A collection of thoughts and resources to help educators stay effective and fresh.

Category Archives: digital collaboration

the pd problem 2

Recently I explored what is wrong with professional development. I have come to the conclusion that by making the effort to ensure that PD is relevant, valuable, and delivered in a way that is respectful of the expertise and differences of our adult learners, we can eliminate the majority of the problem with PD. With the addition of an element of fun, PD can go from something we endure to something we yearn for.  The recipe for success with professional development, is simply to approach teaching educators with the same pedagogy that we say should be employed with our students.

There are a multitude of articles written on the importance to make learning relevant for students who are children, that need is equally as great with adult students. Think about how many times you have tuned out from a training due to the topic being something that does not apply to you??? We can create relevance in our PD by differentiating to meet our adult learner’s needs. We add value by making sure that educators come away from every PD with something they can put right to use in their classrooms. If we do those things, and add in a sprinkle of fun, then our PD can be like an award winning recipe!

Let’s look at  an example of a recent professional development I did where I attempted to include those elements.

recipe card

Recently I met with my school faculty to discuss ways that we could go about vocabulary review as we begin prep for end of year testing. I began by very quickly reviewing Marzano’s Six Step Process for teaching Academic Vocabulary. Then using templates from NC Digital Leaders Coaching Network leader, Abbie Futrell, we played a round of Chopp-Ed Vocabulary Edition.  Each teacher was given a digital basket of ingredients (which included a broken copy machine) and were tasked to create a recipe card with a vocabulary practice activity. I gave teachers 15 minutes to work and they presented their recipes. The winning recipe in each group earned a jeans pass for the “chef.”  

Without a doubt, this was a fun activity! The activity was energized by the need to beat the clock and the competitive edge to develop the best recipe.  The quality of the activities designed by our teachers reflected this energy. By allowing teachers to be creators of their own knowledge, and acknowledging their personal expertise the PD session reached a level of engagement that I rarely see in teacher trainings.  The fact that teachers walked away with a whole recipe book of vocabulary activities they could put to use added great value to the time spent, and resulted in a quality teaching resource.
I’m so proud of what my teachers developed during Chopp-Ed Vocabulary Edition that I wanted to share this resource with you as well.   

All ChoppED Recipe Cards


grand openingFor quite a while, I have thought about and intended to get back to blogging about education and learning. I feel there is such power in collaboration and sharing which can be accomplished through an online Professional Learning Network. I certainly benefit greatly from the connections I have made through Twitter, Pinterest, and Linked In. My digital PLN is probably my single most valuable source of professional development and learning about new trends in education, technology tools, and teaching strategies. I have become quite an adept researcher and consumer, and I know that I have potential to give back to my PLN by sharing my own expertise.

To this point that has been limited to a few inconsistent attempts to blog, and my many many retweets and pins of great content and ideas which I have found. It is time that I “practice what I preach” to the faculty at my school and do some better sharing of my own ideas and thoughts.  Hence the “Grand Opening” of Apples for the Teacher. A cliched name for sure, but with multiple meanings. I want this to be a gift to other educators; giving back in return for the great benefit I have received through collaborating with my virtual PLN. I also want this blog to serve as a tool to help “keep the doctor away” so to speak for teachers, in the sense that I’d like to provide virtual coaching and support that all educators need to grow from good to great.

I will do my very best to post at least once a week. With testing season ahead, and my new (yippee!) role as testing coordinator on my plate, this will be tough. So the first thing I’m going to do is use one of my most valued tech tools and add a reminder to my Google Calendar to write a post each week.  I have plenty to say, let’s just hope I can make the time to sit down and write it out to share!



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