Sunday, March 20, 2016

Perfect PD {#SOL16 Day 20}

The wonderful Kathleen Sokolowski has asked us teachers to share their ideas about professional development.  After thinking about this for awhile, I realized that  my "Perfect PD" already exists:
Here's why...

* Choice:  For me, EdCamps are the perfect PD option because I can choose the topics that are most meaningful to me and my teaching.  What works for one person, might not work for another.  Having the flexibility to choose what I want to learn is a definite plus.  It also honors me and my experience and knowledge as a professional.

* Teachers Teaching Teachers:  School districts are filled with experts on many different topics -- on their own payroll.  Why not tap into that knowledge by having them share what they know with a larger audience within their own school or district?

* Relevance:  It's frustrating to have to sit and listen to a speaker when the topic has little relevance to your teaching or its something you already know a lot about.  That's one of the reasons I like the "rule of two feet" at an EdCamp.  If you are in a session and it is not meeting your needs, you get up and go find one that does.


* Timing:  Many EdCamps take place over the summer or in the winter or spring, once the craziness of the beginning of the school year has begun to settle.  For me, it is difficult to sit still and focus in a PD session in August when I am itching to get my classroom set up and be ready for my students.


Other non-EdCamp thoughts on PD:
* I learn best by doing.  Sitting and listening or by following along in a manual doesn't always work for me.  Just as I like to change things up in my classroom to keep the kids moving and learning in different ways, I appreciate the same.  Hands on, take-this-back-and use-it right-away PD is a bonus!

* I want there to be a follow up plan.  How will the PD topic work in my classroom/school/district? I need to see the connection. Like Kathleen said, "not 'one and done' where the topic is never brought up again."  If you are going to bring in a speaker to talk about makerspaces, I sure hope that means that we will be developing makerspaces in our schools in the near future.

We have recently held three EdCamps in my school and district as professional development.  All three were positively received by staff.  I highly recommend that you be the driving force behind bringing an EdCamp to your school or district.  It is so worth it!

13 comments:

  1. I also love choice and ownership in my PD. For the last two years, I have found myself in the position of literacy coach, and really thinking hard about the PD I offer. Usually, it happens with the teacher in his/her classroom; action research at its finest. However, when it is a before or after school, 3 elements are key for me: 1) it's optional, 2) it involves a lot of interaction, processing, and conversation from my colleagues, and 3) it happens over multiple sessions (or we apply it in their classrooms together).
    PD is only valuable when it matters to teachers. Thanks for giving insight to what makes PD valuable to you!

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  2. Jennifer, this is awesome! I wrote a draft of my post last night and it's amazing how we had so many similar ideas! Is it ok with you if I link to this post on the TWT post tomorrow? It's so well-written!

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  3. Jennifer - I cannot agree more on all fronts. PD is so important but only if it's done in a way that we can actually get something relevant and helpful out of it!

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  4. I completely agree with all of your points. My experience with EdCamps are exactly the same! LOVE!!!

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  5. Believe it or not i have never been to an EdCamp, but now I wish I had. Great post. Loved how you thought about this from all angles.

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  6. Tammy and I are going to our first NerdCamp in MI this summer -- we are so excited!! Choice and action plan are key!!! PD is tough -as the people who design it we find we constantly face road blocks - we call them PD problems. There are a ton of them - our profession does not seem to be designed to support embedded, relevant, timely PD. So many things we would love to change... Love your list -- thanks for sharing.
    Clare

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  7. It's an awesome post, Jennifer, something to share with many others! I like each idea, but the "timing" is so important. No one wants a day of PD right before school begins. Teachers are all itching to get into the classroom!

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  8. A great post! I have attended 2 nErD camps and LOVED them. The ability to move to another session is so appreciated as is the passion of a session growing in the moment.

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  9. A great post! I have attended 2 nErD camps and LOVED them. The ability to move to another session is so appreciated as is the passion of a session growing in the moment.

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  10. Thank you for sharing this post. I am not familiar with EdCamp but I plan on figuring out more about them. So many great ideas are out there. Time to go get them!

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  11. I'm the same as you! EdCamp at this point is also my favorite. I'd love to go to a couple larger ones maybe this summer together! :)

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  12. The markers and indicators you have outlined in measuring the relevance of professional learning options are most helpful Jennifer. For someone like myself, who is a frequent presenter your words help me to 'fly right.' Thought provoking and relevant considerations.

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  13. The markers and indicators you have outlined in measuring the relevance of professional learning options are most helpful Jennifer. For someone like myself, who is a frequent presenter your words help me to 'fly right.' Thought provoking and relevant considerations.

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