PD Lesson Planning: Progress Report Ideation – Part 1

When designing professional develop learning experiences, are we as purposeful about the pedagogy and methodology as we are the content? Do we model with faculty what we want to see happening in our classrooms with children? Can we integrate technology? Can we model formative assessment practices? Can we design interactive learning experiences?

On January 30, we were supposed to have division meetings concerning progress reports and how we report learning, progress, and growth of our young learners.  The weather (tornadoes in our area) caused us to postpone the meeting until Friday, February 1 – a scheduled teacher work day.  Positives for making this decision included taking care of our children and their families as  carpool ran in heavy rain and seizing the opportunity for all divisions to work together during the same time and in the same space.

The original lesson plan, shared to all participants on Monday via email, had to be modified as follows:

Friday, February 1 – Meet in the Media Center

Quick write and share, see below

Snapshots of other feedback options – don’t be constrained by our current norm

Transition to vertical teams.  Using the provided whiteboards draw, write, design, etc. the ideal progress report considering the child at the enter, families needed feedback, and teacher workflow.

Share with others.  If you’d like to share your ideation digitally, take a photo of your work and email it to walked60son@photos.flickr.com.

Complete attendance and feedback form.

Quick write and Share:
Individually respond to the following prompts – digital copy if you want to share

      • Bright spots from current practices in progress reporting:  What are some positives about our current progress reports?
      • Wish list for progress reporting:  What changes would make the progress report more personalized and put the child at the center?
      • Anything else?  Knowing that progress reports are an important connection between home and school, what would be in a progress report that is a joy to report (for teachers) and read (for families) rather than a stress?

Vertical Teams – (pick your team)

Teams of 6.  Please have at least one Specials Teacher in each team and strive to have multiple grade level representation in each team.

Note:  One member of each team should take responsibility for the team’s whiteboard. We will share our ideas next Wednesday.

Below is the slide deck for the quick write and snapshot of other feedback options.

Intentionally, samples of report cards are not included in the slide deck.  We should not be constrained by what we know and already do.  Can we brainstorm other ways to provide feedback about growth and learning?

Will having faculty work in vertical teams help or hinder the brainstorming process?  This past summer, as a faculty, we read Cathy Davidson’s book Now You See It.  Will faculty remember and consider how important collaboration by difference is in the learning process?

“Collaboration by difference respects and rewards different forms and levels of expertise, perspective, culture, age, ability, and insight, treating difference not as a deficit but as a point of distinction.”  (Davidson, 100 pag.)

Purposefully, whiteboards and dry erase markers serve as tools for this brainstorming session.  We are not making decisions; we are dreaming, doodling, and thinking. Would using whiteboards and dry erase markers promote non-traditional thinking?  I think of Seth Godin’s post, Fear of Bad Ideas, where he states:

The problem is that you can’t have good ideas unless you’re willing to generate a lot of bad ones.  (Godin, n. pag.)

I also think of Cathy Davidson’s point:

“It always seems more cumbersome in the short-run to seek out divergent and even quirky opinions, but it turns out to be efficient in the end and necessary for success if one seeks an outcome that is unexpected and sustainable.”  (Davidson, 100 pag.)

Can we have a “bad idea” festival? Because of the temporary nature of the tools, will we be more opening to sharing and dreaming? Will we share odd and quirky ideas in search of an outcome that is unexpected and sustainable?

The strength of using the whiteboards is also a “problem” to consider.  In this two-part series of meetings, will the ideas stay intact for a week – the time between the two meetings?  Can we use technology to preserve the ideas as a back-up?  I remembered how Bob Dillon (@ideaguy42) showed a use of Flickr.  Can we preserve the ideas by taking a photo and sending them to a common Flickr stream?

So, in this one-hour faculty work session:

    • Faculty and I will access the Progress Report – Faculty Ideation – January 30 Google doc for resources and the agenda.
    • I will use Keynote to prompt the quick write and share visuals of a few ways to report progress.
    • Faculty will write using their MacBook, iPad, PC Tablet, or paper.
    • Faculty will work in vertical teams to draw, sketch, write, etc. on whiteboards.
    • Faculty will share the current version of their ideas by emailing a photo to my Flickr account.
    • Faculty will offer feedback via Google form.

So, the plan calls for interactive learning for participants, integration of technology, and a balance of technology to face-to-face engagement.  Whew! Seems like a lot for an hour.

In my next post, I’ll share the outcomes from this hour of faculty learning.  As this is a two-part lesson, I plan to write and share the lesson plan and outcomes of part 2 soon.


Davidson, Cathy N.  Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. New York: Viking, 2011. Print.

“Seth’s Blog.” Seth’s Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2013.

I have a problem…Posh Problem Posse in action – Part 1

Kate Burton, teacher of 6th graders, and I had a conversation about problem solving.  What could we do to promote more problem solving and critical thinking for a few of our 6th graders? We talked about Synergy, having an Alpha project, and gradual release of responsibility.

Kate and I are reading Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana. Could we (she) apply what we are learning with an Exploration about problem solving called a Posh Problem Posse?

I offered to be the first client for the Posh Problem Posse. I have a problem that I’d like for these smart, creative learners to consider.

I arrive for the first Posh Problem Posse meeting and explain my problem.  I’m running – training for a 10K.  I run very early in the morning in the dark.  I wonder if I am visible enough.  I wear a reflective vest, but can I be seen? Also, because it is cold, I wear a fleece vest which has a pocket to carry my phone.  When it gets warmer, how will I carry my phone?  I need it for safety. I need it for the app that coaches me.  I need it to listen to books and podcasts while I run.

The Posh Problem Posse asked me several questions.  Would I wear my phone on an arm band?  No. It will leave a tan mark. What problems have I had running? I fell in October because the uneven sidewalk caused me to trip.  Why do I run so early in the morning? I run before my family gets up so that I don’t miss any time with them and because I don’t sleep very much.

I only had 15 minutes to meet for this very first meeting.  Kate facilitated a question generation session with these learners and sent me the following email:

On 1/22/13 1:42 PM, “k8burton” wrote:
Below are the questions and then responses plus some extra notes.  It’s not formatted and there are a few abbreviations… Speed note taking at its finest.
Posh problem posse
What the budget that you would like us to have? A couple hundred
Would this be a gift, are we donating it to her? Bump in clothing is x 4
Would you be opposed to something larger like a puffer vest?
Would you rather have light wire around a pant leg
How much extra weight are u opposed to? Less than a pound
Do you want actual lights on some of you or reflectors
Does it have to be a vest? Would it work to have a light shining on you?
Would you like to have duct tape that might be a little less reflective?
Would you like reflective other places? Like jewelry or tuxedo stripe or head band hair tie or something in your head
Do you like listening to things when u run?
How close of a fit do you want? Adjustability
Do you have an iPhone
Where do you want your iPhone to be? Can it be on your arm?
What if the padded pocket for phone is on the inside of the jacket?
Do you want zip up or pull over vest? Pull over
What would you like the name to be?
What colors would you like? Orange pink
Would you like removable reflectors/ lights so that you don’t have to have them on at home? Removable for laundering
Velcro way to attach the airhorn
Lots more neon
longer on the vest
ID tag with info
Make an alley for the light wire
Sent from my iPad

There is a week between this meeting and the next meeting.  I plan to arrive in my running gear, so they can see what I have described.  I like the questions, and the way they are thinking.  I can’t wait to see what they are thinking!