Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Best PD (Positively Delightful)...

PD = Professional Development or Positively Delightful...

Today was spent on Professional Development or as I like to think about it; Positively Delightful.  I attended my third Donalyn Miller workshop here in the Twin Cities .  The workshop was presented by Custom Education Solutions.

This type of workshop was the BEST professional development for me because it was positively delightful.  When I first walked in, I got a warm-welcoming hug from Donalyn with the comment that I've already taken her class.  I thought to myself, I could never take a workshop class from her too many times.  Every time I attend;  I learn more about myself as a person, as a reader, and of course as a teacher.

After reading The Book Whisperer, I was finally validated for my thoughts, ideas, and perspectives for teaching reading to my students.  It was exciting to read the next book, Reading in the Wild, to further my journey in working with young readers.  Both of these texts have become a staple in my classroom and resources that I refer to often and always with excitement.

When I attend any type of professional development class, it is important that the presenter still has their feet in the "trenches" as they say.  Otherwise, the speaker becomes too removed from the reality of what truly goes on in the classroom.  Knowing Donalyn is in the classroom on a daily basis and gets it;  is truly refreshing.  As a participant in the workshop, I take what she has to say as truth, reality, and what is truly happening in the elementary classrooms across the country.

The day was full of great discussion, awesome questions, and insightful conversations.  I felt like I had just sat down to start our day, when Donalyn said our time was up.  There is nothing more rewarding than being in a room full of educators that are just as passionate about teaching reading as I am.  Some great connections were made with new people and have been added to my Twitter list of people I follow.

Another positively delightful aspect of this professional development was that our positively delightful presenter took care to notice where her audience was in their thinking, took time to answer all of our questions, and was flexible in the agenda for the day.  How refreshing to be a part of this type of learning as opposed to listening to a speaker with a "set in stone" presentation and not be flexible when it comes to their audience.

Being that I have about three weeks left before heading back for my 24th year of teaching, this was the perfect time to attend a workshop of this nature.  It energized me.  It excited me.  It validated me. I will now take some time to reread Reading in the Wild to prepare for the upcoming year. I'm excited to put into practice many of the elements we discussed today.  My focus this year will be to instill in my readers the practices of "real-life" readers that are reading out in the "wild".

Thank you Donalyn for a truly rewarding day.  Thank you participants for sharing all of your incredible knowledge.  This was truly the best type of PD because it was...

Positively Delightful!!!  


  1. I've met Donalyn, and seen her present more than once, have read the books. Now you've made me want to spend the day with her. What a nice post you've written. Best wishes in the new year! We go back in a couple of weeks, but many are in and out, getting started!

    1. It was an excellent day of learning. I don't think I've gone to a better PD than with Donalyn. Thanks for posting...

  2. I am half way through Reading in the Wild and am taking so much from it. When I read The Book Whisperer, I completely transformed the way I taught reading. I would love to take a PD with Donalyn and will have to see if she is coming to the Chicago area anytime soon. I start next week and am excited to take a lot of what I am learning in Reading in the Wild back to my classroom.

    1. Thanks for posting. If you get a chance to see her, you must. I also have transformed my teaching after reading both books.