August 6, 2016

Planning PD

While procrastinating designing a workshop I ran in the end of July I asked twitter about their professional development pet peeves and favorites. They had a lot to say! Check out the full story here:

Using the ideas from the discussion I created a structure for the three hour workshop:
 I started the session with participants making name tents and introducing themselves to their table mates. No games and no gimmicks because I don't like them (and neither did some other people who responded). There was a handout for people to work on as they came in (yay task for introverts to avoid small talk without being awkward!). Then after some brief intro material we jumped into a task (card sorting) and gallery walk (get up and move!). Each time we completed an activity that I also run in my classroom I shared some "Teacher Tactics" (they aren't tricks!) about how I make the activity run well with kids. I did some talking and then an hour into the session we took a break. I used Dan Meyer's suggestion to tell people to make a note or talk to your neighbor at this point. I offered a parking lot for questions but didn't get many (1-2 each session). Any questions I did receive we discussed after each break. Then people finished working on the handout they had started earlier (provided time for the on time arrivals and encouraged more conversation). Half way through the session I had people shuffle tables, but they grumbled about it a bit so I'm not sure it was worth it. The goal was to get them to change partners and work with a new group for the next handout. Another handout, an opportunity for people to come up and share, and then we were into the wrap up! Time flew, conversations were great and we didn't get to spend any time developing lessons for their classrooms. However, I didn't skip the close! I had each participant record one thing they wanted to change in their classroom the upcoming year before they left.

At the end, one of the participants came up to me and thanked me for not reading the long slides to them. It was the afternoon session and I was thankful to reach a slide with a long quote because I got to rest my voice and have some water! I forget that I don't talk so much in the summer and especially not in my teacher voice required to project to a large room. I love when things I need (a break) work out well for the participants (a chance to read). I also appreciated that I planned some breaks that lead right into work time because I could sneak out to the bathroom. Basic things

Even though the session was about Nix the Tricks I couldn't possibly do a presentation without introducing people to all the resources of our awesome community. I included an active link on any slide that referenced someone, as well as their photo in the corner. Personalizing the resources helped emphasize that we're a community plus I loved having pictures of my friends in my presentation! To share the presentation and other resources with participants I created a google drive folder and put a link to it on chart paper in the front of the room. Then I could add photos to the folder as I took them on my phone and created a google doc of additional resources that I mentioned in conversation as well as resources that participants shared.

Overall I had a great time running these workshops. I found them a lot more fun than presenting at a conference. I'm not sure if it was because I had more time or because it was summer, but I would love to continue running workshops. Especially ones during my summer so I don't have to balance missing school and travel time!

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