation and then follow-up conversations as well.You can find theforms and templates I tend to use for classroom coaching here.
For me, my coaching cycles right now are in the context of my graduate education courses. Each week, I engage in a single coaching cycle with each of my students: lesson planning, observing lessons and coaching conversations. We repeat this for ten weeks of the course and the focus of our cycles shift and change over time. We also meet for small-group coac…

Leading By Learning

This summer, I vowed to be intentional in how I spent my time so that when the new school year arrived, I would feel refreshed and renewed. Admittedly, the summer seemed to fly by, but I did carve out time for my own professional learning. I read every day, I wrote in my notebook (almost) daily, tried my hand at gardening, spent time with my kids and just tried to get better at being me. Some days, I killed it. And other days, well….you know. So, as I head into another school year, I know that I need to be incredibly intentional in how I spend my time and ensure that I focus on my own learning as an educator. It is this learning that fuels my work: it lifts my reading spirits, fuels my writing heart and reminds me that leading the learning of others requires that I remain a continual learner myself.
It is this core belief that drives my teaching, coaching and leading this year. I am even more committed to my own professional learning to fuel my work and lead by example. I have purpose…