Today my colibrarian and I lead a staff development each block for any interested teachers. We have been doing this since October, and we call the opportunities “One Tool at a Time.” Yes, I
swiped borrowed the name from the ISTE SIGMS webinar series called “One Tool at a Time.” When I send out emails and reminders about it, I title it 1T@T.
GBE for some…choice by others
Some of my teachers are actually using it as their “goals based education” plan for the school year, something we in South Carolina must do annually. We advertise a bit, describing the planned topics, and my co-librarian and I try to do something different. These sessions take place each block of the day during the school day, and teachers are asked to spend just half of their planning period with us (which at my school is 45 minutes.) Our goal is to give them half of their planning period for whatever they need or want, and be available for those who wish to have guided practice or one on one time. So far none have missed an entire planning period unless they chose to stay the whole time. It has been fun and informative, and I swear each time I learn something new too.
You learn from me; I learn from you! Win-win!
Today’s topics were Wordle, presented by me, and then Google Books, presented by my co-librarian. It’s funny because frequently we pull in other apps accidentally just because they are related. Today during one session we had a discussion on the difference between .gif, .jpeg, and .png, all because one person asked the difference during my wordle preso. I had a teacher in the group that beautifully explained it–helping me learn too! During my co-librarian’s part on Google Books, the discussion meandered through Google Chrome, the Chrome webstore, apps, vs. plugins, ebooks, and even the iTunes App store and mobile devices. We very well may make Google Chrome one of our future tools to focus on! While some topics were more advanced than the main topics of the session, it was great to have these educators coming together to learn from us, each other, and expand our topic. All, while sacrificing some of their planning time. Best, they left the session with some immediate application ideas for their teaching context.
De ja vous
I had a brain fart today though. I have insisted that we did not need handouts for our sessions. After all they were to be low key, with each of us talking, modeling, and demonstrating for 20 minutes max. We arranged to be in a setting for each session so that our participants could choose to do hands on if they wanted, and any could stay as long as they desired for guided practice with us. I seldom take handouts at sessions myself, preferring instead to download later if I need them at all. Most of the time I do not need them. And far too often I’ve made handouts (for adults and students) and after everyone had left, found a number on the floor. I began following my friend Doug Johnson’s lead, going electronic. But I felt for these short PD sessions, I didn’t even need that. Wrong. I had a major twinge of guilt today when a teacher who hadn’t been coming decided to join for the first time and asked where the handout was. The others in the group had been a few times, and so they did not expect one. But earlier when we first began meeting, they too had asked. I had simply brushed off the thought that anyone would or should need one. But the new request today just suddenly made me realize they all still want one, and even deserve one. You see this teacher had come today, she shared with me, because she printed out the email advertising this session and taped it to her wall behind her desk — as a visual reminder. De ja vous! Suddenly I remembered the visual of how to get handouts for Doug Johnson’s sessions. I needed to provide a way for those wanting/needing this to get it. I’ve done this for bigger presentations and speaking engagements. Did my teachers deserve anything less? So tonight I sat down and hammered out a one page handout to serve as the reminder, support, tips, or whatever it is that some need. And I remembered that many are not where I am in their comfort zone with using, much less playing or taking risks for the sake of learning. So I will from now on provide some kind of handout for my teachers. It may be an electronic download, as I don’t want to waste paper, but I will provide this form of support for those who need it, and send it as an optional download. Yep, lesson learned today, in many ways.