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In this episode, we are talking all about our summer plans. We are going to share what we hope to accomplish, books we hope to read, and how we plan to relax.

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Bitmoji of Katie and Rachel sitting in beach loungers, smiling and closing their eyes as they relax on a hot, sunny beach

Show Notes

This week, we are going to be chatting about our summer plans: what we are reading, what we might be learning, and how are going to relax and recover for the new school year.

Here in Ontario, we aren’t yet done our school year. We will finish at the end of June, so we are currently tying up loose ends and wrapping up our school year. The past two years have been so exhausting that we are in need of this summer break to take a breath, and get some much needed rest.

We are both trying to dial it back this summer, yet we also both like to pack our time with planning and learning, so it’s a bit of a fine balance.

Rachel will be mentoring with the Modern Classrooms Project Summer Institute. She has already met with her mentees, and she is excited to help them create teacher-facing PD and/or exemplars.

She is also debating signing up for another course, one which she isn’t totally comfortable sharing. However, she has decided to take the plunge and share it! She has just finished wrapping up her Principal Qualifications Program, Part 1. She isn’t yet sure if she wants to head into administration, however she wants to explore and keep her options open. As such, she is thinking about signing up for the summer session for the PQP, Part 2 course.

This means giving up a portion of her summer, so it’s a bit of a struggle.

Otherwise, she has made the decision not to go away anywhere for the summer, and instead take it easy, putter around the area, explore new parks, and find lots of free and/or local things to do, such as footgolf!

Katie is doing a whole lot of relaxing! She’ll be taking the trailer out east to PEI, and enjoying time with her family. It’ll be the first summer in a long while when she hasn’t worked, but she needs to take the time to relax and recover, and focus on September. She won’t be doing any courses, and she won’t be doing any camps!

September marks implementation of mastery-based ESL programming, so she’ll be working on some of the planning and creating videos and resources to ensure a smooth start to the school year.

Rachel is also working towards implementing destreaming in a modern classrooms approach, so this should keep her busy as well! The course team is dividing up the work and creating the lessons so that each can record their video, or they can use someone else’s video!

The other thing that Rachel is doing this summer is teacher science camp! She’ll be attending the ASM Materials Education Foundation camp for a week. The question still remains: will Rachel do sleepaway camp? or will she drive every day?

Reading List

As always, we both have books that we want to read over the summer to help us develop professionally.

Katie and Rachel reading books and sitting on a red and white mushroom, surrounded by green vegetation.

Here are some of the books on our lists:

  1. Leading for Equity and Social Justice: Systemic Transformation in Canadian Education Edited by Andréanne Gélinas-Proulx & Carolyn M. Shields
    We like this because it’s Canadian context, which can be difficult to find. It seems like a really promising resource to help implement equity and social justice at schools.
  2. Equity by Design: Delivering on the Power and Promise of UDK by Mirko Chardin and Katie Novak
    This one is all about the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and how we can make our classes accessible to all learners. Katie started this a while back, but hasn’t had the opportunity to finish it! Hopefully she can finish reading this over the summer.
  3. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
    This one is promised to be a really amazing story. Consider listening to it on audiobook, as it is read by the author. It is supposed to be a great experience to hear the author tell this story. Plus, it has great connections to science, which is a plus for Rachel!
  4. Is Everyone Really Equal? by Özlem Sensoy & Robin DiAngelo
    It has been recommended by many of our colleagues as a great book to check our for equity and social justice.
  5. Classroom Assessment and Grading that Works by Robert Marzano
    Marzano dives into assessment and evaluation in this text, and explores standards-based assessment in K-12 education.
  6. Giving Students a Say by Myron Dueck
    Grading is the focus of this book as well, but with a focus on student voice and choice.
  7. Decisive by Chip & Dan Heath
    This book is actually a business or professional book, ie not education focused. It explains how people can make better, and more informed decisions in life and work.
  8. Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen
    The subtitle and notation on this one really drew us in! The subtitle is “The science and art of receiving feedback well*” – the asterisk then draws your eye towards this notation “*even when it is off base, unfair, poorly delivered, and, frankly, you’re not in the mood.” It can be so hard to receive feedback and not have if affect you, so this is going to be a helpful read for us!

Katie’s also trying to find novels that have positive affirmations for a variety of cultural backgrounds. Many of the texts that we use have a lot of trauma, and don’t always have a positive narrative or view of journeys to Canada and/or Indigenous identities and history. It would be nice to have some options where students can see and experience a positive view of cultures and ethnicities, and not always a traumatic story.

This is all that we plan to do! We don’t want to put too many demands on us for the summer, because we recognize our need for this time off. Reading can be done while the kiddos are playing at the park, or while camping, etc.

Katie and Rachel relaxing out in nature, surrounded by daisies and grass.

Overall, we plan to relax through camping, reading, walking, and getting into the right mindset for September!

We want to make sure that we mentally prepare for the new school year, recognize our triggers or things that affect us negatively, and try to move forward as well as possible.

One snag in that plan is that our teacher contracts are up in August here in Ontario. And with the latest election results being what they are, there are big concerns about the upcoming contract negotiations and how this could affect us in our daily teaching life. We really need to take this summer to avoid the politics, and not get caught up in all the what-ifs.

We need to enter the school year recognizing that we can only control our own actions and reactions, so we need to put one foot in front of the other and do what we can.

In terms of our podcast this summer, we are going to alter our schedule a bit. Our next episode will be released July 5th, and then from there we will release an episode every two weeks until mid-August, when we will return to our regular schedule.

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