Blogs on Professional Development

Blogs on Professional DevelopmentRSS
Nicholas ProvenzanoDecember 19, 2012

For Your Eyes Only

It is a little known fact that Santa has an entire division of elves who focus on educators. They are known as ELFS (Elves Love Following Schoolteachers). These ELFS spend their days tracking down educators to make sure they are being nice. When a teacher is naughty or nice, they make note of it and send it to the ELFS database for the computers to sort out. Another little known fact: Google’s algorithm for searches is based on the ELFS computer system at the North Pole.

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Elena AguilarDecember 13, 2012

My last two posts have been reflections on what I've learned this fall about the role that teams can play in transforming schools. The final installment in this series is not original -- I didn't come up with these ideas -- but just in case you haven't come across "Lessons We Learn from Geese," I wanted to share these. There are many versions of this all over the Internet, all of which say, "Author unknown." Here's a version I like.

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Elena AguilarDecember 5, 2012

In my last post I reflected on what makes an effective team of teachers. This is something I've been contemplating a great deal as this year I'm leading a team of instructional coaches. We work with a number of middle schools that are "transforming" and a central element in our theory of action is that leadership and instruction will transform by way of strong, effective, high functioning teams.

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Shira LoewensteinNovember 21, 2012

You've been teaching for five years, and you love every part of it. You love the kids, your colleagues -- well -- you love teaching. The parents are happy, the kids learn, but you’re getting an "itch." School isn't as exciting as it used to be. The routines are becoming routine, and you know what the kids are going to get stuck on, push back at, get excited by -- nothing is new anymore.

You are not alone.

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José VilsonNovember 7, 2012

When I began my tenure as math coach for my middle school, I came into the position thinking I could bring something fresh to this idea of support. Four years in, I'm learning that every instructional coach forms a set of relationships and dynamics with colleagues in his or her respective department. Every teacher leader struggles between winning everyone over and positioning him- or herself as a true liaison for administrators and teachers.

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Todd FinleySeptember 27, 2012

In The Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande writes about the importance of list making as a process of working through critical decisions, and list reviewing as a critical element to support aspirations. Marc Andreeson, a checklist user, attained extraordinary success by inventing the web browser. Later he joined the board of eBay and Facebook and co-founded Ning. Andreeson's secret: before going to sleep, he writes down three to five things he plans to accomplish the next day on an index card. " . . . I try like hell to get just those things done. If I do, it was a successful day." When he completes other tasks, he uses the back of the card (which he calls his "anti-to-do list") to record what he has finished. At the end of the day, he tears up the card -- mission accomplished -- and reaches for another.

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Lisa Michelle DabbsSeptember 25, 2012

A few weeks ago I was listening to one of my favorite classical radio stations and heard the DJ mention that a famous pianist likes to say he is a "painter at the piano." I thought it was a great metaphor to describe the way many artists and professionals feel about the tools of their work. For example, a carpenter could be a painter with a hammer, a potter could be a painter with a wheel . . . I could go on and on.

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Andrew MillerSeptember 6, 2012

As educators, we are always looking for management strategies to try in the classroom. Note I said "strategies" -- not "solutions."

Many Edutopia bloggers have written about strategies and ideas for classroom management. I've also written a blog on PBL management strategies, but many of those same strategies can be used in non-PBL contexts.

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Lisa Michelle DabbsAugust 7, 2012

Editor's Note: Connected Educator Month (CEM) was launched by the Department of Education in August 2012, and this year, it's being held in October. This post from Lisa Dabbs is a great primer for becoming a connected educator, and it's a must-read for CEM. (Updated 10/2013)

This month, the U.S. Department of Education kicked off Connected Educator Month, with engaging keynotes, panel discussions, book chats, and more. During this month, educators in the U.S. and globally will have opportunities to connect themselves and their communities, online and in-person, to support their professional practice. The timing couldn't be better, as most teachers are preparing to hit the ground running as they gear up for back-to-school!

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Judy Willis MDJuly 27, 2012
"Neuroscience should be required for all students [of education] . . . to familiarize them with the orienting concepts [of] the field, the culture of scientific inquiry, and the special demands of what qualifies as scientifically based education research." - Eisenhart & DeHaan, 2005

Do you recall some of your college professors who knew their subject matter but had zero teaching skills? Staying awake in their one-way-directed lecture classes required Herculean strength (or lots of coffee). They were never trained to develop the skillset of engagement strategies.

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