From the beginning of the year, we've been trying to find opportunities to showcase some of the amazing things our staff currently does. The idea of mini PD's and break-out sessions came to life after experiencing Edcamps this summer and an encouraging break-out session the elementary participated in at Dunkerton earlier in the year! One staff member from our elementary even led his own session.
We asked our Specialists what topics they would be comfortable presenting on and from there...the idea took off! Monday we had our first ever break-out sessions led by our own staff! We offered nine different sessions on various topics. Some topics were broad, some were very specific. Some sessions were more full than others and had thus had to be split into two!
In the days leading up to this, nerves ran high (at least for me). I worried about how well the sessions would be received, whether or not I would fumble on my words again and say something weird (ask the middle school if you want to hear my failure at saying Twitter), and overall whether our staff would find something usable in our presentations.
Educators are humble people. We do our best every day for our students. We strive to make their day positive even when ours may not be. We strive to find new ways to engage them and tailor it to their individual needs. But...we are humble. We often think that what we're doing is just "normal" and that everyone does it.
What our staff at Jesup does is outstanding. Our break-out sessions were a complete success and some even said, the "best PD day they've ever had." And all we did was share what we were currently doing in our classrooms or things we thought could be useful to others. We asked our presenter teachers to allow time for questions, discussions, and collaboration. Time to tinker with technology or find a way to adapt this new knowledge into their own classrooms.
The feedback we received from teachers was extremely encouraging and overwhelming positive! Most believed they learned something they could implement in their own classroom and would enjoy doing that type of PD again.
Even more exciting - I myself have seen people trying things from Monday's PD already! If you have tried something and want to share it with us, send it to me via email or tweet it to me (@Mrs_Thornton10 or #jtlpsummitawaits).
I've even already heard people who aren't on the Teacher Leadership Team talking about what they would like to share with others! Let's face it...we're all leaders! We just need the opportunity to share what we know and become a leader! We might be perfect, but together we're pretty amazing!
Wanting to know more about your questioning skills? Mr. Sullivan recently worked with Dean to analyze just that! Below are Mr. Sullivan's comments on the experience:
"Dean observed a couple classes and recorded my questions. We then analyzed the questions for the depth of knowledge. It was a great opportunity to really see what I was asking and analyze HOW I was asking it. This experience will make me more aware of how I elicit responses and get students engaged by improving the way I ask questions."
It's all about thinking deeper and working together to create more meaningful experiences for our students. Ask Dean about this if you would like to try it yourself!
Trela & I (Sam..your author for today's post) recently went to ITEC and learned about so many amazing instructional tools, strategies, and tips we wanted to try and tell others about! One session on podcasting inspired Trela to have her students complete a podcast similar to one she teaches about toward the end of October.
She's also had her students start experiment with blogging recently and wants to start using Quadblog in the next couple of months! She's also started embracing Twitter and all it's amazingness! Yes...amazingness! Now, if I can only get her to try Snapchat!
Industrial Technology Instructor, Alex Ruehlow, uses measurement in his day to day teachings and has found that students struggle with finding AREA in real life situations of construction. He recently took a learning walk into Alex O'Connell's Algebra class and found another way to approach the teaching of area to his construction students. As stated, "I will use this with my construction students in estimating." He discovered how he could break the concept down into simpler words/steps so all students would understand and be successful.
Mrs. OZ & Mrs. Nolting recently started co-teaching their two sections of 6th grade Language Arts classes! Check out the some of benefits of co-teaching that both the students and Mrs. Nolting shared with us!
"I feel this has been beneficial not just to us as far as planning and delivering the information, but to students as well. Although they are in a much larger class (28 students) many students have expressed that it is quieter and they are learning more. They cite the presence of 2 teachers. Mostly, they believe they benefit when one is teaching and the other is available to answer immediate questions. It also doubles the number of students who can be helped when there is work time. Additionally, many students understand that they may not learn the same topics in the same way. Having another teacher in the room allows more than one way to teach a topic."
Interested in a trying a co-teach with a Connector? Contact us today! :D