Last week I began the process of building my PLN and then promptly got pulled back into “real life” with all the activity of the last week of school. I feel torn between focusing on the now and thinking about all the things I want to do next year including how I will approach my own learning this summer. This time dilemma is two-fold as I have always struggled with being in the moment vs. future thoughts and while it should be easier in the summer, finding time to work on my PLN alongside my class planning and family life is one of my big challenges these days. I enjoyed reading Sarah Poling’s post about making time and I feel that so far my journey has followed a similar path to Sarah’s. A few things that stood out to me from her post were:
15 minutes: I am a big fan of the 15 min. technique. I actually first learned about this concept from The FlyLady who uses this approach to help people develop routines and habits for maintaining the organization and cleanliness of their homes. (Her scope is broader than housecleaning but I haven’t explored much more personally.) Doing something for 15 minutes works very well for me and I enjoy looking at my days in small increments of time. Often I am surprised because some tasks which seem time consuming are magically done in less than 15 min. and at other times, when I am not feeling so motivated, I find that giving myself permission to stop after 15 minutes is the push I needed to just get the work done. My PLN 15 minutes (or more) seem to be happening mostly in the evenings after the kids are in bed but next year I’d like to fit it in to my midday break at school.
Focus using own learning styles and preferences: I want to try it all – read every website, test every app, watch every video, participate in every challenge – but this often results in a quick crash and burn for me. I appreciate her tip to take it slow, choose some goals, and approach my learning with my own learning styles and preferences in mind. So far, I’ve really enjoyed Twitter and the live chats on Twitter. (#elemchat #eltchat) I’ve decided I’d really like to focus my learning on using blogs and other tech tools in my classes next year, specifically with my 9 to 10 year olds so, I’ve started following a few blogs that seem to be oriented towards this type of learning with this age group. Thanks to Sheri Edwards, I’ve started saving bookmarks with Diigo and I really appreciate how quick and easy it is to use. The next step for me is to write down some of my goals for the summer (testing out different websites, collecting lesson ideas, developing my own skills, etc.) and laying out a game plan.
Don’t force it: I think this might become a mantra for me! It is summer after all and I have two adorable children, lots of adventures planned here and there, plus my other interests such as running that require my energy and attention too. It is too easy for me to get absorbed in “the media cloud” and I need to remind myself to step back. I do have goals and a time frame in mind but it doesn’t all have to be done by next week or even the end of the summer.
As I said above, the next step for me is real goal development for the following few months and the upcoming school year including a loose timeframe of how I want to meet these goals but first I’m off to pack up my classroom for the summer!
Do you have goals and a game plan for the next few months? How do you organize your time on a daily or longer term basis?
Also, I’d love to know how you keep track of blogs. Do you use Google Reader or something similar? How do you stay alert to new posts?