Primary Chalkboard: Tips
Showing posts with label Tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tips. Show all posts

Getting the Most Out of Professional Development

You hear it announced at the beginning of the school day and you dread it ALL. DAY. LONG! Or, you are happily enjoying your summer break and you get an email or text that makes your heart drop... PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SESSION- attendance "optional", but not really, if you know what I mean.

Yup, we have all been there before. I will admit that in my 15 years of being in the world of education, I have sat through some pretty crumby professional development sessions/classes where I felt I knew more about the topic being presented than the presenter. I was grouchy and didn't want to listen or hear what was being discussed!

On the flip-side of that, I too, have sat through many AMAZING sessions of professional development where I left inspired, invigorated, and ready to get the proverbial party started!

I have spent the past couple of weeks reflecting on this topic. I am now an administrator who will be giving these professional development opportunities to my staff. What made some sessions so amazing, and others so lame?

I realized it was ME! It dawned on me that I played a HUGE role in the value I got out of those professional development sessions. I also realized that there were some key components to getting the most out of each and every session- regardless of the topic, the presenter, or the time of day!

So, read on, dear PD'er! I am excited to share a few of these tips with you!

1) Have A Positive Attitude
No I am not just saying this because I am a new principal. I have been a negative Ned most of my life. I tend to be very pessimistic about many things.  However, I found that when I had a positive attitude, even if I had to "pretend" I was glad about the PD session, that I was more attentive and willing to listen to what was being shared. I tried to smile more in the session and remind myself that something in this presentation WILL make me a better teacher!

Also, be sure to avoid or shut down negative talk about professional development. A simple, "Really? I am looking forward to our meeting today!" is usually enough to get the negative Nellys and Neds to zip it!

2) Get AND Use A PD Notebook/Journal
I learned the value of this from my second principal- Jane Friel. She was a ROCK STAR at modeling for us as teachers things to do and try in our classrooms during PD sessions and Faculty meetings. Each year we would get a new composition notebook that had our name, grade, and year on it. Sometimes were "required" to take notes or reflect on the the learning of the meeting, but mostly it was a place to write down key ideas and take-away points from articles/presentations that were part of the on-going PD at that school. I still have all THREE of the ones I received while working in her school. Even better, I still flip through them from time to time and find the learning still relevant to me today!

I found that when I listened with the foreknowledge of wanting to write down the key ideas, I was able to focus and truly listen. It made a HUGE difference in my learning and understanding.

3) Have A Discussion ASAP!
I have found that when I sit down, whether it is later that day or the next, with a colleague that also attended (or even one that didn't) and discuss key points, that I am able to better retain the information, get new insights from the person I am sharing with, and have a more positive experience overall. In fact, knowing that I will be sharing with someone else, makes me take better notes and ponder about ideas.

However, note that sitting next to your besties and talking off-topic the whole time will NOT be a helpful activity. Side-conversation is distracting to others around you and a real downer for the person presenting. To top it all off, it makes you look unprofessional as well- something we ALL want to avoid!

If no one wants to listen to you when it is all said and done, then write a Facebook post, blog post, share your ideas on Instagram, or even do a quick Periscope video- someone out there will listen and respond! I know I would!

So, I want to make it clear that I understand that some professional development will just suck eggs. That's all there is to it! Sometimes the required topics are annoying- or "just another thing" we have to do. But, if we refer to Tip #1, we will find that regardless of the topic- something useful, positive, and constructive can truly come from ANY training, in-service, or session you are required to attend.

And, if the offering is optional- make it a point to go. Knowing you are there because you CAN be and not because you HAVE to be, will also make a huge difference in your attitude and learning.

Now that I have shared my TOP 3 TIPS for GETTING THE MOST OUT OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT with you- it's YOUR turn! I would love to hear what tips you have to offer about how to get the most out of professional development! Leave your thoughts in the comment section below! I can't wait to hear from you! SCORE!

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful WEEK! WAHOO!

John, Created by MrHughes

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Don't miss the other AWESOME posts from this month. 
Click on the picture to learn and read more! WAHOO!

Reading Center Ideas for Your Classroom!

Hi! Naomi here, from Read Like A Rock Star! This is my first post on the "chalkboard", and I'm so excited! 
I love reading centers! Ever since I was interning and watched the amazingly talented Danielle Peeples run reading centers seamlessly, I was in love. They were so organized, so effective, and so engaging. She is an incredible teacher! I started reading centers my first day of teaching, and I've never looked back. Hopefully you can get some ideas for centers in your class!

I have 18 students in my class. I have two groups of 4, and two groups of 5. Each group rotates through 4 centers EVERY day; SmartBoard, Computer, Teacher, and Reading Center. Each center lasts for 15-20 minutes.
At the board I might give them a response worksheet, a story map to fill out, a writing prompt, or a dry erase board to record their answers.

Common Core Guided Reading Sheets and Center for 1st-3rd

My table, the computer center, and the SmartBoard center are easy to take care of each day. The hardest center for me to come up with is the reading center. But I learned to work smarter and not harder. Something as simple as independent reading can happen here if you don't have a lot of time to plan. Grabbing a quick item off of TpT is always an option too! Here are some more ideas!

I put out books, a microphone for discussion, and some discussion cards and I instantly have a book club. This meeting can last up to 3 or 4 days with all of the book club activities involved.

Super "e" Heroes-A cvce Word Game

Sound Box Fun-CVC Elkonin Boxes

My last reading center tip, is to invest in a portable doorbell. I got one at Wal-Mart for about 10 bucks. I ring my bell at the end of each rotation. My students are trained to freeze, clean up their area, then switch to the next area. That's another amazing idea from my dear mentor and friend, Danielle.

Grab this Reading and Math Centers Learning Passport Freebie!

You can use the reading center passport to check if your students are reaching their learning goals during centers! It's FREE so check it out! It's a great and fun way to keep the accountable and assess what they've learned.

Hope you found this post helpful!

Countdown to Turkey Time!

Happy almost Thanksgiving Break! 
Tammy and Christy here from Fluttering Through First Grade, officially counting down to turkey time. 

We're pretty sure you may be counting down too...
Us teachers have a tendency to do that. 

November is a quick month for us at school {Insert two teachers jumping for joy, maybe, *possibly* even screaming like school girls here}, but just enough time to share some of our favorite activities.
We love to bring the story of Thanksgiving to life with Dr. Jean's Thanksgiving bracelet. You can read about it {here}. We created a class read aloud poster and worksheet to go along with the bracelet. It's free by clicking the image above. Enjoy!
A class that cooks together, stays together. Right? Well, for the school year at least. 
We are one of the *lucky* classes who get to go to school the few days before Thanksgiving.
Are you *lucky* too?
It's the perfect opportunity to sharpen our annual cooking skills by baking with our class.
We pull up our sleeves and bake pumpkin bread turkeys with our favorite little turkeys.
This will be our 12th year baking for Thanksgiving. It quickly became an experience they remember for years to come. Plus, the pumpkin bread is kind of ridiculously moist and super delicious...just saying.
On the days that drag follow we decorate our turkey pumpkin breads to look like turkeys and take our class through the entire writing process about their baking experience.
We collect one pound coffee cans for this project, but have adapted it so you can use small bread loaf pans as well. We bake in our school oven, but have also asked parents to take them home to bake or have even stuffed our own ovens. 
Click the pic above to see it in our TpT Shop.
Ummm...We know. We love him too.
We make these every year for our parent volunteers. But, shhh...Please don't tell them. We haven't made them quite yet this year. We know, we'd better get cracking crafting!
Are you a crafter? 
Is that a silly question for a teacher?
If you answered, yes and yes,  hop on over to our blog {here}to see how to make him too.

Happy Thanksgiving sweet friends!