This team spent a considerable amount of time diving into what it means to increase learner agency and begin thinking about what it will take to personalize education for all students.
So what makes the LEADS iIN Designers different than any other professional learning opportunity? Well, for one, this is a K12 opt in group of passionate educators who have been charged with owning their learning over four full days during the 2016-2017 school year. As a facilitator, my biggest goal is to create relevant learning experiences that builds conversations and provides choice activities with time for teachers to design experiences for their classroom.
This team built trust early in the day with our Goosechase get to know you activity which helped set up the foundation for one of the coolest culminating activities. The team choose to spend a portion of their afternoon gathering 30% Feedback from the entire network based on the independent time they had spent designing. Ultimately, the team didn’t want to risk not hearing from everyone by only partnering with a few people. The results? Extremely rich conversations from different perspectives. Would I facilitate the 30% Feedback activity differently next time? I think I would start the process earlier and have half share with feedback, followed by a work break, then the other half share with feedback. The discussions were so robust that we were running out of time when the last projects were being shared.
This 30% activity really hit home for me as over the past six years some of the most impactful experiences I have had were engaging with and learning from K12 classrooms across the district. So often educators realize they have half of a good idea but then only ask direct teammates and colleagues to create the other half. Having a close team is critical, but hearing ideas from others who serve multiple grade levels and content areas, provides an opportunity for true radical collaboration.
In the spirit of sharing, we want to share our learning with you! You can preview our resource document HERE. The purpose of these slides were to keep us on pace. Participants noticed that we used timers…a LOT. Timers help keep learning on pace and gave Designers enough time to talk with others to make meaning during the learning process but not allow enough time to lose interest in the topic.
We also collaboratively created a Learning Matrix that outlined all of the tools and strategies used in the session. During the day, our Designers took time periodically to share their thoughts and extension ideas. One of the things that is critical in solid professional development is to make intentional decisions on the tools and strategies you use and then give participants a chance to think about how these activities impacted their learning process and how they could transfer similar experiences to their classroom.
Our Next Steps
All participants have received a feedback survey and I can’t wait to dive into this feedback so we can make meaningful adjustments to content and pacing and ensure this time out of the classroom is continually impactful. We definitely will be visiting classrooms across the district during our time together in December. We also will be engaging in discussions about increasing opportunities for creativity … in thinking, designing experiences, and even through our own learning environments.
There are always things I would change when reflecting on leading professional learning, but I have to say, the Designers are a group I can’t wait to have back! Now I’m looking forward to getting into their classrooms and sharing the work they are doing over the next few months.
Our motto is “Taking it to the Streets” meaning what we learn has to be shared … in Designer’s classrooms and hopefully with teams, online, etc. This makes me wonder…
What could you share to help us develop relevant learning experiences for our students?