PD experiment: I want to learn… & I can teach… (4 of 4)

PD experiment: I want to learn… & I can teach… (3 of 4) should actually be titled Learning by Request and by Invitation.  After compiling the I want to learn… and I can teach… requests, we ended up with 16 peer-to-peer learning sessions for Wednesday’s workshops.  We asked the facilitators to email their learners with information about location, materials needed, and anything else that is pertinent.

From: Molly Flavin

Date: February 25, 2013, 4:13:27 PM EST

To: Sarah Mokotoff, Learning Team, Mary Jacob Rankin, Vrieland, Ashley Johnston, Marilyn Bauer, Marsha Harris, Samantha Steinberg, Maryellen Berry, Ginny Perkinson, Jedd Austin

Subject: Info for Instructors

Dear Instructors,

In your mailboxes you will find the list of individuals who signed up for the Wednesday class this week (2/27/13).  Please email them with information about the location of your class, what materials/devices will be needed, and any other information they need to know.  Thank you so much for volunteering to teach a class.  If you have any questions, feel free to email me, Erin, Laurette, or Jill.

Thank you,

The Faculty/Staff Forum

I have so much to learn from my colleagues! I guess I expected the type of email that I would send.  I am wow-ed by the invitational, we will learn this together, and we’ll have fun messages that were sent to our learners.  I should publish all 16 emails – because they are all that good – but I’ll exercise restraint and only offer four samples.

From: Samantha Steinberg
Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 3:39 PM
To: * *
Cc: Jill Gough <jgough@trinityatl.org>
Subject: workshop tomorrow!
Hi Ladies,
Thanks so much for signing up for this workshop!  We will be talking about using strategy groups during CAFÉ reading.  Disclaimer:  I am not an expert on this topic, however, I am using strategy groups in my classroom to meet with small groups of students who are working on the same reading strategy, not necessarily the same reading level.  I will show you some examples and then we can brainstorm together how this might be beneficial for you in your classroom.
You do not need to bring anything; just yourself.  If you are familiar with CAFÉ and/or Daily 5 and you have the CAFÉ book, you might want to bring it.  If not, no worries!
See you tomorrow afternoon in room 2229!

Don’t you just love the message from Samantha?  How great is it that she is willing to share what is working for her learners?  What a wonderful invitation to learn together!

From: Jedd Austin
Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 7:41 AM
To: * *
Cc: Molly Flavin, Erin Lindsey, Laurette Sirkin , Jill Gough
Subject: FACULTY FORUM –> iMovie on iPads Extravaganza!
Congratulations!  You have been officially selected (by you) to be a part of an amazing experience that will take place in Caroline Peevy’s room THIS Wednesday from 3:30-4:30!  Because this “class” will be all about making iMovies on iPads, please take the next 31 hours to make sure you have the iMovie app installed ON your iPad.  The icon you’re looking for is below.  Also, over the course of today and tomorrow please do some filming (with your iPad) of interesting classroom things (if you don’t have a bunch already) that you’ll be able to use to practice with on Wednesday.
P.s.  After the class you will be filling out this feedback form –> http://bit.ly/FacultyForumFeedback  Please remind me to have you do that. .  🙂 🙂 🙂


You can just feel Jedd’s enthusiasm and encouragement! He does awesome, creative work with formative assessment using iMovie and his iPad.  I love that he said this “class,” because it is really so much more.  I’m also pleased that he thought to include the link to the Attendance and Feedback form. (The link above takes you to a copy; explore if you’d like.)

From: Marsha Harris
Date: Monday, February 25, 2013 6:34 PM
To: * *
Cc: Jill Gough, Stacey Goss, Rhonda Mitchell
Subject: Faculty Forum SMACK DOWN
Hello Everyone!
I’m looking forward to meeting with you on Wednesday afternoon!
I’m planning on sharing a TON of really neat things that I learned while at my last PD opportunity in Orlando.  I plan on spending about 2 minutes on each item…which is where the term “smack down” comes from! All of these are NEW to me and I haven’t had much time to master anything, but I’d love to share them with you for further exploration!
What to bring: your computer and iPad or iPhone or all 3! Some are websites, some are apps! However you learn best!
What to prepare: no pressure…but I would love it if YOU could be part of the SMACK DOWN as well! Please plan to share and app/website/tool with the group! 2 minutes MAX on the time…I will have a timer!!! It doesn’t necessarily have to be about education…maybe just something that you deem worthy of sharing! The plan is that I will share ONE and YOU will share ONE! Fair?
Incentives?: I know that we will ALL walk away with something that you didn’t know before! And…I have cookies! 🙂 I’m looking forward to learning something new from you as well!
This should be FUN…it’s not a presentation!

Marsha’s plan is to share new things she has learned, but has not mastered. Wonderful modeling for learning by doing! I LOVE “The plan is that I will share ONE and YOU will share ONE! Fair?” Sharing responsibility, sharing learning, and sharing the exploration. I am also thrilled to see the differentiated plan indicated by “However you learn best!

From: Ginny Perkinson
Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 7:50 AM
To: * *
Cc: Molly Flavin, Erin Lindsey, Laurette Sirkin, Jill Gough 
Subject: outlook tips

Good morning,

Thanks for signing up to for the Outlook Tips Forum tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 PM in Conference Room C.  I am looking forward to all of us getting together to share what we know and don’t know about Outlook.  It will be helpful if you bring your computers with you.  Also be thinking about how you use Outlook or might use it if you had a better understanding of the program.  My bet is that together, we may all learn from each other.

At the end of our time together, it will be important for us to complete the attendance and feedback form – the link is listed here now just in case we have too much fun together tomorrow afternoon and I forget to mention it!

Attendance and Feedback Formhttp://bit.ly/FacultyForumFeedback


Ginny summed it up beautifully! We are getting together to share what we know and what we don’t know.

Together, we can learn from each other.

Ellipse Investigation – #AskDon’tTell

One more learning investigation from our experiment – see Circle Investigation – #AskDon’tTell and Parabola Investigation – #AskDon’t Tell.

Sam designed the following ellipse investigation (EllipseInvest.tns).


Look at the continued improvement in the learners’ questions:

Ellipse_Investigation_Q1 Ellipse_Investigation_Q2.jpg

Sam notes that his learners are beginning to ask more mathematically relevant questions. Isn’t this exciting? Can you imagine learning math this way?

I’m pretty sure there is a hyperbola lesson coming soon.

PD experiment: I want to learn… & I can teach… (3 of 4)

As promised, PD experiment: I want to learn… & I can teach… (2 of 4) sheets came down Thursday afternoon so that we could look for patterns and match wants with cans. Friday morning the sign-up sheets were up in the Faculty Staff Lounge, and Erin sent the following email to our community.

From: Erin Lindsey
Date: Friday, February 22, 2013 8:20 AM
To: All Trinity
Subject: Let’s get this PARTY started!
SO……did we get your attention!?!?  Thank you to all who gave the wonderful ideas and offered to teach at next Wednesday’s workshops!  The original list are down and in their place are the class offerings!  Please note, that 12:30 is YELLOW  and 3:30 is BLUE.  We are overwhelmed and thrilled with the rich offerings next week will hold!  Please take a few minutes between now and noon on Monday to go and sign up for the workshop of your choice.  Space is limited, so first come, first serve!  Thanks so much for coming together as a community to make this such as success!  See you soon!
Faculty/Staff Forum Committee


It’s the funniest thing…Up until this Faculty Staff Forum, the course offerings and the sign-ups have been offered through the Trinity School Faculty Staff Forums website.  Since this is an experiment, we chose to build capacity through visual communication in a common space.  This worked great for the first step of asking I want to learn… and I can teach…, but our community expected to sign-up using the website.  This is a point of growth for our team.  We are excited that our community is asking for the use of technology.

At 12:30, six sessions are offered and three are filled.  The learners available for the 12:30 time slot registered for All About Dyslexia, Power Writing, and The Kinesthetic Classroom.

At 3:30, eleven sessions are offered.  We are not sure how many sessions will run on Wednesday afternoon.  Several of the sessions had 1-5 community members sign-up.  We’ve decided to take this as an opportunity for communication and collaboration.  We want the facilitator and the potential attendees to decide together if the session will run.  After all, this plan is about learner choice, right?  The sessions that we know will take place include: The Kinesthetic Classroom, Making iMovies on iPads, Teach the World to Sing, Technology Smack Down, Power Writing, Using Fun Review Games, Using Primary Resources,  and Using Strategy Groups during CAFE Reading. 

There is a another side to this experiment.  We have fielded several complaints – good complaints.  We’ve been told that there is not enough time to attend all of these sessions. We’ve been told that facilitators hoped their session would not make because there were sessions they wanted to attend.  It is a good day when the complaints concern not having enough time to learn from and with each other.

My favorite feedback comes from Jenny McIntosh.  She writes:

I would love to take every single one of these classes.  As far as I’m concerned, these are the best offerings we’ve ever had.

The experiment is working in many positive ways.

We have removed the sign-up sheets from the board and have given them to the individual facilitators.  Each facilitator has been asked to email their participants with any pertinent information for their learning session.

From: Molly Flavin
Date: Monday, February 25, 2013 4:17 PM
To: All Trinity
Subject: Wednesday Workshop 2/27/13
Hello All,
Tomorrow you will be getting information from your instructor regarding your Wednesday class.  If you did not sign up, please see Jill.  If you have any questions, feel free to email me, Erin, Laurette, or Jill.  Thank you!

In my next post, I’ll offer some of the emails from facilitators to the learners to share the richness of the learning experiences planned for our community by our community.

Co-Teaching World Languages with @j_kuipers3 – #TrinityLearns

Is it possible to serve as an active co-teacher in a course completely out of my field of expertise? Am I willing to put myself in learning experiences where I am a beginner or a novice rather than someone who is proficient or advanced? I’ve written about this before.  If interested, please read s=v*t + 0.5a*t^2 ~ Wanneer heeft u vorige bezoek? and Sightseeing in “foreign lands” (Integrated Studies PD) #ASI2012 if interested. I’ve tried visiting the “foreign lands” of science and humanities when attending conferences with other educators.  Have I been willing to risk a visit to a “foreign land” with students in my new school?

Last week, Julia Kuipers (@j_kuipers3) and I planned a World Language project for 6th graders.  I enjoy working with Julia because she is so creative and forward thinking. The children asked her for a project – Yay! – and she asked me to brainstorm and design with her.  After planning, Julia invited me to come to class to help with the lesson.  That should be fun, right?

So, here’s what we planned from my perspective:

    • Problem: Early Learning Division (ELD) teachers need a digital resource for their young learners to use when learning the target language, and 6th graders are asking for a project.
    • Initial idea: Develop iBook for young learners to open to see and hear how to say common phrases in the target language.
      • What if 6th graders could design a resource for the ELD students to learn “May I go to the bathroom?” in the target language?
      • What if this phrase could be represented in text, visually, and in video?
      • What if we introduced the problem to the 6th graders and followed their ideas?

Now, in the most narrow of definitions, my subject area of strength is math.  I teasingly say that I speak several languages: English, math, and southern.  As far as school content goes, I am more diverse than math, but I do not speak any language other than English.

Julia’s facilitation of the first 6th grade World Languages class was masterful.  She began the class by having the 6th graders develop behavioral norms for working together.


Her resources were posted on the link to languages wiki space.  It said

Problem solving with Mrs. Gough –
Use the google doc below.

On these Google docs, Julia had predetermined the groups of learners as shown in the screenshot below:

Screen Shot 2013-03-13 at 7.57.20 PM

For those who don’t know, we use Rosetta Stone to allow our young learners to choose a 2nd language to study.  In the first class of the day, there are many languages being learned: French, Spanish, Greek, Latin, Japanese, etc. Needless to say I am way out of my content league! I assumed I was there to help with the technology aspects of the project.  In my normal fashion when asked, I replied “have you Googled it?” as a first response.  The kids made progress and seemed energized by the project work.  They were creative about using our spaces to work together.  I love their sense of independence.

IMG_2084 IMG_2088 IMG_2093

Before class ended, Julia reconvened the learners and facilitated a discussion (a formative assessment) on how well they met the established norms.  Successes and struggles were also discussed with brainstorming toward possible solutions.


Then, a scary thing happened.  Julia asked me to lead the second class.  She said she felt she would learn if she saw me introduce the lesson.  <GULP! I don’t teach languages, and I haven’t taught 6th graders.> I agreed as long as she would help me establish norms.   So, I set about facilitating the class my way – through questioning.  I explained the problem, and asked these young learners what they thought we could do to address the problem for our teachers.  We talked about leadership of 6th graders to our younger learners.  Through the questions – I don’t know what they were because I did not record them – we arrived at the same tasks to attack as the previous period.

Here’s the interesting thing.  Julia and I set out to help them write an iBook.  Through their questions, we learned that these young learners could be interested in writing an iBook, but they could also be interested in designing a website, using QR codes, and other web 2.0 tools.  A website could be accessed at home, Ms. Gough, so students can practice. QR codes could be posted in the classroom and at the entrance of the bathroom.

Wow! Listening to our young learners…letting them take charge improves the work and product.

And then…I received feedback from Julia.  Real, in the moment, feedback with a request for application.  Feedback about something that I was unaware that I was doing.  The power of peer feedback never ceases to amaze me.  She liked the questioning technique to guide and elicit ideas.  She liked that I positively acknowledged every offered idea and help  learners refine ideas based through more questions.

Julia took the lead for the third class and facilitated the lesson using questions.  It was awesome! I loved seeing her practice a different way to launch a project.  How often am I willing to let go of my really good, nicely planned lesson method to try something new?

How often do we risk trying something new and out of our planned comfort? How often do we risk collaborating with others to observe and learn from each other? Is it so easy to do what I’m good at that I am unwilling to risk? Why would our learners take risks if I won’t?

Even though I don’t speak any World Language other than English, I’ve been invited back to c0-teach again.  Now that I’ve done it once, I’m excited to try again.

Parabola Investigation – #AskDon’tTell

Continuing our experiment to lead learning by following and responding to learner questions, Sam designed the following parabola investigation (ParabolaInvest.tns) for his learners. (Note: Sam teaches in a 1:1 MacBook program, so these files are designed to be viewed and investigated in computer view rather than handheld view.)


Here are the questions generated by Sam’s student-learners.


Wow! What an improvement in the number and the quality of questions.

The importance of collecting many questions is critical.  If we answer questions in the order they are asked, we might not get to the most interesting or most critical questions.

Sam reported that he is very pleased with the learners’ questions and their engagement with the mathematics.  He says he is encouraged to continue this method of teaching because of the change in participation and interest from his learners. It is fun to teach and  facilitate learning this way! He says:

Kids should interact with these graphs instead of memorizing facts.  I want to continue offering investigations where they control points and identify patterns. It’s a great way to learn!

He is busy working on an Ellipse Investigation, and he is already planning a Hyperbola Investigation too.

PD experiment: I want to learn… & I can teach… (2 of 4)

My previous post, PD experiment: I want to learn… & I can teach… (1 of 4), described an idea for developing a plan for professional development based on community input.  We are interested in the unconference idea, but wanted a little more structure.

Molly and Erin posted the prompts in the Faculty Staff Lounge as promised.  We offer sessions at two different times during the day to accommodate faculty and staff hours and responsibilities.

A follow-up email from Molly gave more details:

From: Molly Flavin
Date: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 3:48 PM
To: All Trinity
Subject: Wednesday Workshop February 27th
Hello All,
This month’s Wednesday Workshop on February 27th is dependent upon every member of the community for the 12:30 and 3:30 offerings.   The F/S Forum committee is not providing any classes this month.  We want to put the professional development for next Wednesday into YOUR hands. 🙂  In the upstairs lounge, there are pieces of bulletin board paper.  Please add what you would like to see taught and/or add a class that you would like to teach (please write your name by your class offering :)).  These papers will be up until Thursday afternoon.  We will then compile the offerings and make a sign-up sheet in the same spot.  Staff, feel free to offer any classes or suggestions, and you are more than welcome to attend.
Please email Erin, Molly, Jill, or Laurette with any questions.  Thank you!
-The F/S Forum Committee

Erin and Molly transformed the doodle into this collaboration for our community:


By the deadline our community had asked for and offered the following learning experiences:

I want to learn:

    • a refresher on Power Writing Pre-K style
    • iPads for young children (Pre-K)
    • tech/websites for young students such as Brain Pop Jr.
    • cool math games
    • iPad apps that can teach/facilitate a lesson
    • writing/Power Writing
    • how to work the lights and sound system in AWAC
    • how to get the most out of book clubs in the upper grades
    • how to do small group conferences for CAFE
    • more info about Active Inspire
    • how to be an artist
    • what writing looks like at Trinity in K-1
    • how to use Outlook effectively and to its full potential
    • how to incorporate diversity in the curriculum

I want to teach:

    • about dyslexia
    • Using the Enviroscape regularly
    • iPad Smackdown
    • The Kinesthetic Classroom
    • Walk in the Woods
    • Tech Smackdown
    • fun review games
    • using primary resources (from Library of Congress)
    • Destiny and Media Resources
    • Basketball skills clinic for the big game
    • Making Movies on iPads
    • Power Writing
    • Teaching primary students to navigate non-fiction texts
    • The World to Sing
    • facilitate a class on Outlook tips

Isn’t it great how many things overlapped? The only complaint we’ve heard is that there  are more things we want to learned than available time slots.  What a great problem to have, huh? Isn’t this a wonderful celebration of our strengths as learners?

As indicated, the posted paper was taken down Thursday afternoon to give the team time to match-up I want to learn… with I can teach… requests.

IMG_2079In the next post in this series, I’ll share the offerings, how sign-ups are handled, and a couple of quotes from teachers and staff.

Celebrate and Grow…Protocol for offering and receiving feedback – Implemented

On our quest to collect feedback about our community so that we may continue to grow and improve, we have developed our feedback protocol, and we have practiced to test the feedback prompts, the lesson plan, and the technology we intend to use.

Every member of our community was invited to have lunch.

Screen Shot 2013-03-23 at 4.09.13 PM

Isn’t the establishment of purpose in Stephen’s message wonderful?

“The new Luncheons, to begin soon, will be facilitated by Jill Gough and attended by Michelle Perry and Kato Nims – and will focus on conversation that leads to genuine and healthy communication.”

Can you imagine inviting 150 people to lunch in small groups where they can select the date?  Ginny Perkinson did just that so our community could participate in this celebrate and grow experience.  Wow! What a task.

Screen Shot 2013-03-23 at 4.15.18 PM

On behalf of the Faculty Staff Leadership Team (FSLT) and the Academic Leadership Team (ALT), Michelle sent the following email to our community:

Screen Shot 2013-03-23 at 8.44.02 AM

We met in Conference Room A. Lunch was served in this space.  As we gathered the following slide was showing on the screen.

We followed our intended plan watching the video, the story of thus,  two rounds of Think-Pair-Share, and a discussion.  It was awesome! I learned so much more about my community.  I enjoyed hearing, well, everything.  Below are the notes we took during the lunches.

If we are an open community of learners, how will we grow? Will we seek, offer, and consider feedback?

    • As a member of this community, what can we celebrate?
    • As a member of this community, how can we continue to grow?
    • As a member of this community, I wish…
    • As a member of this community, I’m grateful…