#cyberpd Week 1

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Every summer I have a secret favorite- a book that I hope will be the #cyberpd choice- this year my wish came true! I knew I wanted to read this book before it was published, had the luck to learn from Sara Ahmed in person right around its book birthday, and had it preordered and waiting for my summer visit to the US before the choice was announced- YIPPEE!

As I have heard Sara speak before I was familiar with some of the content, but the specifics and examples she gives bring it all to life so fully. I am rationing my reading of the book, so that I do not read ahead of the week we are on so my reflections are based on my first read, but I already know that this is a book I will return to over and over and definitely one I will be able to use next month in third grade.

I liked the reminder in the foreword to ‘muddle through these with your peers before you engage with your students.’ I have a feeling that I will want to continue this with colleagues at my new school! The book would be a great book study for a school.

I also loved the playlist in the acknowledgments- has anyone made a Spotify collection of this that I could follow (lazy me!)?

In the introduction, Sara’s reminder via Smokey Daniels, that “kids mirror the language and behaviors adults exhibit”, is so true- for better and worse!I also loved the comment about the health of a school depending on the number of elephants in the room- I have never thought about it that way before, but upon reflection, it sure seems like a great barometer! Her reminder that our strongest superpower in teh classroom is kidwatching- so validating in this time of increased pressure on data collection- this is our data!

Exploring Our Identities

This is the perfect time for me to be reading this book, as I am moving schools, which gives me the perfect opportunity to begin al of this inquiry work with a new group of students where I will have little background knowledge. The first days are soo important for community building and I will definitely do identity webs again (we made them last year, but did not go back to them enough). I love that she included possible books- several of which I already own. Her tips give me lots of ways I can improve from our first attempts. Throughout I also appreciate the examples of language to use with students- great models!  The “addressing tensions” sections also help.

The Stories of our Names section is interesting. I have done this work in the past, but not recently- time to come back to it. Teaching in Asia I have had many students who introduce themselves with an “English” name- a struggle for me, as I want to honor who they see themselves as, but it’s hard when they are one name at home and another name at school… I do love the idea of getting parents actively involved in this and can see trying to get this done at Open House (not sure yet how this works at the new school). Lots of what Sara talks about throughout are what I know as the “norms of collaboration”/ways of talking together and provide great ways to work on this with the class.

I have also done the “Where I’m From” poems in the past, but I think I could definitely emphasize the cultural influences more. It is interesting with international school students what they identify as their cultures and influences- highly subjective often. One reminder that really spoke to me was always making the thinking/learning visible- a great reminder for me.

Listening With Love

This chapter also reminded me of adaptive schools training and responsive classroom. Again reminders about making thinking visible and adding student names/initials to their contributions on group work.

I look forward to reading the next section, knowing I have lots to learn (and need reminders to come back to things I have used before). I can’t wait to read what others are thinking!

If you would like to learn more about #cyberpd and maybe even join in, look here.


PS I notice my Grammarly wants me to use British spelling throughout…

4 thoughts on “#cyberpd Week 1

  1. jcareyreads

    This is my first year taking part in #cyberpd and I was also excited by the book choice. I’m almost done with chapter one and enjoyed reading your thoughts and ideas! It’s all another layer to relationships- which are the key!

  2. Cathy M

    You have collected so many nuggets here. Your point that we need to remember to return to these foundational conversations across the year is one that stood out to me as well. At the beginning of first grade, I had families share about their child by making a paper version of the student. I found these useful in the first days of getting to know one another and later in finding our stories in writing workshop. Returning to them more often would have been beneficial because it speaks to the way we grow and change in our thinking and interests. Powerful! (Excited to learn alongside you again this year….and how did I miss that playlist?)

  3. Lisa Corbett

    You have me thinking a lot about how name and identity are tied together. I remember years ago I taught a brother and sister (split grade class). They were the oldest of 4 children, but their parents had never married. The year I had them both, the parents decided to get married. This was an intact family, with lots of extended family, and everyone was clearly close and loved those children! But about 2 weeks before the wedding, they started telling me they were not going to have a hyphenated last name any more. They were just going to be known by dad’s name. This was something the children came up with on their own. They wanted the whole family to have the same last name, and only one last name, and to them this was what having their parents married meant. In that community, many of the mom’s had kept their maiden name, so it was not at all unusual that this group of children had hyphenated surnames, or that their surname would differ from mom, but it became this symbolic thing for them: now we are a real family. We had some interesting conversations that year about what “family” means!

  4. Michelle @litlearningzone

    I love the different twist you bring to the conversation working at an international school. What fun it will be in your new school to bring together a new group in a new community! These lessons will be powerful. I can’t wait to hear how your year goes (and hope that you continue to share here!). It seems as though you have dabbled in many of these ideas, but I think really digging in and staying connected to the work throughout the year will add much depth to the learning. I totally understand where you are coming from with students wanting me to call them by their “English” name. I work in a school with a high percentage of students of Mexican heritage — I also ask them their name first to listen how they pronounce it!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and being one of the biggest fans and supporters of #cyberPD! 🙂


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