Monday, August 1, 2011

What Does PD Look Like? (Part 1)

Wow! That is the only word that comes to mind when I think about my professional development this summer. I think I should rename it PPD - PERSONAL professional development. This entire summer, I've been thinking about topics that are meaningful to me; exploring concepts or practices I'd like to refine in my workshop practice. The take-away from all of this -- mapping out and planning my own personal learning makes it very powerful.

Over the next few days, I'm going to share some of the ways I've been thinking about learning and workshop this summer.

One of the first activities in which I participated was #cyberPD chat. A group of teachers came together on twitter; we had all put Patrick Allen's book, Conferring: The Keystone of Reader's Workshop, on our professional TBR pile. Led by our gracious hosts, Cathy, Laura, and Jill, we spent a month looking at Patrick's book, reading it, responding about sections on our blogs, reading others' posts, responding to their thinking, and then meeting Patrick Allen online last Monday for a twitter conversation about conferring. Talk about a PD that had me entirely focused! So many ways in which to participate and think about conferring. I feel like the conferring part of my workshop will be stronger because of my active participation.

To follow up from this #cyberPD conversation, a small group of us got together to talk about using Evernote as a documentation tool while conferring. Cathy, Deb, Maria, and I all gathered around my kitchen table this past week, four of us actually sitting at the table, and Susan Dee from Maine, joining us on computer via Skype. Two benefits showed up here. First, the connected learning piece. All five of us were connected even though we teach in 3 different school districts and 4 different school buildings. Twitter has brought us together in powerful ways. We can truly form PLNs that span the world. That being said, the 2nd benefit of our meeting was the ability to sit side by side and talk together in person. We could talk in real-time about what we were doing and we could share our thinking on the spot and make it immediately visible to others. Non-stop learning took place that afternoon (ok, and some great chips and queso were eaten as well - sorry about that Susan!). Again, I had many great take-aways about my teaching practice from this personal PD session.

In an effort to not make each post too lengthy, I'll leave you with these two opportunities for now. Check back in the coming days for other PPD in which I've participated and learned. And in the meantime, what have your personal professional development learning opportunities been this summer? Would love to hear about them!!


  1. How fun you could explore a new piece of technology with friends!I agree the personal pd I got this summer was great. I loved hearing other's thoughts on topics I was interested in learning more about this summer such as promoting inquiry, using blogs and conferring. Reading everyone's posts on conferring expanded my own thinking so much-great model for students on how discussion can take learning to new levels!

  2. One of my best summers ever for me as far as PD thanks for being a part of the conversations as well as helping me grow.I felt like we were neighbors again sitting at the kitchen table :)

  3. Karen,
    It is amazing when you think about all we've learned this summer. I've been able to participate in many professional learning opportunities through Twitter, blogs, etc.. Many of these have lead to gatherings with further discussion. I have to say I have not only had one of my best summers of learning, but I've had more fun than ever doing it. How can you not love a gathering with queso? Thanks so much for making this journey a combination of learning and fun!

  4. Karen~
    This has been an AMAZING summer for learning~ from presenting, to #cyberpd all the way to Ikea! I would have never imagined blogging and tweeting would have changed my life so much personally as well as professionally!
    I have learned so much and made new friends along the way~ what a great bonus!

  5. Karen, I'm so glad you feel energized and empowered with all these learning and new knowledge. I truly believe each one of us can be each other's support and inspiration in this journey. THank you for being part of mine!

  6. Karen,
    I really enjoyed the PD we were able to share via Skype..;even if I didn't have any queso. :) The way technology has connected me with thoughtful, forward thinking colleagues has been the highlight of my year! Thank you so much for reaching out, sharing your thinking, and including me!