Blogs on Professional Development

Blogs on Professional DevelopmentRSS
Elena AguilarFebruary 26, 2014

Instructional Rounds are a process for school improvement that are based on the Medical Rounds model. It brings groups of educators together to look at what is happening in their schools, develop a collaborative learning environment, and improve student learning. This year, the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) where I work has taken Instructional Rounds to scale: Every school in the district will host two Instructional Rounds, over 800 classrooms will be visited, and the learning experience of some 10,000 children will be observed. The broad focus for Rounds this year is on academic discussions.

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Dr. Joe MazzaFebruary 14, 2014

You might recall the events last year when the University of Pennsylvania's Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership (@MCDPEL) traveled to Finland to study the schools through the lenses of students, teachers, parents and leaders. The team's use of social media during that trip (including Edutopia's live Global Penn-Finn Edu Conversation) has made its way back to campus.

Since September, the innovative school leadership program has hosted a global conversation around various leadership topics using the #pennedchat hashtag. This weekend, the program at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education (@PennGSE) will partner with the largest ongoing weekend education conversation in existence -- #Satchat.

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Josh WorkFebruary 3, 2014

"I'm not very tech savvy" is the response I usually hear from teachers that struggle with technology. Whether it's attaching a document to an email or creating a PowerPoint, some teachers really have a difficult time navigating the digital world. As schools around the globe begin to embed the use of technology in their learning environments, these teachers can be left feeling frustrated and marginalized by the new tools they are required to use but do not understand.

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Suzanne Acord, PhDJanuary 29, 2014

As summer approaches, do you find yourself daydreaming about how you will spend your long summer months as a civilian? I enjoy enriching the minds of students for ten months, but as summer draws nearer, I yearn to act as the learner, preferably at someone else’s expense.

A plethora of travel opportunities await educators each summer. Fellowships, workshops, seminars and service travel can provide you with intellectually stimulating learning opportunities while on the road. If you plan to take advantage of the many travel options available to teachers, you'll need to explore your options and get started on your applications -- pronto. Deadlines are quickly approaching, and invitations are competitive.

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Todd FinleyJanuary 28, 2014

Since the 1990s, I’ve mothballed the lecture -- "where the teacher talks and hopefully the students listen" -- with other scorned practices: popcorn reading, multiple-choice quizzes, test-prep drills, lower-level "recitation" questions, crossword puzzles and the like. But the fact is that few practices are completely bad or good given the infinite variety of students, curriculum choices and instructional strengths. Besides, making teachers wrong for professional choices blunts their power. I'll come back to that idea.

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Shira LoewensteinJanuary 20, 2014

I recently read an article (posted on Facebook by a colleague of mine) about love in the workplace. The article spoke about how employees who felt companionate love at work performed better. It sparked my interest in teacher communities.

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David CutlerJanuary 20, 2014

I'm 23, almost fresh out of graduate school when I move to Miami to teach American history at Palmer Trinity, an independent school in Palmetto Bay. I have no friends or family nearby, and I'm completely unfamiliar with my surroundings. I'm also feverishly trying to get a firmer handle on my curriculum, and on making my lessons more relevant and engaging.

Today, my success as a teacher -- not to mention the lives of all the students I hope I have inspired and changed in my seven years in the classroom -- is directly related to the caring, high-quality mentorship I received during my first year of teaching. Without it, I would have become another statistic, quitting after my first few years on the job.

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Tom WhitbyJanuary 16, 2014

About three years ago, while I was teaching education at a local college, I was attempting to do an observation of one of my students at her student teaching assignment. It was my first time visiting that high school, so I found myself running late in traffic. I attempted to call my student on her cellphone to let her know that I might be a little late, but she never answered. I texted her, but she never responded. This forced me to try to make it on time.

As I entered the high school lobby I found a structure inside that resembled Dr. Who's Tardis with a SECURITY sign prominently displayed atop. I approached it and told the uniformed guard why I was there, and that I'd attempted to call my student's phone to no avail. He informed me that it should be no surprise since cellphone use was banned for everyone in the school. However, that did surprise me. What baffled me even more was what I saw when I turned the corner from the Tardis structure -- a gaggle of students texting on their cellphones. It would appear that only the adults were adhering to the cellphone ban.

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Jennifer Bay-WilliamsJanuary 8, 2014

In a perfect world, preservice teachers (PSTs) in my mathematics methods course would leave each class session with 8-10 important ideas that I have tried to cleverly squeeze into a 150-minute session. By the end of the semester, then, they might have 120 or more important ideas about teaching mathematics -- barely enough to get started.

Woven in and out of each assignment and field experience is a much smaller list of significant ideas about effective teaching. I try to connect these overarching ideas each week so that PSTs can see what they look like, for example, in a second grade math lesson or on an algebra test. At the end of the semester, I ask my students to tell me three important ideas they want to always remember about teaching (mathematics) effectively.

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Vicki Davis @coolcatteacherDecember 30, 2013

While 45 percent of people make New Year's resolutions, only 8 percent of that group report achieving their resolutions. Why do so many fail? What can we do to increase our odds of accomplishing these all-important goals? In this blog, I'll share some of the tricks and apps that have helped me accomplish my resolutions for the past four years.

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