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My Professional Learning Network

Posted by on May 30, 2018

Over the last year, I have had the pleasure of entering into the world of education. This is the career I am currently pursuing and it has been a life long goal of mine to accomplish. I currently do not have a classroom of my own, but I do have a large handful of students.  I first started entering classrooms last fall as a full time Substitute Teacher.  I am not sure who has the tougher position the regular full time teacher or someone like me, who is subbing.  I will go out on a limb and suggest that I have the more challenging position. I am adventuring out and completing my MAT with a focus in Secondary Social Studies. I make a great attempt to sub most frequently in classrooms of my subject of interest, but that does not always pan out, so I’m pretty well rounded these days.  Throughout my subbing opportunities, I have been exposed to several different types of learning resources that I plan on utilizing in my professional career, and I have very much appreciated getting to know more and more helpful ideas that will only assist in my teaching strategies and set not only myself but my students as well, up for success. So, why do I need a professional learning network? As a pursing educator, I need to continue educating myself as the world evolves and as resources become more readily at my fingertips and deliver them to my students to help them become successful!


One of the first resources I was exposed to was a Youtube channel called CrashCourse. It’s produced by two brothers John & Hank Green.  These are absolutely very entertaining for all. They focus on History/Social Studies and Science. However, more recently they have added Literature and other interesting topics to add to their repertoire. Strikingly enough, I was first exposed to a CrashCourse video by a history professor at the University of Oregon, who assigned different videos as homework. The most watched video on CrashCourse is on Agricultural Revolution with 9.3 M views. However more recently, I have personally watched the Columbian Exchange video as it was a lesson I created for my pedagogy class.


The second resource I have come across is one that many people are utilizing on a daily bases and not just educators, and that is, TED Talks. TED Talks are educational based and they give you the sense of feeling that you are sitting live in the auditorium as a spectator.  They touch on so many types of relevant conversations. They first began as a conference titled Technology, Entertainment and Design converged which merged into TED. They help share ideas into communities and provide powerful talks to anyone around the world. I recently watched a TED Talk on City Flags because I needed to create an emergency substitute plan for my pedagogy class and Creating a Flag was something I thought could be thrown into any day of the week that would be releveant in the event I needed a substitute.  This TED Talk was extremely entertaining and I encourage you to watch it, I promise it does not disappoint!


Thirdly, I was also been introduced to CNN10 Student News.  I was asked to show a video on CNN10 as apart of a lesson I was assigned as a Substitute in a 6th grade Language Arts/Social Studies classroom.  These are also fantastic.  They provide a quick 10 minute video on global news that is relevant to that current days trials and tribulations.  They deliver stories of international significance and give an explanation to why they are making the news, who is affected, and how it fits into our international society. They are done daily throughout the school year that teachers can incorporate in their classrooms as part of a warm-up activity or a closing out the day activity.


Another great and simple tool that is centered around technology incorporates a more creative eye on  This is a fun interactive website that allows students to create a word collage and design it into a shape that is relevant to the topic.  I recently created a WordArt collage for a mock lesson of the Civil Rights Movement. I have used this as a closing activity in classrooms to help recirculate a lesson and bring it around to closure. Students loved it and it allowed them to be very creative in their word choice and design that still incorporated what was taught and what each student took away from the lesson.

Lastly, I explored one of the provided links on the National Council for the Social Studies and was hooked right away. “The mission of National Council for the Social Studies is to provide leadership, service, and support for all social studies educators.” Furthermore, “social studies educators teach students the content knowledge, intellectual skills, and civic values necessary for fulfilling the duties of citizenship in a participatory democracy.”

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