Looking for YUMMY Staff Development? Serve Up An #Edu-Potluck

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What’s going to push our #LCMlearns PD boat out of harbor? Coffee+donuts NEVER hurt!

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Lisa Ferguson and James Fester brought a (learning) dish to share (shoes optional!)

The staff of the Larkspur-Corte Madera School District came together at The Cove School campus on Monday, March 16, for one of two all-district Staff Development Days (SDD). The district leadership team decided to make the day about offering staff choice in finding learning experiences that would be meaningful to them, and create that choice around the knowledge and expertise of our own faculty. We also wanted to strike a balance between offering formal workshops with more informal “EdCamp“-style sessions. Teachers, TOSAs, Specialists and administrators facilitated 31 different workshops and we ended the day with nine different EdCamp sessions.

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This post is an effort to capture the experience and serve as one-stop-shopping for all of the resources shared and memories made! Please find a list of resources at the bottom of the post – the list will grow as I collect more.

A video primer helped orient us to one of the guiding principles of learning EdCamp-style: vote with your feet to get to where you need to be!

We gave a survey at the end of the day and asked: “Please give three words that describe the day as a whole.” Here’s the resulting word cloud from 73 responses:

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And why shouldn’t learning be fun? In fact, we can make a strong argument that the deepest, most memorable learning comes about because it is “Fun, Inspired, Useful, Engaging, Informative, Collaborative, Enjoyable, Relaxed” – and filled with CHOICE. Even if the experience isn’t necessarily something a teacher will use in their classroom – for example, a PE teacher that participated in a printmaking workshop – there is still tremendous value in trying something new alongside colleagues. Hopefully each of us was able to expand our thinking about what is possible thanks to these experiences.

Here is an example of recent teacher feedback on what s/he would like to see in professional development:

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As we reflect on our experience from March 16, it is time to begin looking ahead to how we can “tap into this wealth of expertise” and build upon the professional/personal connections made.

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Staff In Motion awakens the mind and lifts the spirit (and arms!!). A way to start EVERY day?

Extending our learning ecosystem with social media

We had out-of-towners joining in as well – passing along resources or hanging out on our hashtag and sharing a friendly “hello.” As we were connecting with each other as district colleagues in our local setting, social media allowed us to expand our learning “ecosystem” to include educators from far and wide:

Learning alongside – and FROM – our students!

You may have noticed in the photos that we were joined by three Hall Middle 8th graders who form a part of our Mouse Squad. Not only were they on hand to help teachers out with computer questions – they helped teach during the Minecraft workshop! Our work is about student learning – and what better way to learn than to learn by teaching? We look forward to more opportunities to involve our students – and graduates – in our professional development.

Edcamp sessions – organic (and sometimes awkward at first!)

Learning from each other in workshop format requires time for the facilitator to prepare. The Edcamp philosophy, however, posits that we come together around shared interests and learn from each other without needing a “leader” or expert in the room. This can prove to be challenging, and some of the feedback on the day reflects this tension. A great opportunity for all of us to experience an Edcamp outside of our district environment will be the 3rd annual EdCamp Marin – tentative date of August 6, 2015.

  • “Next time please make sure you have facilitators for the EdCamp sessions to get discussions going.”
  • “EdCamp session was a bust – no one was there to lead it, and we spent the majority of the time sitting around talking. Need a facilitator with each group.”

Resources shared during workshops:

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