What Do You Want in Professional Development?

Episode 007


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Clif Mims is a Christian, husband, father, teacher, cancer warrior, and fan of the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Memphis Grizzlies.

8 thoughts on “What Do You Want in Professional Development?”

  1. Hi Cliff,

    I’m working with my principal here in Tucson to plan a mini-conference for our staff in May. We’ve only got a half-day, but I’m confident we can accomplish a good deal in 2.5 hours.

    The idea struck me as I listened to several Harvard Business Review podcasts: why not put teachers in charge of small PD sessions? Let teachers choose topics that they would like to present/facilitate, and let everyone else choose which sessions they would like to attend. I’ve outlined the general idea here:


    It always drives me crazy to think about the decades of teaching experience that sit idle and often bored in PD sessions. Hopefully, our school mini-conference will mobilize that experience and give teachers some autonomy over their PD, rather that prescribing PD en mass to large groups of teachers.
    .-= Joel Zehring´s last blog ..Did We Really Need Another PLC Book? Yes. [Book Review] =-.

  2. this just went out to our staff today..
    For Certified Staff:

    On the March 8th inservice day, all certified staff will attend the morning session from 8:30-11:30 in the Auditorium. Bea McGarvey from the Marzano Research Laboratory will be facilitating professional development on the Art and Science of Teaching. In this session, teachers will examine the model designed by Dr. Robert Marzano for ensuring quality teaching that balances the necessity of research-based data with the need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of individual students. A copy of the book, Art & Science of Teaching, is available for those interested in pursuing this as a book study. We will be working with consultants from the Marzano Research Laboratory this year and next year. On September 17, 2010, the author of the book, Dr. Robert Marzano will be at Highland for the next follow-up session. Fees for this service have been provided by a one-time federal grant opportunity.

    Please respond for the morning session:

    Would you like to request a book?

    Are you interested in a book study for CEU or credit?

    Alternate All-Day Session

    Inclusion Strategies with Dr. Karen Majeski

    This all-day session for 7-12 teachers is a continuation of training from the fall inservice. If you attended in the fall, you will be autoscheduled. There are a limited number of openings in this session for additional participants. The focus of this second day will be inclusion strategies for regular education teachers. Please reply with your request to be added to this all day session.


    For the afternoon sessions, please respond with your choice (2 hours total):

    Asberger’s Syndrome (2 hour session)

    Linda Ginesi

    This session will address the classroom behaviors exhibited by

    Aspberger’s students within the typical classroom. Explanations

    of why behaviors occur and suggestions to assist the classroom

    teacher with dealing with the behaviors within the non-special

    ed classroom will be provided. A great session for teachers who

    have Aspberger’s students included in their classrooms.

    LEP: Special Topics (1 hour session)

    Dana Weber

    These small group sessions are designed for teachers of LEP

    students who would like to discuss specific student-related

    issues with the consultant. Limited to 5 teachers each


    CPI Training Refresher (12:30-3:30)

    Teachers needing this refresher for certification will be auto-scheduled into the afternoon session. This is only for teachers who have prior certification and need renewal.

    McDougal-Little 2010 (2 hour session)

    Company Math Representatives

    Features of the new Gr 6-12 math program will be explained.

    The Benefits of Organic Food (1 hour session)

    Sue Schmidt

    What makes organic food different from commercially grown

    food? Learn more about the benefits of organic food at this

    informative session by a local certified organic farmer.

    Gifted Identification In Art (Art teachers will be autoscheduled)

    Brenda Magier

    Art teachers will review portfolios for the purpose of identi-

    fying students gifted in the visual arts.

    Interwrite (2 hour)

    Amy Lyon

    This session will be held at Granger’s Media Center. Parti-

    cipants must deliver their labeled interwrite board with adaptor

    and charger to the Granger Media Center after school on Thursday,

    March 4th. You will be using your own interwrite for the training, so
    all 3 pieces are needed and they should all be labeled. You must
    remember which USB port you use in your room for your bluetooth.

    Moodle (1 hour)

    Kelly D’Annolfo

    This is a one session continuation for teachers with moodle

    classrooms. Please put in a help ticket if you need to have

    a virtual classroom made.

    Use your FLIP camera with Windows Movie Maker (1 hour)

    Roger Saffle

    Getting your flip camera video to movie maker is not an easy process.

    Bring your camera and get step-by-step instruction.

    Financial Planning (1 hour)

    Ron Scalera D & E Financial

    Investments, upcoming retirement system and 403-B

    changes will be reviewed and discussed. This is for
    your information, the presenter is not a vendor.

    Friends Supplies (1 hour)

    Friends representative

    Use the easy Friends website for your classroom supply orders
    and save yourself time while you save the district money.
    This session will walk you through placing your supply order online.

    This is a newly approved process for classroom supplies.

    CPR and AED Training (12:30-3:30)

    Granger Fire Dept.

    Wear comfortable clothing for this certification program.

    You will earn a card that is good for 2 years.

    Prior certification is not expected or required.

    Please respond with your choices by noon on Friday, February 26, 2010.

  3. The professional development which is the most meaningful to me is consistently filled with immediately applicable connections, sometimes about content that is a professional stretch, and sometimes about content in which I have a base knowledge, but need help applying. My favorite and most memorable development sessions have provided examples from others with more experience, who are able to show me how to build connections, provided me with ideas and leads, and explain the tips they have learned via experience (rather than discussing theories/research).

  4. For technology prof. development, I think it’s got to be focused. I like learning new things but don’t want to have too many things thrown at me at once. For example, if you are going to share usage of Voicethread, share how to use but more importantly how you can use it different ways to address various standards in a variety of curricular areas. Teachers need to be able to see how to apply and use (easily) what they learn!

    1. CindyN,

      I agree that it’s a good idea to demonstrate connections to a variety of standards in multiple curricular areas. It’s difficult but important to do.

  5. I’d love to have more PD delivered through online sessions – practical ways to use the new technologies – sick of hearing about the theories behind it all and the new generations!

    1. George and Tonia,

      Thanks for the honest feedback. You both spotlighted things I’m going to reconsider in my professional development workshops.

  6. I’d like someone who knows more than me to share something they think might add to my classroom.

    I dislike unstructured environments- I can learn and explore on my own time. Unload a ton of info, give me leads, explain and teach and answer questions.

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