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Monday, February 8, 2016

"Edcamp Style" PD- Personalizing teacher learning on a required PD day!


Last year our school had the opportunity to host Chattanooga's EdcampGigcity. Several of the elementary teachers at our school attended and many plan on attending again. After the experience it allowed the lower school curriculum coordinator and myself (lower school technology coordinator) to rethink some of our professional development days. On one day in August before the students came, and again in January of this year we set up Edcamp style PD days.

I am thankful for a curriculum coordinator that I work well with. She is someone that sees the value technology can add to the classroom and looks for ways to enhance learning in many different ways. While our PD days weren't like the traditional Edcamp style (we actually came up with the choices instead of the teachers making the choices), the teachers found the days to be useful.

So how did we decide what the session offerings should be and what did this look like?

  • We both spend a lot of time with teachers and learn what their needs are. Many of our sessions were based on things teachers had asked us questions about.
  • We have exemplary teachers using tools or creating environments that work. We asked those teachers to lead a session to showcase how they do things in their classroom. Two things happen when you do this:
    • Teachers feel affirmed as educators by asking them to lead a session.
    • Other teachers feel more comfortable asking questions and learning more from a peer because of the strong relationship bonds that already exist. Hearing "this is a good practice/tool" from a teacher already implementing is more effective than hearing it from myself or the curriculum coordinator that aren't using it practically.
  • As the technology coordinator, I used it as a time to introduce new tools and practical ways to use them that would be beneficial for all grade levels in an elementary setting.
We then shared a version of this document below (see red) a day beforehand and asked teachers to think about which sessions would be the most useful for them. We even suggested that someone from each grade level attend different sessions so they could share the information with each other later but this was not a requirement.


                                         A Room               B Room                  C Room
9:00-9:30
RenWeb 1- Steve
Q & A on Integrated Units- Elaine

4 Cs of Tech Integration- Julie
9:35-10:05
Small Math Groups- Carie
Brain Pop- Myra
See Saw- Leigh Ann
10:10-10:40
Problem Based Learning in Math- Craig
Reading groups- Beth Ann
Book Talks-
Sara

10:45-11:15
NWEA Resources- Allison
Small Math Groups- Carie
Formative Assessment with Technology-  Julie
11:20-12:00
Reading Groups- Beth  Ann
Positive Behavior Supports- Shonda
Mystery Skype- Julie

Session 1 Descriptions
RenWeb 1- Intro to the cloud-based version of our grade book system.

Q & A on Integrated Units-
We have spent the first half of this year mapping your Social Studies and Science units. During this session, you may ask questions or discuss ideas about the work which has been completed so far and the next steps in the integration process. There will also be five integrated unit notebooks for you to examine. These completed units offer examples of enduring understandings, essential questions, approaches on how to plan a unit map, Biblical themes, performance tasks, and culminating activities.

4 Cs of Tech- We will discuss four different ways to integrate technology into your classroom- CONSUMPTION (i.e.- reading and watching opportunities), CONNECTION (collaboration opportunities), CURATION (research and finding good information), and CREATION (presentation opportunities). I will give you examples of apps and websites to be used in the classroom that represent each of the 4 C’s..

Session 2 Descriptions
Small Math groups-
This session will discuss the benefits of teaching small group math.  We will discuss tips on how to manage your rotations and utilize your math time in the most efficient way.

Brain Pop-
This session will be an overview of the features found on BrainPOP. We’ll take a quick look at units and topics covered, as well as support materials: videos, quizzes, games, activity pages, graphic organizers, and the informational text feature.

SeeSaw- learn how Leigh Ann is using Seesaw learning journal app in her classroom. It's great to keep track of student work in one place, for students to reflect on work, and for you to easily look through. You can even share it with the parents. So easy first graders can use it but it is also even being used in eighth grade!

Session 3 Descriptions
Problem Based Learning in Math-  Quickly review what “Problem-Based Learning” is and the purpose of it.  Teachers will build capacity in strategically planning and implementing daily problem solving opportunities for all students, as we look at a 6-step process for planning for the “Problem-Based Learning” portion of a lesson.

Reading Groups-
You (really) can do it all!  Really!   We all know we feel crunched to make everything happen during a Guided Reading group.  We will discuss time management and the necessary skills that will allow even the shortest amount of time to be beneficial with individualized learning.

Book Talks -
This session will introduce or reintroduce you to the concept of Book Talks, especially as it pertains to a Reader’s Workshop model.

Session 4 Descriptions
Positive Behavior Supports for the Classroom
In this session we will discuss the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA).  Do you know the difference between negative reinforcement and punishment?  These two concepts are often confused and are important to understand when determining the function of a behavior. We will discuss Functional Behavior Assessment and how it can be used as a powerful tool in the classroom. We will also discuss how to use these methods of training to encourage our students as they seek to serve Christ and His Kingdom.

Small Math Groups-
This session will discuss the benefits of teaching small group math.  We will discuss tips on how to manage your rotations and utilize your math time in the most efficient way.

Formative Assessments with Technology- Wouldn’t it be nice to know if your students got a concept you just taught? We will learn about a variety of different formative assessment tools that can give you immediate feedback from your students. This could mean less grading for you and a faster turn around on knowing what your students have actually learned! Win/win.

Session 5 Descriptions
Reading Groups-
You (really) can do it all!  Really!   We all know we feel crunched to make everything happen during a Guided Reading group.  We will discuss time management and the necessary skills that will allow even the shortest amount of time to be beneficial with individualized learning.

NWEA Resources-  Please bring your laptop and explore the NWEA website for all the resources available to help guide your instruction for your students.

Mystery Skype- Looking for ways to teach geography and connect with the world at large? Mystery skype! We will discuss how to lead your students to ask good questions, how to connect the lesson to other things you are learning in the classroom, and how to lead your students to have a global mindset in their world! We will even get the opportunity to try it out.

As you can see there were a variety of different voices sharing that day. This way even teachers that could share had the opportunity to also attend sessions as well. We asked our math interventionist, reading interventionist, IT director, exceptional education director all to be a part of this day.

I have definitely seen positive results from this. I have had one teacher in particular that followed up with me after sitting through all of my sessions and let me know how successful the use of Seesaw and Kahoot has been in his classroom. While this might be 100% personalized learning, it did give our teachers some voice and choice opportunities in what they felt might be most useful for them.

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