It started with one idea on how to help support our National Board Certified Teachers. Four years later, we have at least seven ways we’re building teacher leadership in our district with the support of Teaching Channel and Teams. Click below to hear all about how we’re redefining professional learning via video and helping make #anewkindofPD.
Editor’s Note: Summer is a time for relaxing, rejuvenating, and inspiring you to try something new in the coming year. We hope our Teams podcasts do just that.
Planning and facilitating professional development is a humbling experience, especially if you invite and listen to feedback. So when teachers say that professional development is disconnected from the reality of the classroom, you have to listen. And let’s face it, professional development is just plain challenging for all those involved.
This year, when our high school math PLC was mid-year and knee-deep in curriculum alignment, the teachers I coach shared with me that their alignment PD, although good work, felt disconnected from what was really happening in the classroom instructionally. They wanted to focus on how to teach the new curriculum, not just how to design benchmarks. Challenge #1. Unfortunately, because the district was extremely short on subs this year, a traditional studio model, our district’s PD strand for studying instruction, was not an option for PD around instruction. Challenge #2.
Editor’s Note: This blog is the third post by Jennifer in the Upcycling Series about heading back to the classroom after time as an instructional coach. Join us in following her journey.
In the arena of education, I’ve learned to pay attention to how I grasp and assimilate new concepts. I pride myself on the idea that I’m a natural at applying insights to my own teaching practice. And there it is… my irrepressible ego. That’s my ego infiltrating and creeping up at the beginning of my blog. Always on alert. Always convinced that “I got this.” Always self preserving with an insatiable appetite.
I’ve had the chance to experience a lot of professional development as a teacher and this past year, we decided to do something new. Working out of our Teacher Center, I was able to ignite interest in using video to showcase new practices, capture implementation in action, and foster collaborative learning through video feedback and reflection. That said, this was a very thoughtful, inclusive, and informed implementation so that we had teachers with school-based mentors and support in using #anewkindofpd.
To hear all about our implementation plan — from our purpose for going this route, the process of setting it up, and the community building elements — listen to this podcast. Our District Assistant Superintendent Rose Ricca and myself talk about our grassroots implementation that resulted in impactful learning and growth for our teachers and students.
There are so many incredible advantages to using video to promote educational practices. Describing the art of teaching is not easy, particularly the nuanced ways in which teachers engage students, use questioning strategies, and move learning forward with feedback techniques.
“Classrooms are complex, busy places where countless multi-layered interactions take place as kids explore academic topics while developing identities, relationships, and social skills. You’d have to be able to stop time to tease out the intricacies of a single moment. Yet video helps you do just this, enabling you to go back and analyze classroom exchanges in depth, after the fact.”
Teams Fest traveled back in time to the 1950s in Palm Springs last week to see just how far we have (or haven’t) come in education. The goal was for all Teams to have:
- A big vision and a draft plan for 2016-2017
- New/improved ways to structure learning on Teams
- A network to support and push your work (at home and with Tch)
- Ideas, beliefs, and skills for leading learning this summer #anewkindofpd
The two days were full of camaraderie, collegial conversations, deep engagement with Teams, and of course, fun!
When we set out last spring to design a “Choose Your Own Adventure” professional learning opportunity, we were confident we had created something meaningful and unique. We were less confident that we would have any takers. We did our due diligence, created a promotional video to inform the potential participants, created a construct for teachers to earn activity related points which would equal professional development hours, and established some dates for face-to-face workshops that would help enlighten our colleagues about Teaching Channel and the power of Tch Teams.
Though the world has changed and digital communication has become the norm, the postal system has valiantly carried on, and in the process has plagued my household for years. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting some mail — birthday cards, seasons greetings, W-2s. Each of these plays an important role in our lives and are best communicated in a tangible manner. But the rest of it, the endless credit applications, coupon flyers, alumni donation requests, are often overwhelming and nearly always ineffective. As we attempted to develop a system for dealing with the onslaught of mail at home, I couldn’t help but notice the parallels to my work life.
The third installment of our Teaching Channel Teams roundtable events, Making the Mental Space for Teams with Josh McLaughlin from Arlington Public Schools, looks at how modifying your initial idea for implementation yields a potentially more interesting result. You can read about Josh’s successes, challenges, and original plan in his blog post. Then watch the recording of what he’s now doing by including video as the method for teacher evaluation in his school.
The Yakima School District embarked on an adventure in August of the 2015-2016 school year. We began a cohort of teachers who wanted to learn how to use video to improve their instruction of English Language Learners. Like most adventures in education, this looked like a relatively straight road. We soon found out that it was filled with crazy bends, steep climbs, rapid descents, and radical hairpin turns.