This week we were supposed to have Monday- Wednesday off and then two days of PD on Thursday and Friday, but with the ASEAN Conference in town schools were directed to close, presumably to make it easier for those involved in the conference to get around town more easily.
Our school pivoted and decided that our PD would be online and asynchronous. They took it one step further and encouraged us to create a module that could teach our colleagues. I am one of those people who loves PD, if I have chosen it…
Maybe, I thought, I could share some of my favorite things and inspire others to give them a go. As with so many things, easier said than done.
Coming up with something to teach for an hour, with no live interaction turned out to be challenging for me. I had lots of topic ideas and then spent many hours on the weekend gathering resources for three. I was stuck, because I could only imagine a page of links that people could explore, but although that would work for me, would that work for others?
I met with our head of professional learning. He maintained there was no one way to do this, no best platform. Some were using slides, others Padlet, a website, Nearpod, the possibilities were endless.
I spent many more hours culling resources, trying to curate a list of what I thought would work best. I decided to start on one module- Building Thinking Classrooms, based on a book by the same name written by Peter Liljedahl. I read it the summer before last and had implemented many of the ideas in our math class. I ended up using slides, including my personal perspective via quick Looms. I also interviewed a few willing students and had them interview me. Then I made my second draft, revised and edited some more.
For my second module I went with reading- picture books are part of how I have always taught and I am often inspired by Jillian Heise’s #ClassroomBookaDay. I went with slides again, following a similar process- draft , revise, edit.
At a certain point I decided good enough was good enough and I was done, but then while on my exercise bike that morning I realized there was one video missing. Careful observers may have noticed my change of clothes, but ah well.
I opened my sharing settings and put them up on the doc for the world to see (well, at least the most intimidating part of the world, my actual colleagues). It went live a few days later and it turns out that I had not changed the sharing settings for the interview videos nor added a Padlet link for people to add their own picture book recommendations after looking through resource lists, but those were quick fixes once I received notice😍.
Then it was on to the real fun- learning from my colleagues. The variety of what people created to share was as diverse as our community. Since I created a module I was only obligated to “attend” five others. I worked through The Real Curriculum (the importance of play), Positive Education, The Importance of Visual Arts, Middle Grade/YA Book Sharing, and The importance of Curiosity (not the actual titles, but just to let you know some of what was inspiring me). I will definitely explore a few more, including Digital Detox, The Importance of Pronouns, and a few others that have caught my eye.
It is always interesting to learn from colleagues and I know I am lucky to have the time set aside to do so.
It was super interesting to reflect on the formats that worked for me and how I balanced learning within my comfort zone and pushing myself. It was also interesting to see that my style as a writer held true for my process creating the modules- vomit on to the page and spend minimal time “cleaning up” afterward.
I also can say with confidence that because I got to choose the sessions I attended I am ready to jump in to try out my new learning.
All of this, of course, has me thinking of the classroom, and how I could leverage the experts in the room and student choice even more…