The first week of district PD – lots of meetings, scads of “sit and get” messages, and every administrator making sure their voice is heard. I suspect what I am describing is not unique to my area. A great opportunity to energize is lost, and the “grind” begins. And I haven’t been too shy about expressing my displeasure through tweets when I am frustrated – I can be kind of a jerk (think of those Snickers ads…better?…better…).
This week my school admin team got it right. And I feel fortunate to work with them.
For about a year, my school’s admin team had kicked around the concept of a school-wide EdCamp. To be honest, I never thought it would see the light of day…there are just too many other things loaded into the calendar. So an invitation to work with a team of teachers to organize a high school-wide EdCamp was a true surprise…then the work began.
We planned 3 morning sessions, followed by lunch and prizes. But beyond the structure of the day, we had a lot of talking-up to do. Would our teachers, many of whom had never been to an EdCamp, understand the concept? Would people propose sessions? Could we engage the curmudgeons in our teaching ranks? At our opening faculty meeting, we showed a brief video to help teachers understand the EdCamp concept, then talked it up over the next 2 days.
The morning of the conference many teachers suggested ideas, asked questions and thought about what they’s like to learn. In the end, we had a nice variety of topics and it felt like there was something for everyone!
As I walked around during the sessions, I was thrilled to see rooms filled with discussions, and teachers from different departments with an opportunity to engage. I know there is no possible way every to reach everyone, but I hope it was a day of professional learning for most.
On my end, I offered a session “Activity Builder for the Non-Math Crowd” which seemed to be of use to those assembled. Then later, a session where we just did math – problems from Open Middle, Nrich, Visual Patterns and others let math teacher talk, learn, and think about engaging problems for their classrooms. You can download the problems I shared with this link.
And a big thanks to the HH admin team: Dennis, Ralph, Tracey and JZ. I appreciate the opportunity, and promise not to complain again….until the next time…..