Monday, February 23, 2015

Another Recovered Post - PD - Teacher Choice

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Professional Development - Teacher Choice

This year my administrative team made a commitment to differentiate our professional development opportunities for our teachers.  This was particularly important for me because

1) I hate going to professional development sessions that do not meet my skill level.  Whatever the topic is, there should at least be a choice between beginning/intermediate and intermediate/advanced.
2) Simply stated - Some topics and presenters are boring.

Our last pd session was held at our school from 3:10 - 4pm and included approximately 36 teachers.  Here is an example of what our school principal emailed the staff:

Tomorrow's staff development session will be our final session of this school year with the theme of differentiated professional development.
There are three sessions being offered tomorrow where everyone will have the opportunity to not only examine current research in the areas identified below, but also join in a collegial discussion on how these topics impact us here at the school. 
There is NO need to sign-up for a session. We will begin at 3:10 pm tomorrow.  Light snacks and refreshments will be available.  The sessions to choose from are as follows:

(1) Keeping "Learning Joyful" Until the Last Day of School: How to survive the home stretch.  Participants will share research, ideas and strategies to help you through the last 6-8 weeks of school. Participants attending are encouraged to BYOD as a component of the session will explore research found via social media (Twitter) Location: Library 
(2) ADHD & ADD an explanation not an excuse
Participants will focus on attentional differences and how they impact our classrooms. There will be a discussion on what is ADHD & ADD? Participants will walk away with proven strategies to use in the classroom.   Location: 513
(3) Causes and Cures in the Classroom: Getting to the root of academic and behavioral problems.  Participants will explore the work of Margaret Seale to examine strategies and tools to help us diagnose root causes and develop targted, effective interventions for our students. Discussions will focus on how we can help students overcome difficulties and experience real success in the classroom.  Location: 512

Sometimes we attach the name of the presenters but this time we did not.  We really wanted the teachers to choose based on topic not presenter.  Each group had between 10-14 participants.  I conducted "Session 1" because that is my passion (see blog entry #1 and entry #2).  We conducted the session in a collegial circle format where everyone shared ideas, strategies, what's worked, and what ifs.  

Reflections: ~ Many participants remained and kept discussing after 4pm (always a good sign!). ~I shared a lot of the cool stuff I've been learning and inspired by via Twitter. I conducted a mini-Twitter workshop and had 3 more teachers sign up.  I showed them a recent Responsive Classroom chat #rcchat and we searched ideas for Morning Meeting group activities.~Teachers shared websites such as, their favorite outdoor learning experiences, and reflected on their best school experiences as students.~One teacher came to my office the next day still excited to share what she wanted to do to close out the year~One teacher texted me the following:  "Your pd" was awesome.  I came to school early today so kids could try prior to the test.  They love Zumba"

By the way, we didn't wait for district level permission or approval and did not focus on what might or might not happen as a result.  We just did it because we are passionate educators that are excited about what we do.

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