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Rule of the Thirds – Professional Development Secrets

teacher workshops

You might be like many who organize professional development. You are experienced, thoughtful and very, very busy.

So what is the “Rule of Thirds?”It’s the biggest little secret in education. There are three BIG thirds in professional development (PD).

The first third of the three comes from the circumstances of the actual professional development day. I am shocked at how often someone asks me to fly 5,000 miles to his or her school and yet there’s a terrible microphone, poor seating and abominable lighting. Some “providers” ensure there are plenty of donuts, as if that would optimize staff learning. Others give me a screen 6′ x 6′ for 500 people. That’s like watching a movie in your living room on an iPod. Instead get a 10 x 10′ screen!

Over the years, I have been asked to speak in a movie theater, a bar, a library, a lunchroom and, even a racetrack. A cheap or free venue is NOT a bargain if the staff has a bad day. Now you should know that I am good at working miracles with whatever someone gives me, but why take risks if you don’t have to?

The first third of the three parts is: optimize learning conditions!

The second third of the value in professional development comes from having a relevant, high quality, and very engaging presenter. That’s right: 33% of the value from any professional development that comes from the caliber of presenter. By the way, those who hire me say that I consistently get “rave” reviews. I will always do my best to be the best you can get.

The third of three thirds comes from the follow up. Every teacher needs to have weekly or monthly “check-ins” that jump-start the changes. Teachers are busy and sometimes stressed. In fact, they are so busy, that you practically have to “get in their face” to get them to do something out of the ordinary. Without adequate follow up, you are getting only one third of the potential value.

Follow up should be 1) book study 2) professional learning communities 3) weekly emails 4) teachers blogging about the strategies they use 5) short weekly staff meetings with quick sharing and celebrations.

Without those three BIG qualities, you have little chance. But now that you know better, see what you can do to make it happen.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Wesley Fryer

A School on the Cusp

nichols-hill

This month our featured “Extreme School” is a school like many, on the “cusp.” That means, their student population is right on the edge for qualifying for this update. Just under 50% of their students are from poverty.

What this school does with their kids is amazing…

THE CHALLENGES:

This elementary school is in Oklahoma City and has a diverse population, with an increasing segment of Hispanics every year. Just under half of the students are from poverty and the challenge is to prepare kids for secondary education and for life.

THE PROCESS:

How does this school rate in the top 10% of all schools in their district and in the surrounding areas?

1. Decision is made. The school staff begins with a simple question: “Are we 100% (not 90%) committed to the success of our students?”

2. Support. Instead of complaining about what kids can’t do, they tutor students after school and provide resources necessary to individualize instruction. They ensure their kids CAN do what they need to do for success.

3. Focus. Naturally, they use research-based methods that they know will get results. They are a Great Expectations’ School and the majority of their professional development has been from the Great Expectations organization. This company raises the vision of what can be done and they provide clear, practical strategies to reach the miracle.

RESULTS:

The school is in the top 5% in the entire state! They are a National Blue Ribbon School, an A+ Arts School, a Core Knowledge School, and a model school for the Great Expectations process. In short, kids LOVE going to this school.

CONTACT:

Outstanding Teacher: Paula Washington
pewashington@okcps.org
and
Carol Berry
Principal
Nichols Hills Elementary
Oklahoma City, OK 73116


TRANSFER TIME:

Now, you’ve read about another “Extreme School” success story, we have a question for you. How many school successes do you need to see and hear about before you BELIEVE that it can happen at your school? And, if there’s anyone on your staff who does not think it can happen, please forward these monthly bulletins to them.

Second, what can you learn from the true story mentioned above? The only good that happens in this world is when you move things from inside your brain to the outside world. What ideas, principles or strategies were affirmed OR, what was new to you? Could this be a topic of discussion at your next staff meeting?

Finally, miracles do happen every day. Are you ready to be one of them?

A Professional Development Webinar with Special Guest, Eric Jensen.

Scientific Learning Corporation invites you to a Professional Development webinar with special guest, Eric Jensen.

He will be discussing the “7 Discoveries From Brain Research That Could Revolutionize Education” and how these discoveries have “real world implication” for all educators. Join the session to learn how you can apply this research to succeed with your students in the classroom. This webinar will take place on Tuesday, September 28th at 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern time.

Please click HERE to register ASAP as space is limited. If you have any questions, please email webinars@scilearn.com.



Professional Development for Teachers – When You Have To Do It Yourself

In today’s world, budgets are tighter than ever. Principals are now tasked with a great amount of staff training.

When preparing a presentation for your teaching staff, the most difficult element is getting that &*%$ PowerPoint finalized.

We’ve all been there.

After receiving numerous requests for copies of Eric Jensen’s presentations that he’s held in our workshops, we’ve decided that we’d organize all of the top topics, and offer them to you.

Some of the topics covered are:

  • AD/HD Insight and Solutions
  • Brain Based Principles to Strategies
  • Enrichment for Learning
  • Fierce Teaching – 7 Factors That Matter Most
  • How Teaching Changes Brains
  • How to Implement Brain-Based Education
  • Teaching with Poverty in Mind
  • Teaching with the Brain in Mind
  • Tools for Engagement

…and many more.

Eric Jensen has prepared these PowerPoint presentations to help deliver a powerful, concise presentation…

Those who have asked us for PowerPoint presentations are most often:

1. Trainers who work with groups of 20 or more
2. Staff developers who really want to make a difference in the lives of others
3. Teachers who want a more energizing classroom and
4. Anyone who currently or will in the future, spend a lot time in front of groups.

The staff development presentations will have title slides and closing slides. Average presentation will be 75-125 slides, depending on the topic.

You may customize (in fact, you are encouraged to do so), your slides by adding your own titles, key themes, strategies, persons of interest, school pictures and activities.

So save yourself time, and headache, and check out the PowerPoint presentations available here.

An Educational Staff Development Plan To Optimize Teacher Time

Effectively Making an Educational Staff Development Plan Optimizes Teacher Time.

In-Service Learning Should Be about Reforms and Improvements to Teaching.

Making an educational staff development plan is not always easy. There is a lot of competition for teachers’ time and, from a classroom standpoint, every day is precious.

The chief purpose of making an educational staff development plan is to promote reform in the classroom and in education in general. Any reform requires teachers to center on changes to their own practice of teaching for better results. Any reform that increases student engagement, enhances retaining or critical information, and allows for higher academic achievement should go at the top of the list for material to use in staff development plans.

We can safely say that teachers are far more likely to modify their everyday instructional practices (which is a huge key) when their professional development is linked directly to their daily experiences and aligned with standards and assessments.

In other words, tie in what you are offering with what your staff already does every day. This way there is an immediate tie-in and teachers can see the connection. Additionally, the staff developer should role-model every strategy and give teachers a moment to practice it in small groups.

Staff Development is a Requirement

Making an educational staff development plan is required for teacher recertification and licensing in all states. That requires teachers to spend a considerable amount of time in on-going development, in-service training, or post-graduate credits. There is so much to learn, but because the need to attend in-service development sometimes outweighs the effort to gain meaningful knowledge to use in the classroom, many teachers spend many hours learning how to use a digital camera, a GPS device, or other pedestrian subjects rather than filling the hours with solid, meaningful reforms to apply in the classroom.

Jensen Learning Can Help

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