Yesterday, I had the great opportunity to provide professional learning for a team of my middle school mathematics educators. A few weeks prior, the planning began with a 4 item survey:
- What do you want to learn? (This is your opportunity to influence the agenda for the Middle School Math Academy.)
- How do you want to learn? (We will have a total of one and a half days together, what do you want it to look like? Think about the physical/virtual environment of the professional learning and what works for you.)
- Professional learning would be so much better if… (Have you had an outstanding experience? Consider the most beneficial professional learning in your career. What made it so great?)
- What are you proud of? (What is happening in your classroom or on your campus you wish others knew about?)
The responses were very beneficial in the design of the professional learning. The plan for the day was for the educators to explore content and examples of quality open source resources. The structure of the day supported our work with Understanding by Design (Stage 1: clarify standards, Stage 2: determine how the leaners will demonstrate understanding, and Stage 3: design learning experiences), and also aligned to our work with Professional Learning Communities in terms of collective inquiry and action research. The educators were charged with committing to implement experiences in their classrooms and to bring student work samples back to our December meeting.
I am most proud of the work of my educators when they created Anchor Charts to display the content included within a unit of study. The content on the Anchor Charts is organized, color-coded, and most importantly, educator-created! We discussed the importance of including learners in the creation of the Anchor Charts in their classrooms and referencing them throughout the unit of study.
After the educators created the Anchor Charts, they spent the rest of the day exploring open source content aligned to their standards.
I encouraged the educators to reach out to the authors of the open source content with questions or suggestions. This reciprocal communication encourages a continuous improvement of the content. I used Twitter to let some of the authors know we were using their resources and received a few replies before the academy began!
The day concluded with an exploration of two platforms for learners, Front Row and CK-12.
Next steps include implementation in the classrooms of at least one experience from the Middle School Math Academy and collection of student work samples to bring in December.
I continue to work to improve the design and delivery of professional learning. What a huge opportunity to have a team of educators together, committed to improving their practice! Have you used Anchor Charts in Professional Learning? I would love to hear about it!