Today I offered the first of many GT Updates for 2018-19 in my district. I love this part of my job – providing what I hope are meaningful & engaging learning opportunities for teachers to understand and support gifted learners. When I plan professional learning, my goal is is to model good instructional practices that teachers can then take to the classroom.
The first session I offered this morning was our 2nd annual GT EdCamp. I really like this one! Teachers have the morning to meet in small groups to discuss topics in gifted education that are important to them. I ask for ideas beforehand. I use these ideas to build a schedule so we’re ready to go the day of. It’s not the purest form of an EdCamp, but it does give teachers choice and the opportunity to talk and share ideas/resources and I think that’s the critical element. Today, teachers covered a lot of topics, including differentiation, parent support, identification, Genius Hour, social/emotional needs, and motivation, just to name a few. I always want to make the next time better; here are a few things I want to adjust for 2019:
- Build a schedule and share it with teachers ahead of time. This gives them the chance to process what the day will look like as we. It also gives them the chance to gather resources/ideas they want to share.
- Be firm about each topic having a facilitator. It is super important to keep everyone on track and it helps keep the conversation productive.
The second session offered today was Genius Hour with a Twist. This was new and definitely out of my comfort zone, but overall, I feel pretty good about it. Thanks to the honest and constructive feedback from teachers, I already have adjustments for next year.
- I don’t need to give as much structure to teachers. Sometimes we might need to do that with kids just to establish the protocols, but teachers have their act together, so we can loosen the parameters. Next year, instead of having them look at topics in gifted education, they can have free rein.
- I really wanted to go through the entire process myself to provide examples. Thanks to Caitlin, we had parts to share, but not the complete out of class experience. I simply ran out of time. That being said, I have an entire year to get it right for 2019.
- I might consider offering this as a morning session with an optional afternoon session to go through the final P’s – project, product, and present.
All in all, a great day for professional learning in Northwest ISD. I hope the teachers who attended feel the same way.