Thursday, October 16, 2008

What Exactly Are They Doing All Day?

Ever wonder what your child's teacher is doing on those "Professional Development" (a.k.a. PD)days? Well I'm here to spill the beans and let you in on all the secrets of these days off. Days that are loved by students but maybe not so much by parents who have to reorganize schedules, find child care, etc.

Okay, maybe I've built this up a little too much. In truth, there aren't many secrets. Sure, most of the teachers "dress down" but the truth is, these days are all business.

Take September's PD day, for example. Together, the fourth and fifth grade teachers were able to plan the entire year's writing curriculum, making sure that not only will it be engaging and exciting, but also ensuring that it's aligned with the state's standards. This is a lot more work than it sounds like. But without that day off, we'd never have gotten it done. Most of us would have felt like we were flying by the seat of our pants when it came to our very important writing lessons. Luckily, though, we're now all on the same page and we have a vision of what we want to accomplish. And we've planned how we're going to accomplish it. Pretty impressive, I know.

Tomorrow, while our students are eating a little too much junk food, sleeping in, and playing video games, we'll be at work bright and early. Data Analysis is on the agenda this time. We'll be looking at test results (particularly MAP test scores) and figuring out how these numbers can help us improve our teaching, especially when it comes to individualizing instruction for each student.

I, being quite the math nerd, love working with data. But I enjoy it even more when I am learning how to use it to improve my lessons and projects. I'm looking forward to it.

So rest assured, we'll be working hard and making strides. Even without our students, it'll be hard work, but it will be valuable.

And this time I'll try to find out some secrets so that my next post about PD is a little more interesting!

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