Writing my way through the school year!

Posts tagged ‘Professional development’

Discovering “Discovery Education! It’s Not Just Videos Anymore!”

I remember when I began using Discovery Education. It was years ago, and I was excited because they had great videos per United Streaming, that I could show my students!
Well, Discovery Ed has come a long way baby, and it’s not just about videos anymore!
As a matter of fact, there is so much more to Discovery,that I couldn’t possibly cover it in this post!…Read more


PhotoPeach Makes an Old Lesson Juicy!

I attended a DEN workshop(Discovery Education Network) weeks ago. I always love professional development where I can take away at least one thing I didn’t know. I took away more than one thing, but I am going to share this one, PhotoPeach as a quiz! When Cynthia Brown shared this little tidbit, I knew immediately what I was going to do with it!

At the beginning of each school year, I want my students to learn about me, just as I learn about them. So, I post a brief biography about myself on our class Edublogs page, and then I have my students fill out a question sheet answering the questions. Yawn! Well, actually, until I learned about PhotoPeach, it served it’s purpose. The kids had fun with it, but now…

I uploaded a lot of pictures on Photo Peach, (appropriate of course), of different people, places, and things in my life that I hope will generate discussion about…me. I then created a “quiz” based on those pictures. Hopefully, this video/quiz will get my students talking about…me. The quiz provides the correct answer before it moves on, so they know the “answer”, and they don’t get frustrated.

I want my students to feel comfortable and safe in my room, and knowing a bit about who I am as a human, not just a teacher, should do this. I embedded the video/quiz on Kidblog, and when they are done they could write their first blog post sharing their perceptions of me.

I also intend to encourage them to create their own “Getting to Know You” quizzes at home, so that we can share them with their peers. The great part is that it can be shared using FB, Twitter, email, embedded,and/or downloaded. A little of this, a little of that, and Voila!, I just spiced up that “same old lesson!”

I embedded it on our class blog. Check it out and please let me know what you think! “Getting to Know Mrs. M” video/quiz”


The word that comes to mind, after today’s conference  is “rethink.”  I have used that word so many times between today and yesterday, it’s unbelievable. But trust me when I say I am not using the word in vain!  It is the only way I can describe what PLC is making me do.  It is making me RETHINK the way I have been teaching.  Now mind you, I consider myself a pretty good teacher, not perfect, but good.  I keep my students engaged, I maintain discipline,  I teach using a variety of methods, and hey, we’ve even begun incorporating PLC in my school .  However, this  PLC summit  has brought me to the realization that I have not done the best that I can for my students!

 I know, you’re thinking, isn’t this the same person who was trashing professional development about two posts ago? Yes, that was me. 🙂  But this summit, this is what I want! I don’t know how many people were in that room, but each presenter, and I mean, each presenter, had us engaged practically every minute.  If teachers were talking , they were talking about PLC, not about where to go for lunch.  We met so many teachers from so many places, and we learned, not only from the presenters, wait for it, but from EACH OTHER! Wow!

 I have to share what I learned, so over the next couple of posts, I am going to share some key concepts that were presented.  Hopefully, this will twinge your curiosity and you will  find out what PLC is, and what it can do for your school.  Tonight, I am going to the top of the Hyatt and eat at the revolving restaurant. I’ll be ok, my head is still spinning from all I’ve learned in the last two days. 🙂

Professional(?) Development

I attended a professional development workshop today.  I spent  three hours with  a roomful of 4th and 5th grade teachers who were being taught strategies from people who work with math, not with  students, math.  They are not teachers.  Yes, they go into classrooms and try out their ideas, but they do not teach.  I and my colleagues sat for three hours in a room, listening to  something we  could have been told  in an half-hour.  And let’s not  forget, the forced collaborative activities, just to liven things up!   They lost us in the first half hour. Have you ever been to a workshop in which teachers have no interest? Hushed, some not so hushed, conversations, doodlings scrawled all over agendas, eye rolling, and blank stares are witnessed all over  the room. Rude? Yes, I agree, but having been stuck in countless situations like these, I empathize.

Why not let teachers choose what they would like as professional development?  I would think that we would know what we need.  I am fortunate to be in a school where my principal values our opinion, however, that is not always true of the district. Not only is attendance mandatory, but then, you are forced to use what you are taught, good or bad.

I have to admit, the first half-hour of the workshop was beneficial,  but the entire workshop would have been even more beneficial and effective  if  the teachers in attendance from various  schools were able to  sit together and share ideas.  Who better to learn from, then another teacher who is successful?  Here’s another idea, why not let us work in our classrooms?  Three hours of classroom time in the middle of the school year?  Manna from heaven, seriously! Why are these options not available to us?  My colleagues and I have come to the conclusion that ” they” are afraid we are going to goof off.  So  like children, our time is monitored.

I’m not saying all district professional development workshops are horrible.  There have been some really good ones, where, I not only learned a lot, but I used what I learned in my classroom.  I would just like to see teachers treated professionally more often, and have our opinion count in the developing of our professionalism.

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