Professional Development

Not Another Boring PD

In my class on digital resources, I am being asked to submit an article for publication.  That has been a very scary process.  I cannot upload it to share as it will be “published” at that point, but I can share my elevator pitch video on why my article should be read.  Enjoy!

Professional Learning Presentation

What a journey I have had in the last year.  My original innovation idea was “Appy Hour,” showing apps and how they are used in everyday living to increase the comfort level of them being used in the classroom.  Implementing this innovation plan has really made me focus more on professional learning and how to make it more effective in our profession.  So although my innovation plan is mentioned in my presentation, it was more what I learned from it that pushed me towards my idea of a change I think would benefit my campus. 

 When thinking about the primary PL on my campus, I came up with an innovation that started several years ago by our current administration called Curriculum Committees.  At the time, we were placed on a committee and we took turns presenting to the staff in small group sessions every other month.  I think it was innovative because it was less “sit and get” than your typical faculty meeting.  I also liked the idea of us being the experts.  Fast forward to year three and now I see some changes that can be made to make it much better and stronger.  So, my presentation really focuses on the current practice at my school and how to assess it using Gulamhussein’s 5 Principles for Effective Professional Learning.  I do reference my “Appy Hour” idea in the presentation, but in a more what I had to change kind of way than using it as an example. 

I feel like this approach is so relevant in our profession because there is so much professional learning out there that,with a few adjustments, could be so engaging and beneficial to teachers.  I don’t really see the point in reinventing the wheel, so to speak.  By showing how one campus can take a current PL plan and adjust it to address the 5 principles, hopefully the task wouldn’t seem so daunting to other campuses.

 The idea that I had for the changes to our current PL did grow and change while I was creating my presentation.   I had to take into account the why of my plan, to engage the teachers in a more effective professional learning situation.   I also had to walk that fine line of being encouraging and not critical of current practices.  I feel like adding in elements to the presentation,  such as the report being accessible by clicking on the picture, makes it more beneficial for my administration.  I tried to include a few videos, for interest and information, and put in brainstorming sessions after each principle to make the administration more active participants in the changes.   I paid really close attention to using the Google slides not as a platform for a lot of information, but as a catalyst for the discussion that I would have during the presentation.  Many of my ideas can’t be seen until you access the notes for each slide.  

 I did try to find a video on active learning that would really drive the point across that what is good for students is good for teachers as learners too. I feel like seeing the ideas in the video format will make it more memorable and impactful.  I chose this particular principle because I feel like this is an area that we need to focus on the most.  The video I used at the end of the presentation was really to just drive home my point that change is good and that innovation is scary, but necessary, especially in our profession.

I did use a tool that is somewhat new to me, Google Slides.  I am more of a Powerpoint person but since I am switching to a more Mac based platform to show versatality in my technology use, I needed a tool that I could use interchangeably.  I found it very easy to use on either platform and I even learned how to make a screenshot on the Mac.  The one thing that I missed was the ability to add audio, which I was going to do for the purposes of putting this on my Eportfolio.  That said,  it is important when viewing this video on my Eportfolio, or WordPress, that you click on the gear to open up the options.  Then, view presenter notes to see more of what I would talk about during the actual presentation. 

 I hope you enjoy my presentation.  It was simple but I really tried to focus in on the information shared in the class by Nancy Duarte and Presentation Zen about what makes a good presentation. 



Duarte, N. (2013). Resonate: Present visual stories that transform audiences. John Wiley & Sons.          An online media version of Resonate can be accessed for free at!page0

Duarte, N. (2013). How to Tell a Story. Retrieved November 25, 2016, from

 Duarte, N. (2013). How to Create Better Visual Presentations. Retrieved November 25, 2016, from

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

 How Presentation Zen Fixed My Bad PowerPoints. (2013, September 16). Retrieved November 25, 2016, from

 Phillips, D. (2014). How to avoid death By PowerPoint.  Retrieved November 25, 2016, from

 Reynolds, G. (2013). Presentation zen design: simple design principles and techniques to enhance your presentations. New Riders.

Outline/Timeline Professional Learning

This week we were asked to create an outline and timeline to show our professional learning idea and some of the details that we needed to think about when looking at creating our plan.  It was hard to come up with a format at first, but once I put that aside and just started to put my ideas on paper, it came together in a format that will work for me.  I hope you enjoy reading through what I’ve come up with.  As usual, if you have any ideas or comments to help me out, please leave me a comment.


  • Big hairy audacious goal for the revamped Curriculum Committee PresentationsTo complete a year of professional learning that reflects the use of key principles of effective professional learning and creates an environment that is supportive and collaborative in encouraging teachers to try new ideas in all areas of curriculum.  This goal will be measured by the occurrence of teachers asking for further information or help after the presentations.  
  • Goal       Assessment Learning
    Use 5 Principles of Effective PL Presentations address 5 Principles – reflect on if it did afterwards
    1. Teachers need to be trained in the awareness of the 5 principles and how to implement them in presentations
    2. Use planning sheet while coming up with presentation (backward design or 3 column table)
    Use collaboration tools Presentations utilized collaboration both during planning and during the presentation
    1. Look at different collaboration tools for presentation
    2. Decide together what works best
    Provide support for others during implementation Teachers go out and support implementation of ideas – share experiences with each others during the final reflection meeting in May.  
    1. Request help in scheduling time to support teachers.
    2. Contact teachers who request help and find out what their needs are.  

    Before presenting this outline, it is necessary to understand the current Curriculum Committee presentation format at my school.  Once a month, we are required to attend the presentation of ideas by our 5 curriculum committees (3 one month, 2 the next, alternating throughout the year).  We are assigned these committees by our Administration in August.  We break into 3 or 2 groups, depending on the month, and rotate through the 20 minute sessions of PL given by our colleagues on a subject of their choice within their curriculum area.  We register for this through our district workshop system and instructor notes are made available.  

    I am proposing a revision to the current practice.  I am asking our Administration to change the following current practices:  

    1. Allow teachers to choose their own committee based on interest
    2. Train members on the 5 key principles of effective PL given by Gulamhussein in her research (see resources).
    3. Have the committees choose one or two focuses for all their presentations (ex.  Reading-guided reading, Technology- blended learning) instead of letting teachers present whatever they want.
    4. Build in more collaboration and more opportunities for modeling/mentoring for the teachers when they want to implement a new idea. Build in the idea of “buddies” that hold each other accountable for implementation.  


    • Each of the 5 key principles will be addressed throughout the year of presentations.  The Principal and AP will need to be introduced to and trained about these 5 principles before the end of the current school year or over the summer.  This can be done in a variety of ways.  The report will be made accessible to them during the presentation.  I would also like to share many of the videos that we have viewed during this class, especially the ones about collaboration.  It is important that they have a very good understanding of the principles, as they will train the Committee heads and the other support personnel who will be needed throughout the year to give support to teachers.  
    • The key principles will be used every planning session by the committee head and the presenters to make sure that they are doing their very best to hit on all five and make the PL the most effective it can be.  If needed, the Principal and AP will be available to help them negotiate or come up with ideas.  


    • Collaboration will be built into the Curriculum Committee Presentations in various ways.  The first example would be the Principal and the AP collaborating with the committee heads to explain the 5 key principles.  If they are comfortable with the idea, I would offer to do the trainings.  
    • The head of the committee and the presenters for that month will collaborate during the planning session to create a PL that is as effective as possible.
    • During each presentation, the presenters will be encouraged to include collaboration among the attendees as much as possible.
    • The Principal and AP will encourage collaboration during grade level PLC’s when having the teachers plan what they want to try to implement and what support they will need.
    • The committees are asked to collaborate in May on what they want to implement the next year and what support they will need to do so.
    • The Principal, AP, PF’s, counselor, and any support personnel needed will collaborate with the committee heads, the presenters, the grade level teams, and each other throughout the year to support implementation and help make time for modeling and mentoring for the teachers.  


    • The Principal and AP will be in charge of training the committee heads and fostering collaboration throughout the year.  They will also be in charge of the coordination of scheduling opportunities, if requested by the teachers, for modeling and mentoring opportunities.  They will make assign a support person to videotape each presentation and upload it to the S drive for the presenters who are unable to view other meetings.  They will encourage implementation and help manage conversations about implementation during the PLC meetings held every 6 weeks.  
    • The PF’s and Tech Liaison will be trained by the Principal and AP(or myself) on the 5 key principles of effective PL.  They will be available during planning sessions to help the committee heads and presenters come up with ideas if needed in their area of expertise.  They will be available to cover classrooms so that teachers can go out and observe if they have requested that support.  They will be the liaisons with the school district for any curriculum questions or concerns that may arise from implementation.
    • The committee head will be responsible for training each group of presenters on their committee when it is their turn to present the 5 key principles of effective PL.  They will sit in on the planning meeting and they will fill in the planning sheet to make sure that all 5 areas are addressed.  They will let the Administration know if any special materials are needed for the presentation or the implementation of an idea.  They will seek out help during the planning stages if needed from the PF’s or the Tech Liaison.  
    • The committee members will present an idea one time during the year.  They will help decide the one or two areas that their committee will focus on.  They will choose a committee that they feel very passionate about, regardless of their primary teaching assignment.  They will come to all meetings prepared with ideas but also with an open mind to doing PL “differently” than they have before. They will attend the other committee presentations and alert the Administration if they would like support in implementing ideas that they have seen and what support they will need.  The presenters will be open to any requests by teachers to model or mentor in what they have presented, with some help scheduling the logistics by the support staff.  


    • The audience for this PL is classroom teachers in a K-4 setting.  They may teach only one subject or all subjects, depending on their assignments.  They will need adequate support both in their presentations and also in implementing any ideas that were presented to them.


    • Presenters will be encouraged and trained how to use a backward design model when planning their presentations.  They will be trained on this design model in one of the beginning of the year staff development sessions (see resources for a Prezi, article, and template).  


    • A rough timeline is included in a different document to follow this one.
    • This PL will occur in the 2017-2018 school year, from August until May.
    • There will be monthly presentations by different committees on Thursday.  


    2017-2018 Timeline

    August – Principal and AP go over new format of PL.  Teachers choose their committees based on their interest.  Committees meet and decide on the head of the committee, who will be trained in the 5 steps of effective PL.  Committee also chooses one area of focus for the year (ex:  Reading might do guided reading, technology might do blended learning).  The committee then delegates the remaining jobs (paperwork person, communications person, technology person, etc…)

    August – Principal and AP (or myself) train the committee heads in the 5 steps of effective PL.  They will give a planning sheet created by the leadership team to help them plan and incorporate all 5 principles.  

    September – 1st meeting – Planning meeting for the first group of committees that will present (Science, Technology, Math).  The group will choose the first presenters. The head of the committee is in charge of filling in the planning sheet and helping the teachers brainstorm ways to incorporate the 5 principles in their presentations.

    September – 2nd meeting – Group 1 will present for 20 minutes each.  Teachers who are not presenting or are in group 2 will move through the presentations according to their committee assignments.   Teachers who are interested in observing or being mentored may contact the head of the committee that they need.  The head of the committee will contact the principal to arrange coverage for classes so that modeling and/or mentoring can occur if requested.  All attendees will fill out google form survey.  The presentations will be filmed and made available on the S drive for any teachers who were presenting in group 1 and were not able to rotate through the presentations.

    October – 1st meeting – Planning meeting for the second group of committees that will present. ( Reading, Writing).  The group will choose the first presenters.  The head of the committee is in charge of filling in the planning sheet and helping the teachers brainstorm ways to incorporate the 5 principles in their presentations.

    October – 2nd meeting – Group 2 will present for 20 minutes each.  Teachers who are not presenting or are in group 1 will move through the presentations according to their committee assignments.   Teachers who are interested in observing or being mentored may contact the head of the committee that they need.  The head of the committee will contact the principal to arrange coverage for classes so that modeling and/or mentoring can occur if requested.  All attendees will fill out google form survey.  The presentations will be filmed and made available on the S drive for any teachers who were presenting in group 2 and were not able to rotate through the presentations.

    The same format will be followed November through April, rotating Group 1 and Group 2.  The meetings can be combined or shortened as everyone gets used to the 5 principals.  

    May – This will be a debriefing of the years PL.  The committees will meet and will begin to brainstorm what they want to implement the following school year and what support they will need from Administration.  A list will be made and given to Administration so they can work on it over the summer.  

    **Teachers are also going to be encouraged during their grade level PLC’s to begin implementation of anything they have seen that they think will be beneficial to them.  The principal, AP, peer facilitators, and counselor, along with any support personnel who may be applicable (ex. Computer) should also be invited to the PLC if they will be needed to help support the implementation.  When a teacher is interested in implementing, they are encouraged to fill out an Implementation Needs form (created by principal and AP and myself) to map out the support that they will be needing, and to make sure that everyone that needs to be made aware of needs is kept in the loop.  

    ***I did present this to my administration and did make a few changes.  They were open to several changes but expressed concern about some of the changes creating a hierarchy (they like us all to be equals).  There was also some question of if videotaped presentations would be utilized, because district ones were not.  I reassured her if the trainings were as good as they could be with the 5 Principles, people would want to go back and view them again (or for the first time if they aren’t available).  We also need to address equal workload for the committee members to take some of the load of the head.  If the head is responsible for training, others should be responsible for paperwork, communication, etc.  

    Resources for introducing Backward design

  • What is Backward design? – presentation with videos
  • Why Backward is Best – article about backward design
  • Backward Design Templates
  • 3 Column Table Template
  • Resources for training about Gullamhussein’s 5 Principles

    Collaboration/Presentation tools

    Growth Mindset Resources

  • The Final Plan

  • The last 5 weeks, I have been working on a plan to modify an existing practice at my school we call “Curriculum Committees”.  I have taken what we currently have in place, which is a great way for teachers to learn from each other, and changed a few components to reflect Gullamhussein’s 5 Principles of Professional Learning.  You can read her research here  if you are interested in all the research and numbers behind her ideas.

    When I was thinking of a PL (professional learning) idea, I immediately went to something that we already do because I know the faculty and administration are more comfortable with “tweeking” something that is already in place than just starting over with something new.  My first step in the quest was to create my presentation.  I used Google slides, a tool that I wasn’t as familiar with, to challenge myself to use something that I can use with both Windows and Mac.  I sat down with my principal and went through the presentation last week, and she was on board with many of the ideas that I suggested to make these presentations more effective.  Big sigh of relief there!

    The next step, was to come up with an outline and timeline for what I was suggesting.  So I planned out the 2017-2018 Curriculum Committee sessions.  Most of the work I did before the conversation, so I did go back and edit based on the discussion that we had during my presentation.  My principal had some good questions which helped me narrow my focus quite a bit.  There were also some “sticking points” that we decided that we might have to work out in the course of the learning.

    The final piece of the puzzle was to get the resources that I would need together to implement the plan.  As some of the areas are still very loosely planned, I am sure I will have to add to my resources.  I hope to at least some parts of this plan implemented in the next school year.  I believe that I am being a voice for the other teachers on my campus, saying what others are not always comfortable saying, about the state of our PL.  I am happy to take on that job, as long as I can.

    At first, I felt like all the pieces of this plan were kind of a lot of busy work, but now having gone through it and actually trying to implement it, I see that it was all necessary to achieve my bigger goal of changing what PL looks like on my campus for the better.

    I hope you enjoyed reading about my plan.  Look for updates towards the end of this school year when I hope we can finalize some of the arrangement.



    Gullamhussein, A. (n.d.). Effective Professional Development in an Era of High Stakes Testing. Retrieved December 15, 2016, from






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