Tomorrow morning, our staff will take part in an unconference-like In-Service experience. It will be their first day back, so they’ll be expecting to sit for 7 hours and listen to me talk “at them” using Powerpoint slides listing everything I reference verbally. *Yawn*
However, since attending both EdCamp Philly & EdCamp Leadership over the past couple months, I’m committed to tossing my traditional PD approach and trying something new. The goal is to maximize the time they have for collaboration and be be able to share their learning. Call it “Flipped Faculty Meeting.” Call it “EdCamp-style.” Bottom line is that I want the precious few hours I have with my staff to be meaningful learning and sharing opportunities. I want to give them the visual reference and “ok” to think differently in how they go about meeting the diverse needs of this year’s students and families.
The following are some pictures of the set-up, a link to our LIVE Google Doc and what we have planned for the 3 hour morning. I’ll draft Part 2 after the session ends and will also include input from staff now matter if it rocks or flops. This feedback will help shape future “Teacher-centered” PD at Knapp Elementary. Here’s how it’s all set up.
|The Big Board – Before In-Service
5 Preparatory Steps
1) Set a start and end time for your In-Service. For us, I’ve been provided three hours of building time on Day 1. I’ll start at 8AM and end at 11AM.
2) Draft the Big Board. The above Big Board is all set up and ready to go in our Instructional Media Center (IMC), the location where we’ll begin #KnappCamp12 in the morning. Here is where the session times and agenda for the un-conference lives to give others the big pictures.
3) Create sample session topics. Since this is our first staff unconference exercise, I’m keeping it short and providing an idea bank of sorts to help get us going. I’ve included the following topics, as they closely relate to the work in our school, and in knowing my staff and where their educational interests lie. The sides of the Big Board are lined of 3X5 cards with the following topics to be slotted into session times.
• Daily 5
• Twitter 101
• Student Centered
• Classroom Setup
• SIOP/Engaging ESL learners
• RtII Tiered Approach
• H.E.A.T. Walkthroughs
• Starting a classroom blog w/ Kidblog
• Mystery Skype
• Guided Reading
• Student Leadership Classroom Opportunities
• Engaging families
• Maximizing Study Island
• iPads for rtii
• Back to School Night
• Google Doc
• **New District Initiatives
Of course, these are just sample sessions. If someone has a session they’d prefer to facilitate, these pre-packaged sessions can be trumped. The goal is to ensure staff have sessions that are “teacher-centered” with plenty of immediate application for instruction.
4) I’ll explain the purpose of each 35 minute session, and ask for teacher leaders to volunteer and lead a discussion of their choice. Since I have district mandated initiatives to bring my staff up to speed on, I’ve set up one session in red here on the Google Doc to make sure they include my session (in IMC) as 1 of the 3 they will attend during the un-conference.
5) Once the remaining teacher-led 9 sessions are filled in Locations 2-4, teachers have time to select the sessions they will attend and head toward those locations.
As you can see from the un-conference agenda, I included a virtual keynote speaker. With our beginning of year focus on student-centered instruction and encouraging more student voice, I’m leaning on my PLN to provide the most inspiring student voice I’ve heard lately – 17 year-old high student and author of One Size Does Not FIt All: A Student’s Assessment of School Nikhil Goyal. Nikhil and I met in New York City recently at the #140edu conference and he’s thrilled to be provide a student-centered kick-off for Knapp teachers. He’ll provide a short Skype session for us after we watch his Ted Talk on A Learning Revolution.
Of course, I’ll suggest that teachers take notes on a Google Doc for easy share-out, tweet out takeaways using the #KnappCamp12 hashtag and really engage in meaningful discussions and relationship building that lead to instructional applications and continued sharing. There will always be more district initiatives/updates to share with staff, but there are some agenda items that I can easily put into a short video for teachers to refer to later without wasting valuable collaboration time. We’ll decide how an alternative model of PD will work best for us, because like every family, every school culture is different.