Our elementary/secondary shared, individualized PD has begun!
I have to admit, I was hesitant to start on the first Friday of work – teachers are exhausted so we usually just do a quick reflection of the week and let everyone go home early. I thought we should just repeat this and start our shared PD the following week.
But in our coordinator meeting (10 directors and coaches from all grade levels) some of the coaches said, “No, no, no! If we’re going to do this, we do it from day one.” And of course they were right. Move aside trepidation, let’s go for it!
The question was: what could we do that would be quick and motivating and would include all 50+ teachers?
After some brainstorming, Shiselle came up with the idea of a gallery walk – have the teachers walk through each other’s classrooms, looking at the walls, charts, procedures and classroom set-up. Bingo! Everyone was on board. We decided to make a road map: a list of classrooms and the teachers who taught in them. We’d hand out post-it notes so that teachers could leave comments about what they liked. Then we’d reconvene to discuss some of the great ideas we’d seen.
Just as we sent the teachers off, the skies opened up with a torrential tropical rain and thunder storm. Since our school is very open and teachers would need to run through the rain to get to many of the classrooms, we worried that this would stop our activity dead in its tracks. But no. Nothing gets in our teachers’ way…off they went. They came back a half hour later, a little soggy, but eager to talk about what they’d seen.
The sharing was beautiful. Teachers admired warm and welcoming classrooms. They found ideas for helping students develop a growth mindset, for pushing their thinking and for setting procedures. They learned so much from each other and truly came together as a team. There was a generalized feeling of mutual respect and awe for one another. They loved this beginning of the year activity: it was quick, active, and full of learning. One of our teachers summed it up by saying, “I spend hours looking through Pinterest for ideas, but this was like Pinterest on steroids. I can’t believe how many ideas I got in half an hour.”
True…but it made me think of how great it would be to find all our teachers’ ideas in one place. So, here it is: TCFL Walls and Classrooms Pinterest page. Hopefully you’ll find charts, classroom designs, or procedures that can be adapted to your own classroom.