The Summer Lifelong Learning List

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I believe in lifelong learning as a goal. Sure, since I teach, I talk to students about becoming lifelong learners and that seems like the right thing to do, but I don’t do it because it’s the right thing to do, I do it because I believe in it. As a result I don’t believe in summer homework assignments or summer reading. I do believe that kids should read in the summer and I do hope that they flex their mental muscles with ideas, but schools shouldn’t be the ones to assign it. Summer is a good chunk of time to test the chops of lifelong learning.

For me, every summer is a chance for me to explore. I walk into the time off with a list of things I want to do, ways I want to expand my knowledge. Sometimes it’s curriculum driven and sometimes it isn’t. Take last summer, for example. I was staring down the exciting beginning of a 1:1 iPad program and the potential for me to get a Smartboard in my classroom. I focused my summer on technology by playing with ShowMe and Khan Academy, attending a workshop on using Smartboards in math classes, and became very familiar with the ways I could use the iPad. All of those activities were full of learning experiences, but I never allow my summer of learning to be limited to “school stuff.” For the past several summers it has been a goal of mine to become a better cook and expand my cooking horizons and skills. On the technology front I further explored Twitter as a tool for marketing and found that I could use it as a way to bring me information I never knew existed. My love of music and my former life as a college radio dj challenged me to explore podcasts and create a thirty minute radio show to get a better understanding of how they work. Every summer I learn so much to continue to grow as a person and to live the thing I believe.

This summer started early for me, as I began my paternity leave last week. My summer list is a little different this year. At the top of the list is to spend time getting to know my young son and create a bond with him that will serve the both of us well for the future. I want to develop better habits for buying food in order to spend less and waste less. I want to continue to explore the best uses of technology in the classroom as well well as expand my knowledge and experience with what’s out there. This blog is a learning experience for me, as I find a way to use my voice to interact with educators who happen to read these posts. I challenge you to make a summer lifelong learning list and make progress on it every day. You may find out things that you never knew, and that makes it a worthwhile activity.

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