How to Build Your PLN This Summer

June 6, 2017 No Comments

How to Build Your PLN This Summer

June 6, 2017 No Comments

Like most teachers, I am heavily involved in my students and classroom.  I am constantly looking for engaging lessons, rigorous curriculum, the next best behavior system.  Most teachers spend their summers working to add to their mental file cabinet with these types of knowledge.  And while I’ll agree that these activities are important, I’d also be willing to bet that you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck by building your PLN.

Most people in education have heard of a PLC (Professional Learning Community), which is a usually a site-based community of learners with the same or similar goals.  The term PLN, or Professional Learning Network, is a little more elusive.  A PLN is a community of learners that transcends all the barriers you might normally experience while networking.  Your PLN is much broader and might include teachers from your school and district, but also those across the state and across the country.

Why should you grow your PLN?

  1. They are like-minded but offer different perspectives on topics you’re interested in.
  2. They are a system of support.  Got a question?  Ask and your PLN answers.
  3. They are cheerleaders for your work.
  4. They know people you don’t know and can help you make things happen.  The key here is the word network.
  5. They can provide real-time conversation, or slower, on-going conversation. (Think Twitter or Voxer.)
  6. They are passionate and inspiring.
  7. They motivate you.
I could go on forever, really.

I really started building my PLN when I joined Twitter and started using it for educational purposes about 2 years ago.  Since then, my PLN has blossomed.  Here are some tips for building your professional learning network this summer.

Introduce yourself to new people in your building.  If your school is anything like most schools, you stick to your team and similar grade levels.  Kindergarten teachers talking to fifth-grade teachers?  Uh-uh.  Math people mingling with the ELA folks?  Forget it.  The notion that these people have nothing in common with you is ridiculous.  If anything, you share a love for students and a passion for education.  That’s enough.  More than likely, you’ve seen someone in the building that seems like they have it – you know, that thing the students love, even if you’re not sure what it is.  Talk to that person.  Introduce yourself.  Ask them if they want to meet up for lunch or coffee over the summer to talk about how to bridge the gaps in your school or work on a project you might both be interested in.  You can also take this same approach to district professional developments that you attend.  Introduce yourself!

Attend a teacher-led professional development.  It’s not that we don’t like administrators, but we all know that they have a different mindset.  Find a good professional development session that is lead by teachers and is designed for teachers.  An unconference or EdCamp is a great place to start.  If you’ve never heard of an EdCamp, it’s a teacher-led unconference where participants sign up to lead sessions throughout the day.  It is very organic and is based on the idea that there are no experts, only learners.  You can learn more about EdCamps at www.edcamp.org.  If you’re in the Louisville area, check out EdCampJCPS on August 1st at Moore Middle and High School.  If you’re in Kentucky or anywhere near, EdCampKY is August 26th at Bardstown Middle School in Bardstown, Kentucky.

Get on Twitter.  If you do nothing else to build your PLN this summer, at least get on Twitter.  It’s super easy and free to set up an account.  Start following some people in your district, state, and across the nation.  Twitter will also suggest a list of people for you to follow.  You can do a Google search for the best people to follow in your state on Twitter and get lots of ideas that way.  For example, here’s a list of Kentucky educators to follow. Just by following some great people, you’ll get lots of inspiration.  Following hashtags (such as #edchat or #edtech) is another great way to get inspiration, find like-minded folks, and build your PLN.  Let me be one of the first people you follow on Twitter.

Participate in a Twitter Chat.  It’s one thing to follow people on Twitter, but it’s another to interact with them.  This is where you’ll get the most of your Twitter experience, hands down.  Check out the list of education chats here. Try to start with a grade level, content area, state, or district chat.  For example, as a third-grade teacher, I sometimes participate in #3rdChat.  Some of my other favorites are #learnlap, #tlap, #sunchat, #jcpschat, and #kyedchat.  You can start by just following them and gain more courage to participate over time.  My friend Kelsey did an amazing post about how to participate in a Twitter chat!  You can check it out here.

It’s not hard to grow your PLN, but it does take some work!  I hope you’ve got a few ideas about how to get started.  Let me know how it goes!

Take care,

sherylwoods

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About Me

Hi! My name is Sheryl and I am so thankful you've found your way to the TeacherLadyKY blog! I'm an elementary educator from Louisville, Kentucky who is passionate about building relationships and literacy skills with my students. I've taught everything from kindergarten to fifth grade and I can't wait to share my experiences with you! Enjoy! Read More

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  • This week's #bulletjournal setup. Usually, I do a day at a time, but after binge watching see @amandarachlee on YouTube this weekend, I thought I'd set it all up at once. One thing I love about my #bujo is that I can do WHATEVER I want, WHENEVER I want to. 😁
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#bulletjournals #bulletjournaling #bujoweeklyspread  #bujoideas #bujoinspiration #penguins
  • ⭐ D R E A M E R ⭐
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Honestly, there are so many good MLK, Jr. quotes, it was hard to choose just one. Instead of choosing one of his justice-oriented quotes (which are completely relevant at the moment and let's not forget that), I decided to go with this one.
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At the end of the day, all you have is your dreams. Don't let someone else take that you. Know what you want and make it manifest in your life.#besavagenotaverage #thebestisyettocome #teacherladyky .
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#teacherbsn #teacherblogger #teachersofinstagram  #mlkjrday #martinlutherkingjr #martinluutherkingjrquotes #mlkquotes #mondaymotivation #motivationalmonday #motivationalquotes #dreams #dreamers
  • A couple of nights ago, this sweet boy scared the crap out of us. He couldn't stand and, once he did stand, he just lobbed from side to side like he was unable to hold his balance. Then, as suddenly as it started, it was over. Five minutes at the most. .
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It's happened once before, months ago, and the vet who saw him a few hours after it happened said he checked out perfectly healthy. We think it's vertigo, but it happens so suddenly and goes so quickly, that it seems there's nothing we could do to stop it from happening.  I hate that I don't know when it will happen (or if it even will happen again) and I have there's nothing I can do for my sweet boy.
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Also, side note, be thankful that you can't smell through Instagram because this boy needs a BATH.
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  • I'm working on something for the blog that involves these babies. 😍 If you had told me five years ago that I'd be obsessed with dice, I would have laughed in your face. Oh, how things change.  I mean, how can you not be obsessed with something that comes in so many beautiful colors?
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I've spent my morning doing lesson plans and working on some new TPT products. I have housework to do (so much housework to do), but I love a good laid back, productive Saturday morning and I wish every day could be this way.
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What are you doing on this dreary day? And, if you're local, what's your snow prediction? πŸ€”β„οΈπŸ€”β„οΈπŸ€”
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  • You are not here to please someone else.  You are not here to fall into someone else's story, play someone else's sidekick, or help someone else achieve their dreams.  This life is YOUR story and it is your purpose to fulfill YOUR own dreams.
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If your dream is to serve others, then by all means, go do THAT.  But do not put their needs above your own.  If what is happening in your life doesn't align with the goals that you've set forth in your life, it's time to let it (or them) go.  You only purpose to be the best, most authentic version of you.  First, foremost, and always.
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Crow: But, mom, it's windy outside and I'm scared...
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One day, I'm going to be able to stay home and work with him in my lap all day and I can't wait. #BeSavageNotAverage #thebestisyettocome
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I spent the majority of the day attending doctor's appointments and listening to Brendon Burchard's book, "High Performance Habits." Like I've mentioned before, I've been stuck lately and the first part of his book is about finding clarity in your life.
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I NEEDED to hear him tell the story of one of his clients who was great at what she did, but still felt stuck. It's hard not to feel guilty about admitting that what you're doing isn't what you want, especially when you've poured years of work and thousands of dollars to get there. That's where I'm at right now. I feel restless, unfulfilled, and uninspired.
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Let me be clear, I LOVE what I do. I love my job, my students, and my life. But something is off and it's not enough. I've been searching for a long time trying to figure out what it is and I am getting closer.  I AM a teacher, but so much more than that too. I am always learning, always growing, always working on my next great adventure. I hope you are too. #BeSavageNotAverage #thebestisyettocome
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  • What a day, y'all. I was expecting my fifth graders to be tired and dragging, but no such luck.  They met me in full force this morning and we went nonstop to 8:50 to 4:00.
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Honestly, I enjoyed my break and I was ready to delve into the some personal projects, so I dreaded heading back today.  I've got big goals and dreams for the future, but being with my kiddos was exactly what I needed. I love my job and, more importantly, I love my students. Everything that I do for my business is for students, for the ones currently in my classroom and those that may never sit in classroom.  TeacherLadyKY is about making an impact to change the world and it may be small now, but my dreams are big. Believe that. #BeSavageNotAverage #thebestisyettocome
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The TeacherLadyKY blog header and logo were designed by Sheryl, using fonts from A Primary Kind of Life and Brittney Murphy Design.Β  Clip art is courtesy of Irina Bandyk, whose Etsy shop is WatercolorCliparts.Β Β The blog theme used is Emilia by Georgia Lou Studios.

 

 

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