Thursday, May 31, 2012

Oatmeal or Cocoa Puffs?

Prior to earning a teaching credential, I had never heard the phrase professional development. Once you've been in the profession for... hmmm... two years, those two words take on a whole new meaning. Sometimes it entails tearing down and recreating every poster you ever spent an hour beautifying. Sometimes it just encourages a lesson tweak here and there. Over the years, our district has been significantly "professionally developed". Like everything in life, there are plans and strategies that resemble Cocoa Puffs cereal. First we're koo-koo for them but, after a few weeks, the ideas turn soggy and go down the drain with the brackish milk. Other plans and strategies become like oatmeal, sticking to our ribs and becoming permanent fixtures in our lessons or teaching mannerisms.

This year, we have spent many professional development meetings learning about and discussing strategies created by Kate Kinsella. When I first heard her name, I was intrigued. I mean, one of my favorite summer authors is Sophie Kinsella of the Confessions of a Shopaholic series. For an instant I daydreamed about a staff development meeting filled with tears of laughter and winking approvals. While Kate Kinsella's articles aren't quite filled with British humor, I have actually had many enthusiastic take aways. The active listening/response strategies pictured below being one of them. I think it's a very kid friendly, fun, kinesthetic approach to demonstrating to third graders how to improve their listening and communication skills.

I've always been more of the philosophy that I'm going to try anything new with an open mind, a creative heart, and a bit of gumption to try to make it work. Sometimes it sticks and sometimes it just isn't my cup of English Breakfast tea. Yes, I still have Becky from Shopaholic on my mind. How have you been able to incorporate newer professional development strategies or techniques to your already tried and true favorite programs?


Heather's Heart said...

What a great title for this post!

My district is very good about researching things before we start doing them. We have been doing Balanced Literacy for 10 years and the Comprehension Strategies for at least 7 years...maybe longer.

The most powerful thing I have learned has to be Conscious Discipline. It is AMAZING!!! It is all about building your School Family but also teaching problem solving and promoting kindness. I LOVE it and blog about it all of the time! =)

Heather's Heart

Miss Brynley said...

Thanks, Heather. I'll skip over to your blog and check it out.


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