Blogs on Professional Development

Blogs on Professional DevelopmentRSS
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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Vicki Davis @coolcatteacherDecember 18, 2013

Editor's note: Looking back on 2013, Edutopia has had a fantastic year. With more than 650 blog posts, 6700 comments and thousands of daily interactions with educators on our social media channels, we're thrilled to be connecting with so many talented and hard-working teachers, administrators, parents and students.

To close out the year, we asked one of our newer bloggers, Vicki Davis, for her roundup of our ten most trafficked posts -- some of which were written in previous years -- and why they're still resonating with educators.

Looking at the ten blog posts that really grabbed our attention 2013, I'm struck by how many of these are timeless topics for teachers. It's obvious that teachers, rather than being told what to do, prefer clear examples of how it's being done successfully today. Every one of these posts revolves around big-picture concepts with specific how-to's. (It is also clear that teachers love lists!)

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José VilsonDecember 2, 2013

Approximately 20 years ago, one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time was released upon the world, and those of us who listened to it haven't been the same since. The gritty, hardcore sounds of the Wu-Tang Clan's debut album left an indelible mark on hip-hop and music as a whole. Along with showcasing the works of artists who would go on to have individual success, such as Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) melded the unfiltered underground sounds of the early 1990s with soul and funk samples for commercial appeal. With nine members in the original Wu-Tang Clan, one can only wonder how this conglomerate of rapping styles could come together and create a sound rarely, if ever, replicated since.

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Karali PitzeleNovember 27, 2013

What if all professional development modeled the pedagogy that school leaders ask of their teachers? If we would use principles of PBL, cooperative learning, differentiation, and the workshop model every time we conduct a professional development (PD) or hold staff meetings, teachers might gain a clearer understanding of these approaches, and have the scaffolding and collegial collaboration they need to master them.

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Merja PaksuniemiNovember 25, 2013

Editor's Note: Satu Uusiautti, Ph.D., contributed to this post. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Helsinki, and works as a specialist at University of Lapland, and as a post-doctoral researcher in the project Love-Based Leadership -- Interdisciplinary Approach. Another contributor to this blog post, Kaarina Määttä, Ph.D., is a professor of educational psychology at the Faculty of Education, University of Lapland, and also the university's deputy vice-chancellor. She has written hundreds of articles and dozens of textbooks. The three authors' forthcoming book, What Are Finnish Teachers Made Of? A Glance at Teacher Education in Finland Yesterday and Today, examines historical and modern teacher training in Finland, a country that many acknowledge as having the most successful K-12 schools in the world.

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Anne-Lise HalvorsenNovember 21, 2013

As an assistant professor in the College of Education at Michigan State University (MSU), I have spent the past six years working with a team of faculty members and doctoral students, and coordinated and taught the senior year and internship year courses of elementary social studies methods. I am also a field instructor. Year after year, we find that pre-service teachers, particularly those specializing in the lower elementary grades, rarely observe social studies instruction in their field placements. In cases where they do have this opportunity, the instruction is often rushed or superficial, reflecting a national trend wherein elementary social studies are marginalized. One response we offer to this problem is a lesson study assignment during the internship year.

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Bob LenzNovember 20, 2013

How about that post professional development evaluation survey? We've all done them; but what have they done for us? Professional development (PD), when well done, can make a huge difference in teachers' knowledge and skills. But it can be challenging to evaluate how PD transfers to actual classroom practice.

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Todd FinleyNovember 19, 2013

On a spring afternoon in the 1990s, I happened upon one of my professors in a campus restroom. The renowned metaphysical sci-fi author caught me eyeing his hands, which trembled as he lathered them with liquid soap. "I get the shakes before every class starts," he explained. "Every class for 30 years."

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Tom WhitbyNovember 18, 2013

What is a PLN?

Will Richardson was the first person to clearly explain to me about six or seven years ago what a PLN was. Back then, PLN stood for Professional, or Personal Learning Network. A better label today, one that might quiet the nitpickers, is Personalized Learning Network -- the shift in nuance maintains that participants are both personal and professional learners. A PLN is a tool that uses social media and technology to collect, communicate, collaborate and create with connected colleagues anywhere at any time. Participating educators, worldwide, make requests and share resources.

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