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Showing posts from October, 2017

Rethinking Professional Development

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As a coach, one aspect of my job is thinking about developing professional development for teachers. I actually really love this. It's a unique opportunity to really dig into what adult learners need and want.


Last year school year, I was thinking about how I could have an impact on professional development in my district. There were a few things I was thinking about:

1.) I really wanted to have a chance to go deeper with some teachers and was thinking about a cohort model. In my own teaching journey, I have been impacted greatly by a few experiences, many of them when I felt connected to a community of learners.

2.) As an instructional coach in a 1:1 district, helping teachers be innovative with technology and integrate purposeful ed tech is part of my job.

3.) My district has high turn-over. I began researching some of the aspects that go into people being satisfied with their jobs. While I couldn't impact their pay, I could work on some of the other ideas such as a "w…

Adjust Your Zoom

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There are times in education when we need to "zoom in," look at the details and the fine points. There are other times that a more global view is appropriate. We need to "zoom out" and look at the big picture. In my coaching conversations, I have noticed that many times when teachers or teams are frustrated, we need to adjust our zoom.






ZOOM OUT Scenario 1
A team is working on common plans for math. I walk in and teachers are talking about the number talk for the second lesson, then jump to the stations planning for next week, another teacher mentions that they need to make a formative assessment to use, too. Then they all look at me, "this is hard and overwhelming!" they say, "how can we make this planning easier?"

This is a situation where we need to zoom out. Focusing on the details of lesson plans before the big picture is mapped out results in frustration and lack of focus. There are so many tiny details of a unit plan. While it is easy to ge…

Post-It Geometry Challenge

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This activity is a fun investigation into symmetry. However, you don't have to wait until you are explicitly teaching geometry or symmetry. It encourages students to be precise and persevere in problem solving. Use it to help address those Standards for Mathematical Practice!

I think 4th grade and up would enjoy a few of these challenges. I've tried it with middle schoolers (6-8) as well as adults. I love the fact that this is an opportunity for all learners to engage in math at the same time. It might even be an opportunity for students that don't find as much success in math class to excel.



Here's how it works:
1. Put the picture of the post it notes with holes in it.
2. Students are challenged to take a post-it note and try to fold it so that with 1 single punch with a hole punch it will create this when opened back up.






I suggest showing this image first:


This one requires a simple fold of the post-it in half. 


Walk through how this one works and let everyone have tha…