It was the almost perfect PD I have organized and executed. I included a comedy routine video clip of Abbott and Costello teacheing each other to divide 28 in to seven parts. Every time I watch this video clip in Teacher Tube it brings so much laughter to me. It started my presentation with laughter and released tensions and stress of the day. It was used to make a point about learning styles. Learning styles was the hidden objective in the pair and share workshop with multimedia.
This particular school has promethean boards in every classroom and the teachers have quite a bit of experiences under their belt in using this device, but they are like all teachers stressed about closing the achievement gap based on test at the end of the years. Teachers get caught up in doing and being told and being led and there becomes so little time for themselves to think about best practices. Teachers are spending way too much time teaching to the test, the standards, and the indicators than teaching toward the needs of the child. I am so baffled that all we do all year has no value except how our kids perform on a state test that may last up to two hours on a given day in May. It baffles me!
I had little confidence or hope in accomplishing what I wanted to accomplish and the big point I wanted to make. I wanted to drive home how important learning styles and differentiated curriculum. In the next hour and half unfolded a powerful learning time for me. They had to create a lesson with a flipchart, video clip, and a website along with a flip chart for the Promethean board. They were given a rubric, a lesson plan format, and a bunch of resources before they had time to work. Knowing it was impossible to bring all this together in the allotted time, they pulled through to share what they had accomplished. I was fascinated how each person or groups approached the task at hand today. Some modified flipcharts used in the past. Some wrote the lesson plan. Others spent the time research sources and ideas from Promethean Planet and resources from the wiki site I created. It was fun watching and listening to everyone bring it together to share. There was a handful two or three that chose not to share. I conclude the workshop by pointing out my observation as the teachers as learners. I reminded them how differently the kids in their classroom learn and how we tend to teach the way we were taught in school or how we learn best. I felt good about the professional development and my participants were exceptional kind and welcoming.
I left the school feeling really good about what I learned and hope each teacher was able to learnfrom each other and from me. This school has set up a little office for me when I come and today they had apple pie, cake, and candy for everyone to come by and talk with the technology curriculum coach. I look forward to returning next month. It was just one those good feeling days. A perfect day!!!