Monday, August 19, 2013

A Different Look to Back-To-School PD

Successful Answer to Competition
We didn't want teachers to come into school this week and sit for a couple of hours while we go over the daily routine, duty, emergency procedures, etc, etc, etc.... Nope. Aint gonna do it!

Instead we planned a couple hour activity that went like this:


Teachers were given a place to go as they came into the door. There were 6 places set up and 6 to 8 staff members at each place.  The first task was to get to know each other. Then they had to select a group name and create a video introducing each of the members of the group. The video was sent to me.

Each of the 6 sites had a different activity and each activity had an "expert" (one of our administrators, IC's, or librarian). We used Facetime as the means of communicating from the activity to the expert. Because of the possibility of tech/wireless difficulties, we had written copies of information.

At each site there was a team building challenge. The teams performed the challenge and the recorder shot a video of the success (or failure). The recorder sent the video, via email, to me. {Note:  I will be creating a movie from all of the video clips.} Once the video was sent, the groups contacted the activity expert, via Facetime, where they were given 3 words from this Colin Powell quote:  "There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure."

The six activities were named for educational concepts that we want to focus on this year. Activity one was "Higher Order Thinking" and entailed a challenge where they had to create a song. Activity two was "Literacy" and they had to decipher a nonsense paragraph and answer questions based upon the paragraph. Activity three was "Closing the Achievement Gap" and the teachers had to move down the hallway to set spots by moving different lengths of 2 X 4's between the spots and walking only on the pieces of wood. Activity 4 was L.C.R. (Learning/Collaboration/Reflection) and they had a team building activity with duct tape. Activity 5 was "Growth Mindset" and they had to do another team building activity like the peg game at a Cracker Barrel Restaurant. Finally, Activity 6 was "The key to student success" and teachers were given clues that took them to a bathroom mirror where they were to figure out that "They" were the key to student success.

At the end of 15 minutes teams rotated to the next station. If the task was not successfully completed the teams did not receive a piece of the phrase.  At the end of all of the rotations groups had to put the phrase in order and then they contacted their expert. At that time they had to state the quote and who is known to have said it originally. Some teams searched online for the quote and wanted to state the answer after only a couple of rotations. Teams were not penalized for being resourceful except that they had to wait until the end of the game to tell us the answer.


At the end of the game teachers came to the cafeteria where there were refreshments.  We discussed the importance of the quote, and how the quote and the activities relate to the upcoming school year.

Our administration reflected afterward with Likes/Wonders/ and Next Steps (See image)  The "U" in the Wonder column is for the U in our school norms - "Utilize what you've learned."  As you can see there were a lot of positives.

Just like in the classroom there is plenty of time to cover the "curriculum" or, in this case, the day-to-day requirements of running a school. It is more important to establish relationships if you want to have a truly collaborative group.  And with these two hours of team building we have created relationships that will, hopefully, be sustaining and will foster a faculty who works exceptionally well together.