Professional Development

The Road to National Board Certification

Hello, my name is Shanna and I’m a self-proclaimed masochist.

It’s true, though. I always try to do things the more difficult way because for some reason making things more difficult makes sense to me. My husband pointed this out to me a year ago and I’ve accepted it ever since. For example, recipes: one time I declined his compliment of how good something I made tasted because it wasn’t hard enough to make. Now, I know that’s just stupid. But that’s how I am.

Sometimes, doing the difficult things the difficult way does make sense. Like getting National Board-certified.



What I’m Reading This Summer: Education Edition

‘Tis the season for getting into some good education books. I’m not in grad school yet so it’s good to get into some more academic reading.

1. Write Beside Them by Penny Kittle


I have had this one since college, and it is always so inspiring to go back and get tips and ideas. Something I have always been struggling with is implementing a Writer’s Notebook like Kittle does. This year one of my goals is to be more intentional with it.

2. Productive Group Work by Frey, Fisher, and Everlove


This was given to me *cough* last year *cough* to read by my new teacher induction coordinator and I still haven’t gotten around to cracking it open. Group work isn’t something that I would say I really focus on managing in my classroom, which probably means I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. It will be good to be more knowledgable about it.


Socratic Seminars: How to Prepare

I posted last year about Socratic Seminars and how I was planning on using them in my classroom. Needless to say, I was apprehensive in doing this because of its somewhat complicated structure and my always-denied but apparent perfectionism and my struggle to avoid it. However, I attended an in-house Avid training by one of our district’s teachers about what the seminar is and how to use it, and I felt pretty comfortable trying it out.

This post is going to be a how-to on how to prepare yourself and your students for a Socratic Seminar! Woo!

Prepare yourself:

1. Decide your end-goal for the S.S. Is it a reflection? Project? In my case, the summative assessment was the actual Socratic Seminar due to time constraints. Students had to demonstrate their learning via participation, the notes they took, and the reflections they wrote. This came out of the graphic organizer that I modified from the Teaching Channel link below.


Weekend in LA with Yoga ed

A few weeks ago, I needed a break. I was weighed down by seemingly everything—mustering up the strength to write quality lessons, getting myself to the grocery, doing the dishes, being a ‘good dog mom,’ then engaging my kids with quality lessons—at the end of the school year, to boot. To power through the end, I really needed something to kick start my attitude and give me some time to be reflective about teaching and why I do it. I’d been scouring for yoga professional development since our school has a pretty strong brain break initiative and I have been teaching a yoga class this session to my kids.

I found YOGA ed through Yoga Journal when I was perusing one day, and saw that their founder, Tara Gruber, was nominated for an award through the magazine. Digging a bit deeper, I found that YOGA ed was started to bring about change in an Los Angeles charter school and foster health and development for its students.

There was a short 8 hour training this Saturday, so I asked if a coworker who also teaches yoga at our school wanted to go with me, we booked tickets along with another coworker who wanted to come along for the sun and sand, and headed out to LA. I am grateful that I had the means to take time off and have a husband that picked me up from the airport at 1 a.m.!

The training itself, held at UCLA, was accessible and easily able to be applied to the classroom immediately. (more…)