September 28, 2009 by readlisaread
I know! I’m as shocked as anyone! A few years back, my district started doing these: Choose the current Flavour of the Month or Bandwagon, and spend a whole day, with all the employees together in one place, talking about it. So, for a few years it was Barry Bennett and Beyond Monet, prior to that it was Rick Dufour and Professional Learning Communities, and we’ve also done several Literacy and Numeracy days. In the past, the days usually required the Jetting in from Afar the Expert of choice, but a lot of that went by the wayside with the last change of Super. This New Guy seems to keep repeating that the experts are our colleagues and peers, and we should have time to talk to each other, not listen to The Outsiders. (I wonder if he has been reading my blog….!!) By and large I think he means it, and he seems genuine enough.
So, today we were carrying on the “conversation”‘ about Assessment For Learning. The Old AFL. Not to be confused with Assessment Of Learning (the Old AOL….not to be confused with the New AOL…..)
We gathered together en masse balancing muffins and bad coffee and listened to the occasionally painful PowerPoint opening remarks. (Cracks me up, incidentally, that Micro$oft products are TOTALLY verboten in our labs and classrooms now– we should all be using iLife Suite–but all of the Senior Admin presentations were done on PowerPoint. It was awesome. *rolls eyes*) After the intro, more coffee and muffins, then off to small groups, where we gathered with Similar Teachers and compared notes. Meh. I always like talking to other teachers, but I very much dislike the artifice of days like this, so I wasn’t very focused in the morning. Lunch was ok, then back to afternoon Break Out sessions.
That’s when it got good.
During the lunch time, I connected with another IT teacher and we exchanged some war stories. It was then determined that I should come to his small group in the afternoon, and we should do some brainstorming about some of our Issues. Well, this guy got accomplished in one 2 hour session what I’ve been trying to do for 4 years. In a nutshell, he got the IT Curriculum Coordinator to agree to find more support for Middle/Secondary schools, and he got the Prince of IT to agree to install the latest version of Moodle on the District Server for all the use. FINALLY. The Prince started talking about the “cost of release time” for us to set stuff up, and we fairly shrieked at him that if he would just GIVE us the tools, we would put the time in to create the goods. It was a total Win-Win, and I can’t believe how well the day ended.
Yay! I love collaborating with teachers– I wish they would encourage more of that, and less of the prescribed Lesson Of the Day, but….baby steps.