SIPS of Learning – PD by Teachers for Teachers

Slicing every day in March!!

Yesterday, teachers at my school, Pre-K – 12, participated in an afternoon of professional learning courtesy of our colleagues. Every two to three months, a call for presenters is made and teachers volunteer to conduct a 30-minute session to their peers about an education-related topic. There are usually about ten workshops for teachers to choose from and teachers attend two different sessions during the afternoon.

Yesterday I participated in a workshop conducted by our 7th grade science teacher. She led a Critical Friends Group using a protocol to help teachers get ideas from others for a problem of practice. There were five of us altogether in the session and two of us got to share a difficult problem that we wanted help with.

The teacher who is looking for suggestions (in this case, me), talks for approximately 5 minutes about her particular classroom problem. Then, everyone asks clarifying questions. Next, the presenter recounts the issue at hand including what the teacher is asking the group for help with. Finally, everyone offers suggestions and the teacher jots down ideas to try out in her class. As a last step, the presenter summarizes the suggestions offered by the rest of the group.

Without going into detail right now, I got great ideas, but mostly insight, about how I was structuring my math stations. I have tried several iterations of math stations this year and none have felt right to me. I am trying a new version of math stations tomorrow and after next week, I will write a reflective post about that.

My big take-away from yesterday’s SIPS session: professional learning that is teacher-led and teacher-informed is critical to improving our practice.

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