Thursday, January 4, 2018

Authentic Embedded Professional Development? It's possible.



Professional development- Before you start throwing me shade and rolling your eyes and immediately go into "it's a waste of my planning time" hear me out. There are other ways to do it. Lately, I realized that not all of our teachers are familiar with the design thinking process. Inservice days are few and far between and teachers often need those days to prepare for the new semester. At our school we basically have them at the beginning of the school year, beginning of second semester, and at the end of the school year. All these times are terribly busy for educators. I'll be honest, I actually asked if I could use a 1/2 day in January for a Design Thinking Professional Development leader to come in and share with our teachers. Thankfully, our Lower School head of schools and our curriculum coordinator wanted to protect that time so the teachers could work in their classroom. I say thankfully because it caused me to have to become creative with how to do this.

So, we are starting a 5 week all school design thinking challenge. Each week the teachers will work through one of the 5 steps of design thinking  (this is a great link put together by one of our STEAM Business Partner's Bridge Innovate) with their students. I will send an email out to the teachers to explain the step and they will take their students to the following display on a prominent wall in the school and work on that week's step:


 I can't wait to get this design thinking opportunity underway. I hope that it proves to be beneficial to our students, teachers and possibly even our entire school as we reimagine our school and how to improve it! This challenge will create opportunities for our teachers to hit the ISTE Standards for Educators that include: Learner, Designer, and Facilitator. It will allow the students to tap into the ISTE Standards for Students that include: Global Collaborator and Innovative Designer. This challenge will also support the goals and professional development needed for our STEAM program to continue to grow forward. Stay tuned for more details. Below is an example of the email I sent out today to our teachers to explain the process and the WHY. I am striving this year to always start with the WHY.

Teachers,
Have you seen the "Designing CCS" display by the front office wall? So first of all we all owe a BIG thank you to Shonda and Myra for protecting our time to work so much in the classroom for the last two days. I know it is always helpful to start back with time to plan. That being said, Shonda and Myra didn't want to burden you with professional development learning during that time. We do desire for our school to have an understanding of the design thinking process that Jessica Yandell is utilizing during STEAM though. So what better way to learn about it than have an "all school" Design Thinking Challenge? 

Starting on Monday we are asking you to stop by the display sometime during the week with your class and come up with one area that relates to the CHALLENGE phase. Once your class comes to an agreement on what area you would like to see improvement, add your sticky note observation to the white page. It's ok if different classes pick the same thing. It's also ok to dream big. So your job is for your class to choose one photo and make observations about how to improve CCS. On your sticky note finish the following statement:
We can improve the CCS community by...

Each week we will go on to the next step and I will send an email out to you so you can see what the expectations are for that week. So while this is a learning process for your students, it is also a professional development opportunity for you. Win/win. 

Thank you for all you do to support STEAM at CCS and for the way you accept both Jessica and myself in this endeavor. Let's design CCS!