If there’s one thing I consistently hear from teachers about professional development, it’s that choosing your own PD is the way to go. Required trainings are often held at an inconvenient time and cover topics that don't seem relevant to your job. You can feel like you’re there just to check an attendance box. On the contrary, we believe that you know best what you and your students need. You know your subject matter. You know your state standards. And you know your strengths and the challenges you face. We also believe that if there are new strategies, free instructional resources or engaging opportunities to learn from your peers, you’ll be there.
Since 2012, Share My Lesson has offered more than 700 webinars to more than 250,000 educators. And many of them are available on demand and for credit. But a library of several hundred webinars is overwhelming for me to think about (and I’ve been a part of the team promoting them all). So, if you’re looking to narrow your search for this new school year and beyond, here are some of our SML members’ favorites for your consideration.
Reading Opens the World
Supporting AFT’s landmark initiative, Reading Opens the World, we hosted 12 popular webinars focused on the nuts and bolts of literacy instruction for all grade levels. If you haven’t tried this series yet, Literacy in the Content Areas was a standout during this year’s SML Virtual Conference. Three are focused on supporting English language learners via scaffolding, individualized instruction and academic language. The 2021-22 series wrapped with three webinars hosted by a team led by Stanford University professor Anne Charity Hudley, including this favorite: Crafting Linguistic Autobiographies to Build Cultural Knowledge. Good news: We will be offering more Reading Opens the World webinars starting next month.
We believe that you know best what you and your students need. You know your subject matter. You know your state standards. And you know your strengths and the challenges you face.
Prioritizing Mental Health and Well-Being
I believe the mental health and well-being of students is only one side of the coin; the wellness and self-care of teachers and school staff is the other side. As Robert Ingersoll says, “We rise by lifting others.” Helping students navigate emotional and physical challenges is equally important to helping ourselves cope with grief and stress and become more mindful. To find joy in our lives, despite the ups and downs, we must prioritize our collective wellness. So if you insist on putting your students first, try this new session on Mental Health in the Classroom from Young Minds Inspired and On Our Sleeves, as well as this powerful session on Preventing Teen Suicide and Promoting Mental Wellness Through Animation from My Life Is Worth Living. But then, you must promise me, you will also check out our mindfulness series for educators with wellness coach Catherine Zack as well as The 5 Adult SEL Muscles That Will Make Your Life Easier.
Helping students navigate emotional and physical challenges is equally important to helping ourselves cope with grief and stress and become more mindful.
Centering Student Voices
Our students are “our” kids. The emotional connection so many teachers and school staff feel toward the young people entrusted in our care can run deep. And fostering students’ growth—academically, emotionally, physically—on their path to adulthood is a job that involves modeling the behaviors we want them to experience. Several of our most popular webinars this year focused on supporting and developing our students’ voices via their personal stories, individual expression, connections with one another and exploring their aspirational selves. I’d be remiss not to highlight a few of these webinars to help centering ourselves and our humanity in this new school year:
- Bring Back Joy: Deep Learning Strategies to Inspire All Readers and YOU with the Folger Shakespeare Library
- Building Community to Center Student Voice with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
- Centering Student Voices Through Storytelling with Stacy Vocasek
- Elevating Educator Voices on Teaching Truth About Racism with a panel co-hosted by the Education Civil Rights Alliance that includes Georgia’s 2014 Teacher of the Year and Minnesota’s 2016 Teacher of the Year
- Storytelling and Culturally Responsive Literacy Practices for and About Native American Students with the National Indian Education Association
- Using Stories to Explore Persistence, Resilience, Voice and Allyship with Students with Girl Rising
I could keep going—I have so many more favorite sessions that span the curriculum, including social emotional learning and teaching tough topics. Definitely check out our on-demand library from the 2022 Virtual Conference and the 2022 Summer of Learning. And, if you have suggestions on other topics we can cover, share them in the comments below.