On Monday, we had a professional development day that was just a little different.
We did something very similar to this last year as well, and I’m hoping that we continue to do this in the future. For me, as a teacher, professional development has changed drastically. We’ve gone from the full day “sit and get”, where you suffer through things in hopes of finding that little nugget of goodness, towards an Edcamp approach (see my posts here, here, and here about my previous Edcamp experiences).
First, we had Dr. Alan Zimmerman (@Dr_Zimmerman) come and speak to us three different times during the day. If you’ve not heard Dr. Zimmerman speak, you need to find a time to do so. He presents such a powerful message of attitude and positive thinking that it’s hard to walk out not being excited! The one thing that stuck with me most, just the idea of always trying to see the positives in every situation. One of the first quotes we talk about in class or at the first basketball practice is “Have an attitude of gratitude”. I’m sure my students get tired of me reminding them that while they may not have the most up to date phone or the latest fashion, that their lives carry so much meaning and value. If I can be that example of how to this goes, maybe they’ll buy into it themselves! 🙂
After our first session with Dr. Zimmerman, we had break out sessions on topics ranging from standards based grading to project based learning to teacher leadership. I attended a session dealing with personalized professional development held by a technology specialist, Jarod Bormann (@jbormann3). He’s developed a great system of personalized PD in several districts, and just hearing the inter-workings of it make me hopeful that it will land in our district sometime soon! Here is an example of what he’s done in one of his district. Send him a tweet to find out more as he’s very passionate about this topic!
And finally, we did a Edcamp style breakout session, giving some topcis we’d like to know more about. Well, for some reason, I got linked into a gameification/Minecraft session which I knew very little about. But, many of the people in the session had never really done a style like this, so we talked through what Edcamps were, how they worked, and then I showed the very little knowledge I had about Minecraft. I was very lucky in that Matt Molumby (@DocMolumby) saved me as he’s both a player and someone who’s used it in class. His help was greatly appreciated in both being able to explain what Minecraft is and how he used it in his class. A wonderful resource if you are looking to jump into the world of building! We had others using different flash games to simulate different things along with Kahoot being thrown out as a great resource as well.
With the positive message of Dr. Zimmerman, it’s hard not to reflect on this day without thinking of all the positives that happened! Last year, we had Kevin Honeycutt come in, which was pretty awesome in itself, but the edcamp style made this a great day. I do hope we continue with a PD model like this, at least with one of our days, because we can learn so much from the districts around us, what works and doesn’t work, along with just making those connections to local teachers.