Summer is always a calmer time. It allows for reflection, for refocus, and time to plot your course moving forward. For us, that means thinking about what professional development we are going to offer when our staff comes back in August. Knowing that we don’t want a sit and get kind of offering I’ve been doing research on different ways we can offer what we know has to be done, but in a manner that sets an example. Here’s what we’re contemplating:
- Starbucks model: What’s the best part about Starbucks? the laid back, friendly vibe. Set up your room for tables of two or four and have drinks and light snacks available. Provide each table with conversation starters, campus questions, or trends that you want them to think about. Have them record their reflections via tweets with your campus hash tag. Show the tweets to the whole campus via Twitterfall or Tweetbeam.
- Your own “Idea Smackdown”: While I’ve seen this done at Edcamps statewide sharing apps, how fun would it be to have your teachers stand up and in 30 seconds share their best classroom management idea, small group math station ideas, or guided reading template tip? Whatever your building initiative is, you can tailor this strategy to support it! Time it and go!
- Breakout Edu: Adam Bellow not only enjoys his steak the RIGHT way, but he is also the CEO of Breakout Edu. Breakout EDU, founded in 2015 by James Sanders and Mark Hammons, provides kits to schools and districts allowing for immersive game play. Specifically, with either a wooden box kit ($119) or a plastic version ($89), a group of individuals has all of the tools required to play one of over 200 games accessed freely on the Breakout EDU website—some developed by the founders, others created by the users themselves. What better way to get your team thinking like a team, than to throw them into Breakout Edu?
- SpeedGeeking: I’ve used speedgeeking (similar to speed dating!) as a way to introduce teachers to new technology applications in a short amount of time. What if you took that same concept and applied to different initiatives happening on your campus? You could also use this method for getting out all of the mundane BTS to do’s, like messages from the nurse, secretary, data clerk, etc.
- a Twitter slow chat: We read “Teach Like a Pirate” several years ago and used this twitter chat model. Not only did it encourage them to be more active on the Twitterverse, but it allowed connections from across the nation as all kinds of educators jumped into the conversation.
- FB book study: Create a closed group. Use Adobe Spark to create discussion questions. Schedule them to post using Postcron. Allow your teachers to answer them within a scheduled window of time. Encourage conversations by responding to posts and asking follow-up questions. We used this last year for Couros’s “Innovator’s Mindset”.
- Take a cruise: Set up tables (but call them “ports of call!!”) with different ideas, articles, information that you need/want to be shared. Invite your teachers to “take a cruise” and visit however many ports you want the to visit. Create a passport where they can record their thoughts/reflections. I anticipate having “ports” they must visit in addition to “fun” ones as well!
I know of a campus that took their team to a swim park last year. Thank goodness I knew better to try something like that, 😉 but now having had my staff for two years, I am thankful that they are willing to do some of these unconventional PD ideas with me!