Teachers teaching Teachers

Less than two weeks ago we rolled out our new “SIPS” initiative in the Middle School, as part of our attempt to take advantage of the incredible amount of educational expertise that we currently have on staff. We set up a situation where monthly, we carve out some time to allow teachers to teach other teachers, and to infuse some internal professional development into our working lives. I’ve heard it many times before (and I tend to agree) that the most powerful form of professional development is the utilization of the amazing talents and skills that a faculty brings to an organization, coupled with a format that sets it up in a way that is relevant, regular, and sustainable. I had a chance to sit in on and videotape two of the first four sessions, and to be honest, they were outstanding. The feedback that we received from teachers was extremely positive with the only real criticism being that they were too short!  I’m very excited to showcase the next four sessions in a few weeks time, and I believe that this initiative could quickly become part of the fabric of our Middle School…….

If you’re looking for an acronym for SIPS, it’s “School Improvement Program”, although we’ve been using the following analogy to get the idea across to our community. Essentially, if you view all of the Professional Development opportunities that are open to us as educators each school year as a big jug of PD water, we are looking to drink from this jug one “sip” at a time. A once a month showcase during our sacrosanct Wednesday Faculty meeting schedule, where we set up either half hour or hour long mini PD sessions that are led by faculty members with something to share. Like I said, the first four were fantastic with Joel presenting Garage Band as a assessment tool, Ross presenting on the effective use of Smart Boards, Bret presenting on Power School, Grade book, and our new engagement rubric, and finally, Jason and Dominic presenting on the educational value of SAS Curriculum pathways.

We’re also in the process of setting up a collaboration blog of sorts, which can house many of these videos and podcasts (with teacher permission of course) so that we all have access to each session, because unfortunately you can only view one or two of your choices on the actual day. The call is out already for the next set of presenters, and I’m excited to lead a session myself during the next round on November 14th. I’m encouraging you all to think about a possible “sip” that you could deliver at some point throughout the year. I’ve been into each one of your classrooms and I see the wonderful things that are taking place…….please try to find the courage to share one part of your teaching talents for the betterment of us all! It’s a powerful and empowering thing to sit and watch a colleague present, but another thing altogether to get up there and present yourself. Talk about professional development! Here’s a brief list off the top of my head as suggestions and examples of potential upcoming “SIPS”…….

6 traits writing and rubrics
Reading comprehension strategies
Intervention strategies
ESOL in the mainstream
Differentiation
Anything Technology focused (prezi, word press, podcasting, iMovie, ect)
Classroom management techniques
Collaboration techniques
How to have hard conversations
Inquiry based learning
Proper Research and citation procedures
Experimental learning
Literature circles
Interactive read alouds
Setting up a professional blog/portfolio
Assessment strategies
Using Drama/Dance to aid in student understanding
Service learning
Curriculum development
Rubicon Atlas
Teaching non fiction writing/different genre writing
Balancing your school life and personal life

As you can see, the possibilities are immense, and after looking at this quick list it’s not hard to recognize how much we could potentially learn from one another. Thank you to those of you who have already presented, and thank you in advance to those of you who are about to step up….I cannot wait. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.

Quote of the week…
Ultimately, we hope teachers will not only retain what they learn in professional development encounters, but also transfer that new knowledge into action.
– David Sousa

The following articles are taken from Kim Marshall’s weekly roundup, which can be found at www.marshallmemo.com
Article #1 – Seven Keys to Effective Professional Development Seven Keys to Effective Professional Development
Article #2 – How to Make Professional Development Stick  How to Make Professional Development Stick

Teachers Teaching Teachers Article
http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin459.shtml
Professional Development Website
http://www.teachervision.fen.com/pro-dev/resource/5778.html
Professional Development Conversation
http://www.edweek.org/tsb/articles/2007/10/25/01chat.h01.html

 

 

About Daniel Kerr

Dan Kerr is now Lower School Director at the American School of Paris. He previously served as Intermediate Division Principal at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador, and prior to that was the Middle School Principal at SCIS in Shanghai, China. Dan has also worked at JIS in Jakarta, Indonesia and he began his International career in Abu Dhabi. Dan is thrilled to be joining the ASP family and will be accompanied by his wife, Jocelyn, who will be working as a counselor, and his two children, Max and Gabby. 
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