Professional Development Reflection
ENG 315
By: Anna

This semester I went to several professional development events. Although many of my events did not deal directly with writing, there were some similarities between writing and some of the ideas expressed in these professional development opportunities.

One professional development activity that I participated in was the pre-professional conference called STARS, which stand for Start Teaching and Reach Students. During this conference, I was able to listen to several different speakers. One of the speakers that I listened to discussed the importance of integrating music into the general education classrooms. This speaker showed many ways that could help integrate music both with technology such as computers and websites, and without new technology, such as just singing a song about a subject that they are learning. This reminded me of the discussions about integrating writing into other areas of the curriculum. Both writing and music are considered to be important subjects on their own. They are also considered to be helpful when used to teach other content materials. During the music conference, we looked at songs and musical activities that could be used for many different subjects such as history or even learning about the different days of the week. When talking about writing in class, we discussed different ways that writing could be used in both science and math. I think both of these discussions show that different subjects do not always need to be taught separately from each other in order to be successfully taught.

I also went to several different Student Michigan Education Association meetings were there were speakers who came to speak to us about a variety of speakers. One of the speakers that I listened to was a speaker who came and discussed the importance of physical education to students. This speaker also discussed the importance of putting movement in teaching. He also explained how incorporating movement into different subject areas can be very beneficial for all students. He discussed the importance of using movement both by itself and with another subject. This is similar to an idea in writing, which says that even though it is important to teach in other subjects, it is also important to teach writing as its own subject area.

Another speaker that I heard from at a Student Michigan Education Association discussed social studies. One of the things that this speaker spoke about was different tools that can be used to teach writing. This speaker spoke about maps that can be written on with dry erase markers, as well as looking at picture and discussing them instead of just reading about social studies in a book and doing worksheets. This reminded me about writing because teaching writing well involves doing more than teaching students about grammar and giving them writing prompts. Teaching writing well involves using many different activities such as conferring with students and taking time to allow students to share finished pieces with each other. Although it may be easier just to give students worksheets and have them read the textbook, it is not necessarily best for their learning. There are many different activities other than textbooks and worksheets that can help students learn in all subject areas.

Because none of my other professional development experiences were about writing specifically, I also watched two videos about writing at the Inside Writing Communities, grades 3-5 website. One of the videos that I watched was about building an accepting community for writers so that they feel comfortable sharing their ideas and their writing in their classrooms. Many of the activities that were discussed in the video were similar to activates that were discussed for community building in general. It was surprising to hear that these activities were important for more than one reason. The net video I watched discussed the importance of practicing writing as a teacher. This video made a lot of sense to me because it is important to try and do the activities that you ask your students to be able to do. It also helps you to relate to what your students are going through as they try to complete their assignments. This reminded me of our writing class because in this class, we do many activities that are similar to the activates that we have our students do.

Participating in these professional development activates helps me to see that even though I am nearing the end of my college career, I still can learn a lot of information outside of classes. In the future, I plan on continuing to participate in a variety of professional development opportunities in a variety of areas. I hope to use these opportunities to help me grow as a teacher in the future.

Works Cited
Annenberg Foundation, n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2011. <http://www.learner.org/workshops/writing35/session1/index.html>.