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Planning for Professional Learning

When I first took the position as a technology integration specialist, I knew I would have to facilitate learning sessions with educators; but as a teacher, my only role was to attend and learn. Now, I am helping to plan and run them, a big change of perspective! This past summer I helped with the expo portion of our Know Your Impact conference organized by my district and runs for 3 days in early June. That was my first look into the behind the scenes aspect of professional development. I was amazed at the man hours put into organizing a conference of this size, and I didn't even help with the main session planning! I only helped to find teachers to present on technology and vendors for the expo.

I now find myself planning my own mini professional learning sessions that I will deliver to the staff during faculty meetings, planning periods, and modeling sessions with the teachers throughout the school year. This is quite a large undertaking and organizing resources is an important aspect, especially when taking the 5 principles of professional learning into account.

* The duration of professional development must be significant and ongoing to allow time for teachers to learn a new strategy and grapple with the implementation problem.

* There must be support for a teacher during the implementation stage that addresses the specific challenges of changing classroom practice.

* Teachers’ initial exposure to a concept should not be passive, but rather should engage teachers through varied approaches so they can participate actively in making sense of a new practice.

* Modeling has been found to be a highly effective way to introduce a new concept and help teachers understand a new practice.

* The content presented to teachers shouldn’t be generic, but instead grounded in the teacher’s discipline (for middle school and high school teachers) or grade-level (for elementary school teachers). (Gulamhussein, 2013, p. 3 & 4)

To organize my plan I am using Trello, an app that allows you to create lists and add virtual index cards that can be shared for collaboration. There is a main board which houses the lists to which you add cards. On each card, you can add notes, comments, lists, links for resources, attachments, and due dates. You have the option to add collaborators to the whole board or specific cards. They have color-coded labels you can add to the cards for quick visuals and organization.

From my profession learning session board, I will track the progress of each card that represents another session or meeting that needs planning; within the cards themselves, I'll track the resources that are needed to be either procured or created. If a session is offered multiple times, I can duplicate the card and place it in the correct lists. I have a main spreadsheet that gives an overview of the whole plan that I can share with my principals when we meet to plan the various sessions throughout the school year.

I have a Google Classroom set up to use during the implementation and continued support of my PL sessions, this is to encourage collaboration and communication between the two campuses that I support along with hosting for resources teacher will need. I think the most time intensive part of the whole process will be creating the slide decks and the YouTube playlist that I will share with my teachers. The sessions can range from one-on-one/small group sessions during planning periods to whole staff professional learning sessions held after school.

This professional learning over technology integration is part of my innovation plan. You can see in my 3 Column table and UBD lessons to see where these professional learning sessions will be incorporated.

I know I will be super busy this year, wish me luck!


Gulamhussein, A. (2013). Teaching the Teachers Effective Professional Development in an Era of High Stakes Accountability. Center for Public Education.

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