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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in professional development

Posted by on in Professional Development

neurons

Spring is here. The birds are chirping. The grass is growing. The weather outside is beautiful. So, what do you think teachers are doing on those beautiful spring evenings and weekends? Why, professional development (PD) of course. More specifically, gamified PD. Over the first 30 days of our gamification approach to PD, we have had our pilot group of teachers put in over 300 hours of learning during their own time.

Driving back from PETE&C 2016 with my district's technology director, Justin Arthur (@JustinTech), we started talking about all the fantastic things we saw like blended learning, G Suite for Education, and the gamification of classrooms. This lead to a discussion on professional development, and how we could bring those aspects from what we saw at PETE&C 2016 into PD. That discussion became the starting point for the gamification of PD in our district, which evolved into what it is now, Learning Pathways PD.

What is  Learning Pathways PD?

It brings all of the elements of collaboration, customization, relevance, supportive, engaging, competitive, anytime, anywhere learning together through the use of G Suite for Education. We call our gamification of PD, Learning Pathways PD.

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Posted by on in General

A difficult choice

Leaving the classroom was one of the most difficult things I've ever done. Making the decision was one of the hardest I've ever made. Not only did I have to say goodbye to my colleagues, my administrators, and the mentors who had guided me throughout my career, but I had to leave my students. I say "MY" students purposefully. Regardless of if I taught them 5 years ago, 3 years ago, or I was going to teach them next year (as most teachers know) they areand will always be "MY" students. I wasn't leaving because it was "too hard" or because I was burnt out, though. I was leaving to make a greater impact on education and to reach more students than I ever thought possible.

How it happened

I had developed, tested, and created a system in my classroom now called The Grid Method. In my high needs, urban school with 100% free and reduced lunch, and economically disadvantaged students, it was working. Students were more engaged, achievement was increasing, management was improving, and I quickly realized that I had something here that could help more teachers and more students. Colleagues had been asking how to implement the system I'd designed and so had others I shared it with. I quickly started looking for ways to spread the word and share the techniques and systems I was using to reach more students.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

letter to Santa2

Dear Santa,

All we want for Christmas is for our staffs to learn to know and love Twitter like we do! How can we bestow this gift to our staffs this year in a way that would be meaningful?

As leaders we are faced each day with the task of helping teachers be better, better for our kids and better for each other.  There is no better gift that we can give our students than a skilled, innovative, loving and connected teacher in front of them everyday. How can we, as model leaders, gently lead teachers to a wealth of resources that will make them better, faster?

The answer to this, we believe, is helping teachers build a Professional Learning Network in Twitter.  In 140 characters they can get connected with like minded (or maybe not so like minded) educators going through some of the same struggles that they share.  They can find resources, ideas, and learn about positive trends in education today. How can principals accomplish this?  Principals can lead teachers to this understanding by building their own PLN and sharing the value of this wealth of knowledge with the staff.  

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Posted by on in Project Based Learning

Admittedly, it took me longer than it should have to be able to make the distinction between professional development and training.

In short, I now view professional development as the process of building capacity in participants (or attempting to do so), while training generally follows more of a rigid approach with several “rights” and “wrongs.” Overall, I believe both have a place in education. For example, for about the past two years at my district’s elementary level there have been various forms of professional development involving Writing Workshop, but in January a representative from Heinemann is going to be training these same teachers on the new Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System.

At the same time, I have come to realize there is a third category, which can be triggered when we mistakenly believe we are providing deep professional development, but in actuality we are barely scratching the surface with not much more than conversations and examples related to a specific topic. This third category, which falls somewhere in between the other two on the “autonomy spectrum,” can be called discussion.

Since the line between discussion and professional development can easily be blurred, let’s take a look at how each of these categories applies to educators being introduced to essential questions, the topic that serves as the main focus of Chapter 5 in Hacking Project Based Learning.

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Posted by on in Professional Development

Professional development has changed drastically, for the better, since I began my career. Long gone are the days of “sit and get, one size fits all” pd. Thank goodness! Professional development is more personalized with teachers taking control and leading it often.

The tenets of high quality professional development include:

Job embedded

Ongoing

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