PD experiment: I want to learn… & I can teach… (5 of 4)

I’m not sure what I originally planned when I started this series, PD experiment: I want to learn… & I can teach…, but I’ve learned more than I predicted.  So, I have a 5th post.  It is not enough to go through professional development learning episodes.  Reflection is a necessary responsibility for my growth.  What did I learn? What went well? What would I do differently next time?  What does the feedback from the learners tell me?

We consistently use the same feedback form for all in-house professional development. (Feel free to investigate the form.  It is a copy of the original.  One of the goals is to sort the spreadsheet to have a record of each community member’s participation in our in-house PD for the 2012-13 school year.)

Here’s some of the feedback (view all the feedback) from this particular session:


Wow! This class was the best EVER ! the program was easy and Jedd was a delightful teacher! I can’t WAIT to have the kids use this for Colonial things that are coming up!


I enjoyed being able to “play” with activities that could immediately be put into practice in my classroom.  I also enjoyed how we thought about how the activities could be modified for different subjects or ability levels.


Students write reflections in the art room– I now know I can reinforce this style of writing in art too.


I thoroughly enjoyed being introduced to new apps and websites from other teachers and seeing how they would use them in the classroom. It was great to see how “fun games” can be applied to everyday classroom instruction. The Smackdown was a helpful session because Marsha would give us an app or website and then everyone else would chime in on one they found useful.


I enjoyed Sarah’s presentation very much.  She modeled the “lesson” almost as if it was a classroom and even had the teachers participate in a couple of games.  It was great to see how her ideas could be incorporated into our daily activities.


Kindergarteners need a lot of movement throughout the day.  Rather than doing the “Trinity runaround”, I now have new ways to get them moving.  Not only will I use what I learned to give kids movement breaks throughout the day, we also learned many games and movements that can be used to learn and review content that the kids are learning everyday.


I’m pleased with the feedback.  Our community members indicate that they are learning.  They indicate that they are able to apply what they are learning.  One teacher sent me a note that she had video to share with me concerning what she learned.

While I’m very pleased with the feedback, I wonder what we might do better next time.

  • I know that we frustrated several by not making the sign-up online.  We can make that change if needed.  I do wonder if part of the experience was gathering at the board to discuss the possibilities.
  • Could we offer sessions that would interest more of our staff?  Isn’t it interesting that we wait for others to offer learning sessions of interest to us?  Did everyone have the opportunity to record something they would like to learn? Could anyone offer a session to meet their own needs and/or the needs of others?
  • Should I be more clear about the meaning of facilitating a learning session?  How many facilitators prepared handouts and PowerPoint presentations?  How many facilitators organized conversations to learn from and with others? How many facilitators felt they had to be “an expert,” and how many felt they would learn from others?

Then I read Bo’s post, PROCESS POST: How are schools planning and designing their pedagogical renovations?. Now, Bo was not writing about the PD at my school.  But, I should reflect on his good (paraphrased) questions.

  • Are we architecting and blueprinting the systemic transformation of which these learning episodes are parts of a whole?
  • How do these learning episodes fit into a master plan that harmonizes the curriculum, instruction, assessment, and learning environments that function together as the ecosystem of our school’s teaching and learning core?
  • Is it enough to have community members enrolling in such courses and enhancing their individual practices?

Which led me back to Grant’s post, Three Foundational Questions Schools Must Ask.

  • What are the essential learning outcomes or qualities of your students when they graduate?
  • What is the desired relationship at your school between students, teachers, and knowledge?
  • What is the differentiated value that your school offers to your clients?

As a community, have we identified the essential learning outcomes for our adult-learners? Are these ongoing learning experiences and the overarching methodology transferable (and transferring) to classrooms for young learners? How can I be more strategic and purposeful about content as well as process?

As with all good learning experiences, I’m left with more questions than answers.

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