December Challenge-Professional Development

Teaching involves constant learning and re-learning and discovering. As a part of our professional development for this year we are trying something new. Something called “always on professional development”. The idea is to be constantly seeking out professional development opportunities and ways to share them with the rest of the staff. So to that end we have been issued a December Challenge- find a book, 2 articles, and a webinar about your professional development goal and share them with the rest of the staff in some elegant way. I’ve found blogging to be my preferred method lately and so here we are.

My goal for this year was to become more proficient at student-led discussions. I am hoping to have students take more ownership over their learning. I attended Kagan Training earlier in the year to start this process. Now I have found a few other resources to help me in this process.

Questioning for Classroom Discussion: Developing Students As Thinkers and Learners This webinar focuses on the discussion techniques for in the classroom in multiple ways. They first focus on the research behind questioning for schools. Then look at teacher driven, small group, and student- driven. The authors give specific focused advice in implementing each of these different strategies in the classroom.

This article goes over 15 different discussion strategies for all different types of discussions. Some are low-prep. Some are high-prep. All are designed to get student’s talking in class.

This article is specifically designed around teaching and using Socratic Seminars for student-led discussion. The author discusses how to plan, use, and reflect on the seminars in your classes. All is very clear and easy to follow.

Finally I found Student-Led Discussions: How Do I Promote Rich Conversations About Books, Videos, and Other Media?. This book discusses the process for having students take ownership of their learning through student-led discussions about texts and movies. This book is particularly interesting to me for my History Through Film class to help facilitate discussions around the movies we are watching.

Hopefully all of these resources will help me become a better teacher and will help my coworkers/other teachers grow as well!