When training teachers this past school year, I started each session with a question,“How can I meet your needs and ultimately meet the needs of your students?” I was in charge of training faculty and staff members for Title I Schools in Greenville, SC. I saw the tremendous pressure that our teachers were under this year as they implemented the Common Core State Standards and adjusted their teaching styles. The vast amount of workshops, professional development, and meetings that teachers were required to attend this year was astounding. I knew how valuable their time was and I wanted teachers to realize that the tips that I was sharing with them would truly make a difference in their teaching and ultimately in their students’ learning. I did not want to waste one minute of their precious time. Whether I was training during their 45 minute planning period or after school for an hour, I wanted to be as clear and relevant as possible. Here is how I did this:
Google Documents I prepared several Google Documents to gather information from teachers. One Google Doc was a Sign Up Sheet so teachers could request for me to come in their classroom and model a technology skill or app with their students while teachers observed and assisted me. Teachers loved learning beside me with their students. Many times, I would tell the students, “Class, I’m showing you how to go to settings and adjust this feature, so if your teacher forgets, you can show her.” It worked. I truly taught the students how to do pretty hard technical trouble shooting that the teachers had a hard time grasping, but the students totally understood. This saved me time, the teacher time, and the students’ time when they could problem solve on their own.
Padlet as the Bulletin Board for Ideas I used www.padlet.com to create a Choice Board for teachers. I had several topics on the Padlet Wall for teachers to choose from based on the feedback I gathered from Google Docs. I would present one or two ideas that needed to be shared at the beginning of my session, then I let teachers guide the rest of the PD by their interests. We were truly operating in a 21st Century Environment with lots of collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication.
Padlet Walls: Science Techbook January Menu Formative Assessment iPad Ideas and Teaching Strategies Teachers became interactive and shared links to websites and forms they used on the Padlet wall while we learned together.
Todays Meet I also ran a Today’s Meet during the sessions, so I could have a running record of their questions and comments. Many teachers used this same idea during their Literacy Stations after participating in Today’s Meet during training. Students were actively engaged in the lesson and didn’t mind adding their comments and asking questions in this environment. Some students were too shy to talk in class, but felt comfortable sharing ideas using Today’s Meet. QR Code