A Tale of 3 PD Sessions

 It was the best of times, it was ... Wait. You know what is shocking? Two of the sessions really were the best of times.

Tuesday was a district-wide PD day. Most staff members were at their schools. I don't know what happened in those sessions. I only know that it was all data related.

Session #1
I attended the Media Specialist PD at the district office. This session started with whole group introductions. I'm not usually a fan of these because generally everyone already knows each other. This group doesn't get together very often and I had never been with this group, so it was beneficial for me. 

Everyone gave one thing that had gone really well for them this year as an introduction.  I came away from the introductions with 4 really cool ideas that I hope use soon and will write about.

After introductions, we broke into grade level groups and chatted. Simple chat about what teachers were doing in their classrooms with technology. I shared some of what I was doing and showed my website, lesson plans, and projects. Then I listened to 3 other teachers talk about their classrooms and their projects.

Time to simply chat with other teachers, listen to their ideas, and get feedback on your ideas is by far the most beneficial PD that I can attend.

Session #2
My second session was with the 5th grade team that I work with around AVID strategies. Our team requested an hour and half to backwards plan from the next set of assessments and how to incorporate Costa's Levels of Questions. The team included 3 fifth grade teachers, a reading resource teacher, 2 special education teachers, and me (AVID coordinator). The teachers figured out 5 areas that they need to focus on. From there, we found or created resources for each area. Lastly, they created a pre/post assessment for students to self-assess with.

We did all this in a Google Doc that we were all collaborating on at the same time. I wish that I could have video taped the whole session because it could be a commercial for Google Docs.  The main doc had 5 or 6 links to other docs and a couple links to outside sources. In my eyes, it is a super powerful document.

There are a couple of things that stand in my head from this session. First, the power of a focused team is pretty amazing. Second, teachers need a person that can provide technology integration training on a regular basis. I, being the most knowledgeable at Google Docs, taught this group how to share documents, how to make links in a document, and how to set some simple permissions.

The concept of teaching teachers technology might help shape my decision on a position for next year.

Session #3
Sitting, listening, being talked at.

My afternoon was spent listening to PDPLC groups their cycle 2 data. The only good thing about this was that each group presented their own data. 

The second part of this session was listening to a PowerPoint about bullying. Sitting, reading slides to me, and listening. No discussion, no classroom teacher feedback.

The third part was how to teach to the test. We were told strategies to increase success on standardized tests. Teaching to the test. I just can't stand this.