6 Keys to Planning and Delivering Effective Professional Learning

rockstarconcertplaylist

This blog post is part of the CM Rubin World Global Search for Education which poses a question each month to leading educators for reflection and sharing. This month’s question is If you were calling the shots how would you change ongoing professional development for teachers in your community?”

Five years ago I made the leap from the classroom to a consultant role and went from teaching kids to teaching adults. Currently, I support educators in the areas of literacy, technology, AIW, and project-based learning. Working with adult learners is both challenging and rewarding. At first, I was unsure if I was cut out for this new role but over the years I have come to embrace the challenges and celebrate the victories that transfer into wins for kids!

I will be the first to admit I still have room for growth and improvement as a staff developer, but I quickly learned there are major differences between pedagogy and andragogy (the art and science of adult learning). When working with adults I keep in mind 6 Keys to Effective Professional Learning when planning and delivering professional learning. Some of these ideas were introduced to me by Nancy Lockett, as well as through personal studies on my own.

6 Keys to Planning and Delivering Effective Professional Learning:

1. Respect – Establish and recognize the importance of verbal territory. With adult learners, it is essential to get them talking within the first 5 minutes so all voices are heard. It is also a great time to identify the vast knowledge and experience they bring to the learning by having them create a “Group Resume” with their combined years, areas of expertise, certificates, and passions. This could be done as a table and shared out as a large group. Taking time at the beginning of the day to do these activities sets a tone of I value You and, together, We have vast experience and knowledge.

2. Start with the why- Just as students in the classroom find relevance when they understand the Why, so too do adult learners. Right from the start, professional learning should include the Why with an answer to the question – What problem are we solving? Starting with the What, Why, and How satisfies the adult learners Need to Know. If you are unclear with the learning target and the Why, the educators will be too.

3. Opener vs IceBreaker – Openers, YES, IceBreakers, NO. A common mistake that facilitators of professional learning make is starting off the day with an irrelevant IceBreaker. Instead, try an Opener. An Opener should do three things. First, it needs to breaks preoccupation with all of the things that are weighing them down. Second, an opener should allow for networking. Third, an opener needs to have a training point. While there are many icebreakers out there to use, be sure to make sure you start with an opener instead. Get them talking about what you want them to be thinking about.

4. Inquiry-Based Professional Learning (ADA format) – When planning the bulk of the learning, I like to follow the ADA format, Activity, Discussion, Application. This format recognizes the importance of collegial collaboration and feedback. Through inquiry, adult learners construct their own knowledge; they Learn by Doing. Inquiry-Based Learning using the ADA format allows educators to Do, Talk, and Apply. It is through the conversations with colleagues and the personal reflection and application that the Why of the day is reinforced, as well as the personal application. It makes it relevant to them and their students!  

5. Progression of Learning – Before, during, and at the end of the professional learning it is essential to recognize and identify where individuals are in terms of the progressions of learning:

  • US – Unconsciously Skilled
  • CS – Consciously Skilled
  • CU – Consciously Unskilled
  • UU – Unconsciously Unskilled

This identification is important for both the staff developer and educator. The knowledge not only helps with differentiating the learning, but also provides the adult learner insight into their own beliefs, attitudes, and needs. Consciously Unskilled is the place where you lose most adult-learners when they realize that they have been doing it wrong.  

6. Closers – Finally, it is important to never shorten time at end of the day, always have a proper closing activity. The strategy that I like to use is Connect, Reflect, Direct.  Allow educators time to Connect to what they had learned throughout the day, Reflect on how it is applicable to them, their students, their instruction; and Direct on what their next steps are to achieve the goals they set forth from the reflection(either as a staff or individual).
Planning and delivering professional learning is both challenging and rewarding. It’s a chance to work with staff members on a common focus while differentiating to meet needs of all and personalizing to support individual growth. I am continually learning from others how best to develop my skills and hoped that I offered you things to consider. Please comment below with some of your favorite strategies or frameworks and check out this post Steven Anderson and I wrote about ways Connected Educators can continue to develop professionally. Enjoy the rest of your summer, August is just around the corner.

How to Create a Google My Maps Challenge

Social Media Challenge

During a session at ISTE17, Steven Anderson and I created an interactive, group challenge to kick it off. We had educators assemble into teams, pick a team name, and gave them a link to a Google My Maps. The link took the teams to a location where they learned about a social media platform, had a task to complete, submitted their answers, and then raced off to the next location.

It was engaging, collaborative, and a competition which helped to energize the educators on the last day of the conference. As promised, I created a template and step by step directions for all those wanting to recreate their own Google My Maps Challenge. I encourage you to use both resources and make a copy for yourself to use and share.

I was introduced to this concept at the Google Innovator Academy and fell in love with the idea of using this type of challenge with educators and students. I have created these types of interactive activities for many different learning objectives (cross-discipline literacy to learning Google Suite Tools). I also believe that modeling this activity provides other educators with inspiration to try something different in their own classroom and consider the use of technology to differentiate in the classroom meeting the needs of all students. 

Thanks to all that attending our session and loved this activity! Hope this post helps and reach out if you need more assistance! Steven and Shaelynn’s Session Resources found here: Snapping, Gramming, and Scoping Your Way to Engagement

G-Suite to Support Student Writing, Google Teacher Tribe Podcast

Day 3 Digital Storytelling

When I got the inquiry to record a podcast with my friends Kasey Bell and Matt Miller on their weekly Google Teacher Tribe show I jumped at the chance to talk about the many options to support student writing using GSuite. I met Kasey and Matt at the Austin Google Teacher Academy (now called Google Innovator) and am a huge fan of their work to support teachers and students at a global level.

I have recently seen a reemergence of podcasts as a way to connect and share information and stories and was honored to be part of their “Tribe”. Listen to Podcast 13 where I share information on student writing and how Google can support the process and be sure to subscribe to their podcast for more Googley Information.

Shaelynn’s List of Google Resources, Apps, Add-Ons, and Extensions to Support Writing

Brainstorm Drafting/Writing Revising/Editing Publishing
Draw

Mindmup

Mindmeister

Coggle

Brainstorming Race

Google Scholar

Google Books

Google Save

GSuite

Explore in Docs

Translate

Voice Typing

Google Similar Pages

 

 

 

Keep

Highlighting Tool

Grammarly

Read & Write

Bitmojis

Text Help Study Skills

 

 

Any GSuite

Blogger

YouTube

Google Sites

 

 

 

 

Assessment/Feedback Apps/Exts./Add-Ons Citations Copyright-free Images
Joe Zoo Express

Orange Slice

Kaizena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Tab

Google Similar Pages

Grammarly

Google Save

Screencastify

First Draft News Check

Hypothesis

Hemingway App

Storyboard That

Soundtrap

Book Creator (Coming Soon)

Powtoon

Sketchboard

EasyBib

Cite This for Me

Apogee

Wayback Machine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Noun Project

Pixaby

Unsplash 

Realistic Shots

Life of Pix 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me know if you have others to add to my list and be sure to check back soon as I am releasing a book in the fall that will support all your literacy needs through an EdTech Redesign! Sign up on this Google Form to be notified when my book is out!

7 Alternatives to Traditional Vocabulary Tests

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It is through vocabulary that information is accessed and content learned. There is no disagreement in the importance of a robust vocabulary for all students; it allows them to comprehend more of what they read and write better. But the way we review and test vocabulary is often very painful, and it doesn’t have to be. So toss aside your fill-in-the-blank tests and multiple choice bubble sheets and try one of these out before the end of the year.

 

7 Alternatives to the Traditional Vocabulary Test

  1. Name That Vocab. Tune – Students love music, in fact, I bet most kids under 18 have earbuds in right now and are jamming out to their favorite tunes as they are studying. Why not amplify this love of music on a vocabulary review or assessment. “Name That Vocab. Tune” has students create a catchy title for a song using the word given. To further demonstrate understanding, students explain and justify their song title and how the vocabulary word fits their thinking.

 

Word Song Title Justification
Juxtapose Black Juxtaposition of Our Hearts When you really love someone and they have no interest in you at all then your heart would be red but their heart would be black and by placing them side by side …

 

2. Sketch Vocabulary – Sketch vocabulary is an activity that allows students to use their creative side to illustrate the meaning of vocabulary words. This strategy can be both low-tech with paper, pencils, and markers; or high-tech using apps like Procreate , Paper 53 , or even the new drawing function with Google Keep (perfect for Chromebooks).

Screenshot 2017-03-30 at 7.23.51 PM

3. SAN – SANs strategy has students identify a word that is the synonym, the antonym or no relation at all to the vocabulary term listed. It not only forces their brain to think of the word differently but also increases their vocabulary by flooding their brain with different options.

Example   Disruptive

  • Clumsy (N)
  • Calm (A)
  • Troublesome (S)

4. How Does it Relate? – This strategy has students call upon prior learning during the test. Have students list and make associations to previous words learned and listed on the word wall in the classroom. Answering the prompt, what is the connection?, further demands deep thinking while students are wrestling with essential vocabulary.

5. Skit or Dialogue – Using the vocabulary words, students can write a short skit or lines of dialogue individually or with a partner or small group. When finished, perform their scripts to each other or a wider audience. Or take their writing online and have them create comics. A few of my favorite resources to explore, Storyboard That (Chromebook) and BookCreator.

Screenshot 2017-03-30 at 7.40.37 PM.png

6. 1 of 2 – This strategy has the students considering 2 sentences and identify which one uses the vocabulary word correctly. This is great when working on words with multiple meanings or focusing on a specific morpheme.

7. Tableau – Finally, a tableau is a group of models or motionless figures that represent a scene. In this case, students are given a vocabulary word and have 3 minutes to brainstorm their tableau that demonstrates the meaning of the word for the class. This fun activity has students collaborating and up and moving.  

 

Edtech Bonus for Vocabulary:

Quizlet

Worducate

Spell It

Spell Up

15 EdTech Women Making an Impact!

WOW! (2)

March is known as Women’s History Month and this year the theme honors Trailblazers whose passion has influenced their respective field of work. This month I plan to highlight groups of Edtech Women each Friday that are leading the way in our field, celebrating their passion, innovations, and work. These women are helping to lead the way in creating a change in the field of education that is best for kids around the world. You can read last Friday’s post here.

 

marisa

 

Marisa Dahl, Instructional Tech Consultant

 

kayeKaye Henrickson, Instructional Services Director at CESA #4 in Western Wisconsin

  • “If I can help move the needle, even a little bit, to support others in existing as safe, positive, and self-directed learners, I can land on that as a success.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Google Keep, Edpuzzle, Fitbit
  • Advice: Even small steps forward in your learning are steps forward. Honor that and keep moving.
  • Connect with Kaye: Twitter @kayehenrickson LinkedIn, FB, Pinterest, Instagram: Kaye Henrickson

 

ShanaShana White, Local School Technology Coordinator

  • “I purposefully disrupt the status quo and work daily to provide and support innovative and engaging opportunities for my students and teachers.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Twitter, GSuite, DiscoveryEd
  • Advice: Mediocrity is easy and comfortable. Great is uncomfortable, hard, but beautiful. Dare and challenge yourself to be great for kids.
  • Connect with Shana: Twitter @ShanaVWhite Blog www.shanavwhite.com Email shanavidalwhite@gmail.com

 

christineChristine Boyer, 5th Grade Teacher & Makerspace Curator

  • “Connectedness: bringing teachers, students and community together because learning can not just happen within the walls of the classroom.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Make Writing by Angela Stockman (e-book), Evernote for record keeping, Explain Everything for documenting
  • Advice: Teach from the heart – get to know your students well and teach to their hearts.
  • Connect with Christine: Twitter @5Boyer  Email cboyer@scarsdaleschools.org

kaylaKayla Delzer, 3rd Grade Teacher and International Keynote Speaker

  • If it’s right for kids, it’s right.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Seesaw, Epic! Books for Kids App, Augmented and Virtual Reality
  • Advice: One thing I’ve really embraced over the last few years is to dive into unfamiliar or new things head on. Don’t wait for the perfect time or a new school year to get started. My comfort level is less important than doing what’s best for kids. Best practice starts now.
  • Connect with Kayla: Twitter @TopDogTeaching @topdogteaching on SM, topdogteaching.com

 

JodieJodie Deinhammer, Teacher

  • “Challenging kids to think differently.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Numbers, iMovie, Flipgrid
  • Advice: Set the bar high because kids are capable of more than is typically expected of them.
  • Connect with Jodie: Twitter @jdeinhammer and  jdeinhammer@coppellisd.com

 

 

cariCari Teske, Tech Integrationist

  • “To share my passion of learning with others so that it ripples for eternity.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Google Expeditions, Breakout EDU, Seesaw
  • Advice: Students always remember how you made them feel.
  • Connect with Cari: Twitter @cariteske, Email cteske@aea267.k12.ia.us

 

MindyMindy Cairney, Digital Learning Consultant at Grant Wood AEA

  • “My driving force is to help education evolve into an empowering experience for students and teachers.“
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Seesaw, CoSpaces, and all things Virtual Reality
  • Advice: Find something that brings fire into your soul. Walk away from things that don’t.
  • Connect with Mindy: Twitter @TeamCairney Email mcairney@gwaea.org

 

hadleyHadley Ferguson, Executive Director, Edcamp Foundation

  • “It’s always about creating the learning spaces for that spark of understanding, the light in the eyes moments, whether for students or adults.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Slack, Google Calendar, Wunderlist
  • Advice: Never stop learning; keep personal growth as one of your goals! It will make you a better educator!
  • Connect with Hadley: Twitter @hadleyjf Email hadley@edcamp.org

 

mickieMickie Mueller, Educational Technology Facilitator

  • “Always keep learning, always keep stretching, always keep growing.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Google Classroom, Canva, Seesaw
  • Advice: You’ve got to get out of your comfort zone to truly grow. As educators, we must always be willing to learn and try new things. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Build a PLN of trusted friends and confidants, those people who will support you and more importantly challenge you.
  • Connect with Mickie: Twitter @Mickie_Mueller

 

MichelleMichelle Baldwin, Lead Teacher, Anastasis Academy

  • “My passion is inspiring kids to follow their curiosity, and that mostly requires me to simply get out of their way.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Google Keep, One Tab, Seesaw
  • Advice: Getting to truly know your students – their interests, how they think they learn, what they’re curious about, etc. – should always be your top priority. Everything else is secondary to that. WHO we teach is far more important that WHAT we teach.
  • Connect with Michelle: Twitter @michellek107  

 

AmberAmber Teamann, proud principal of Whitt Elementary in Wylie, Tx

  • “My passion as an educator is to inspire a love of learning in all I come in contact with, empowering each and every person to be the very best version of themself they can be.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Adobe Spark, Voxer, Facebook Groups for learning
  • Advice: Share, share, share. Connections are one of the easiest, free ways to grow and learn. Your PLN can become some of your best friends and truly make you a better educator. Everyone needs a spark every now and then…YOU could be just what someone needs as a catalyst for change!
  • Connect with Amber: Twitter@8Amber8  Website www.amberteamann.com

 

KaseyBell1WebSQKasey Bell, Digital Learning Consultant

  • “I am passionate about doing what’s best for kids and leveraging digital tools (and everything else at our disposal) to improve student learning.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: NYT VR, Google Keep, Story Wars
  • Advice: Question everything that is done in schools! Education is slow to change, and it’s in need a big change. We have to question the reasons we do everything so we can rethink education. Don’t assume it is someone else’s job to speak up for what’s best for kids.
  • Connect with Kasey: Twitter @ShakeUpLearning Website/Blog www.ShakeUpLearning.com

 

MeenooMeenoo Rami, Manager Minecraft Education at Microsoft

  • “The throughline to all that I’ve done is to help connect to educators to one and another so they can leverage students’ inquiries and interest to power learning.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Minecraft Education Edition
  • Advice: You don’t  have to go at it alone, there are many, including me, who would love to support you on your journey as an educator.
  • Connect with Meenoo: Twitter @meenoorami or at meenoorami.org

 

rusulRusul Alrubail, Executive Director of the Writing Project

  • “I’ve made it my life’s mission to help students see that their voice matters.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: The Writing Project, Teaching Tolerance, Educolor
  • Advice: Be yourself! It is your true and authentic self that allows people to see you as a person and connect with you as an individual.
  • Connect with Rusul: Twitter @RusulAlrubail