• Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Archives
    Archives Contains a list of blog posts that were created previously.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in professional learning

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.

...
Last modified on

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

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Education Leadership

Twenty years ago.

Twenty years ago, I set foot in my first classroom. I remember it like it was yesterday. And just as much, I can vividly recall the high level of accountability I had.

For myself.

As a new teacher, I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. Every. Detail. Mattered. The signage that adorned the classroom door that greeted "my" students. The arrangement of the books in the classroom library, desks, tables, and learning centers. Bulletin boards, posters, and name tags. 

The lesson and unit plans for the day, week, and month to come. All carefully scripted, nearly to the word, for that fateful first day - the day I had been waiting for since being offered that first opportunity, to make an impact on the lives of children.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Professional Development

people woman coffee meeting

Once the school year starts, there's hardly a moment to breathe. The pace of school life, particularly at the early-childhood and elementary levels, is marked by significant time-on-task with large numbers of children and tremendous responsibility for coaching, leading, and responding to students', families', and system-wide needs, expectations, questions, and requirements.

Summer gives you the time to strategize for the year ahead, and as you strategize, it's good to think about the new and existing initiatives, opportunities, and expectations that exist. In the best of circumstances, I think it serves educators well to stay ahead of these new efforts and endeavors so that you don't have to back track, do it over, or repeat work. Plus, to plan with the future in mind means that you're ready for this new work.

To break down this strategizing, I recommend the following actions:

Read and Watch System-Wide News

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Professional Development

classroom observation eye

A powerful professional development tool exists that may be underutilized in your school: Peer observations. That is, the practice of teachers observing teachers with the goal of improving their own teaching. 

When I started a new teaching position mid-year, peer observation played a crucial role in my integration because it gave me insight into the school culture. Through the simple act of sitting in a colleague's classroom and taking notes (well, six different classrooms with six different colleagues), I was able to see a range of teaching styles and classroom management techniques. I got a clearer glimpse of my students' daily experience, and I saw new opportunities for collaboration across disciplines.

Here is a simple process that educators can use to refine their own teaching practices and engage in free professional development during the school week:

  1. Form a question or focus for your observation. What do you want to get out of this observation?
  2. As a colleague if you can sit in on their class; branch out to different departments if possible. If they say yes, then pick a time and agree on protocols.
  3. Be a fly on the wall and take notes (doc): What classroom management strategies do you notice? How does your colleague organize his/her lessons? How are they using technology in the classroom? What do they do to motivate students? Note: Try sitting with your back to groups of students; they may be more authentic when they don't feel observed. 
  4. Thank your colleague.
  5. Keep it confidential: Don't discuss your colleague's lesson with others.
  6. Reflect & plan: What's something new that you saw that you'd like to try out in your classroom?
  7. Try something new in your classroom! Let your colleague know what tool or strategy you learned from them.
  8. If your colleague wants your feedback, offer it - but with caution. Remember that you observed one lesson, on one day, in one school year. Avoid offering "quick fix" solutions and avoid passing judgments.

What administrators can do facilitate peer-to-peer learning:

...
Last modified on