The funny thing about momentum is that it works in the opposite way, too. Objects at rest, etc.
So much has happened since the beginning of this school year, it’s hard to know where to begin. So why not start at the beginning.
New Teacher Orientation
This year was my first real opportunity to deliver a full professional development workshop during orientation since my start at AC. My second year we had one planned, but were preempted by volcano eruption scares. I was excited and nervous and determined to not let a volcano, nor earthquake slow me down.
- Introduce new teachers to how we do tech at AC
- Model blended, differentiated learning.
For New Teacher Orientation, I put together a Blendspace lesson that let teachers learn about our systems at their own pace. I asked them to work independently or in small groups. This certainly meant I had more prep work because I had to create all of the resources. On the other hand, I would have had to create many of those resources anyway. There’s an additional advantage in that the resources are always there, so teachers could go back and look at them as needed. I did have to think about the specifics more and be sure to make sure teachers could work completely independently.
Teachers were able to move along at their own pace, as I had hoped. Most of them had no problems and asked only a few clarifying questions. They all were happy to be able to move at their own pace with some of them moving quickly, and others more slowly. There were 24 must view slides in the Blendspace, with 8 more for teachers that were able to go beyond. Some of them were able to get to the extension slides.
Since I was not always leading a conversation or demonstration, I was free to walk around the room and support teachers with specific questions. This let me give each of them very personalized attention. This was obviously valuable for me to support them, but also gave me an opportunity to get to know them, and helped set me up as a resources in their eyes. I was also able to identify who were the more tech savvy teachers and who were the ones that struggled.
What could have been better?
Though some of the teachers did get through even a few of the extension slides, several of them did not finish the key slides. I anticipated this might happen and figured they’d be able to complete them on their own. However, most of the teachers that did not finish in the workshop did not complete them later. This was evidenced by most of them coming to the tech office later for those critical last few pieces. I didn’t ask them why they didn’t finish on their own, thus identifying another flaw. I didn’t have any real assessment of the work. I had hoped that completing the task, being ready for working at AC, was assessment enough, but I think next time I’ll need to go beyond that.
How does your school help new teachers get connected? What plans are you thinking about for this fall?