Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mini PD Topics for Next Year

I am slowly brainstorming mini PD topics for next year for my department. (Actually I've already been thinking about this on and off, but I am writing them down here to start a written record of some sort.) I know I will have to tread lightly as the new chair, but I think it's important to introduce some shared language into our department for discussing pedagogy and learning strategies. About once a month, I would like to highlight a single topic and to bring in resources to share with the department, to discuss what we are already doing vs. what other things / realistic changes are possible.

1. Habits of Mind - how do we teach/assess these?
2. Scaffolding vs. productive struggle
3. How do we teach for retention?
4. Motivational techniques, "hooks" for lessons, and two-week rhythm
5. Conceptual vs. skills development -- false dichotomy
6. What makes a good problem?
7. What makes a good project?
8. Long-term "backwards" planning vs. hinge points in individual lessons
9. Examining scope and sequence more closely - how are concepts related, why do we teach things in this order, and can we do better?
10. Meaningful adaptation of technology

Other ideas?? What big topics am I missing in helping already experienced teachers examine their own practice critically? Once I decide on a rough list of topics, I would appreciate any help you can give me in providing thorough and/or very clear resources that discuss each of these topics. THANK YOU! :)


  1. Online teacher communities: twitter, blogs, videos, etc. Prior to starting my own blog late last year, I was looking at a lot of stuff online, reading and researching, but I was very QUIET about it, I was just downloading. But I'm gaining so much more now through conversations with other educators --

    The moment that I think I'm an "already experienced" teacher (reads OLD), I learn something valuable from a new and/or young teacher.

  2. The things I have been focusing on this year are increasing rigor in lessons that were good to make them great and incorporating more and more writing.

  3. What about studying the research by Carol Dweck on fixed and growth mindsets. She talks about in her research and book about the fact that some people think that their intelligence is fixed and others think it can grow and develop. Both understandings have a definite impact on learning and teaching, and I think we see the fixed mindset a lot in students who think they just can't do math... or in teachers who think that there are students who just can't do math.

  4. Thanks for your ideas! I'll keep y'all posted on the resources I find.