I love my PLN for all the great ideas that are shared. Over the last few years I have taken and used, to some degree, the following practices members of my PLN have shared: TouchCast video; Smore for school newsletters and staff bulletins; coding and programming resources I use with students; reflecting and sharing by blogging; using Buncee and Flipgrid as presentation and feedback tools; and EdCamp style professional development for my staff.
Another idea I borrowed from a member of my PLN (and I’m sorry I don’t remember who because I’d love to give them credit) is the practice of reading a different book each month to classes. This past year I read a different book during September, October, November, January, February, March, and April. I skipped December because I taught Hour of Code lessons to classes that month and May was so packed with other events and activities that it was hard to schedule myself to read to classes.
I selected some of the books from my personal collection and I reached out to my PLN for other ideas. During the year I read “Going Places,” “The Butter Battle Book,” “Gaston,” “Last Stop On Market Street,” “What Do You Do With An Idea?,” “What If The Shark Wears Tennis Shoes?,” and “Beekle.”
In order to make myself available to 24 PreK-6th grade classes, I scheduled four two-hour blocks into my calendar each month, two morning and two afternoon sessions. Then, I created a Google Spreadsheet indicating the dates and times, sent that to teachers, and had them sign up for a 15 minute slot.
I found that 15 minutes was the right amount of time. Sometimes the story didn’t take that long, but the month I read “The Butter Battle Book”, I had to read at a quick pace to finish in 15 minutes. But that was fun, reading quickly in the writing style of Dr. Seuss.
I’ll be continuing reading to classes next year trying not to miss any month. I have already started to collect books I plan to read next year as suggested by members of my PLN. Those books are in the photo above.
Principals, join me in reading to your classes. I had fun, it’s great modeling, you get to share your love of reading, and students enjoyed it. My 6th graders were just as focused and engaged in the stories as the PreK students and kindergartners were.
Another practice I started last year that I need to be more consistent with is sharing and reading books to my staff. At our staff meetings I shared some of the books I planned to read to students. I did this to be a role model for literacy and share great stories with all licensed staff members, not just the teachers listening to me read in their classrooms.
If you have a great book idea for my monthly story for students or to read to my staff, please share those with me on Twitter @PrincipalFrench. Thank you!