I forget sometimes that my learning community is one that shares information, resources, and materials freely. If I read a book I know Donalyn Miller will want to see for her presentation on nonfiction (and you would love this presentation; it is fabulous), then I stick the book or books in a mailer and send it off. If I see an article that discusses topics my community has been wrestling with, I share the link. We communicate almost daily about what we are reading and how our kids are learning, and what new information we need. I guess I just assumed (and you know what that makes ME and YOU) that others had this same access to learning and PD. And they do not.
So, I often begin a presentation and find myself stopping and pulling back and filling in information I thought everyone was privy to. I encourage folks to stop me along the way and ask questions. I leave as much time as possible at the end for Q and A. And it is not enough. Recently, I provided some resources from ALSC and YALSA that I thought everyone knew and used. Not so, as I learned.
The thing is, it is sometimes tough to determine before I am in the room what those in attendance do and do not know already. But I am beginning to see that CCSS (and state testing in states not participating in CCSS) and its testing is consuming so much of PD. Educators are getting trained on PARRC, etc. but are not getting access to books, research about engagement and motivation, the power of choice in reading, and other topics I take for granted everyone knows.
I want to take all these educators who love kids and want to do more to create and sustain lifelong readers and learner and get them all in a community where they can reach out easily to Katherine Sokolowski and Colby Sharp and John Schu and Frank Sibberson. I want them to have ACCESS to PD beyond testing and curriculum. I also want them to see other research besides that promulgated by Pearson and other companies. I had an impassioned discussion with someone recently about the NRP and phonics. We needed to have hours to discuss research since that of Reid Lyons and the NRP. But there was not time.
We need time and resources and materials and people to guide us in our professional development. For some of us, we reach out and create those communities. Others are not as fortunate. The hunger is there; the food is not. We need to find a way to get nourishing food (ideas, research, resources, materials) to those who hunger. That is key. We need to feed those starving for PD.