When Life Gives You Lemons, Squeeze in a Little Learning

Summer break equates to downtime and rest and relaxation for many of us.  Pool time, taking time for coffee, slushes, or lemonade, taking a class, running kids to activities or playdates, visiting your local library with a bunch of books in your arms - ahhh, sweet summer - when our time is (mostly) our own!!

Summer also means more time to explore professional learning.  These might be things we don't take the time to do during the year.  Let's face it, often the school year doesn't afford us the luxury of reading professional books or exploring new blogs or podcasts.  This is one of the things I love best about summer!

In June, I actually scheduled time to "meet" with an online book group to discuss a book we were all reading.  I was so excited to have this learning time set aside—and then life got in the way.  My daughter wrecked her car, our flights for vacation were delayed, a contractor we'd scheduled for some home repair work was available a month earlier than we'd planned, and I had a bout of pink eye (in the summer—who gets pink eye in the summer??).  All of these events prevented me from participating in my book study for two weeks in a row.  Life was giving me lemons, for sure!

Just how did I turn these lemons into lemonade?  By adjusting my attitude a bit to see the many unplanned episodes of waiting as chances to read, listen, and to learn!

Whether you read a professional book at the pool, listen to podcasts in the car while running errands, or catch up on your favorite blogs while waiting for a flight—there are lots of opportunities to use small snippets of time to expand your knowledge on a topic near and dear to your heart.

Author Donalyn Miller calls it edge time reading in her book Reading in the Wild, where readers learn to use even the smallest of spurts of time to get in a few pages with their current book of choice.

I think we can apply this same principle to LEARNING.  Here are a few ways I used small chunks of time found "around the edges" of bigger commitments to squeeze in a little summer learning just in the last week alone:
  • read a blogpost while waiting for the spin cycle on washer to end
  • read another blogpost while on hold with car insurance company
  • caught up on new blogposts while waiting for a prescription
  • read PD book reviews while waiting for paint to be mixed at hardware store
  • listened to podcasts while painting a room
  • read a professional book while traveling to airport an hour away
  • listened to podcasts while waiting for flight
  • read blogpost while waiting for Uber ride
  • followed up on Instagram post book referral while in hospital waiting room 
Most of these examples involved waiting or trying to finish a project.  Instead of seeing these as frustrations keeping me from moving on to the next thing, I chose to see them as OPPORTUNITIES to learn - the old LEMONS vs LEMONADE debate.  I took these opportunities to squeeze in a little learning!  

Here are some of what I've been reading and listening to this summer:
  • Relentless by Hamish Brewer
  • The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers by Jennifer Seravallo
  • The Creativity Project edited by Colby Sharp
  • Our Story Begins edited by Elissa Brent Weissman
  • Cult of Pedagogy podcast 
  • Not So Wimpy Teacher podcast
  • House of #EdTech podcast
  • Mind/Shift podcast
  • Edverything podcast
What are some of your favorite ways to squeeeeeeeeeze in a little learning (or reading) in the summer?

Grab this free resource to help you record you thoughts and learning as you listen to podcasts during your own "edge time" learning!  Happy listening and reading!

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