Restart Recharge Podcast

011 - PD Mini Series Part 2: Differentiation

July 13, 2021 Forward Edge Season 1 Episode 11
Restart Recharge Podcast
011 - PD Mini Series Part 2: Differentiation
Show Notes Transcript

Planning a good, authentic, PD can be difficult. Adding on layers of differentiation, personal choice, assessment, and alignment with district initiatives makes this coaching skill even tougher to master. This episode will explore the complicated art of differentiation for adult learning. Join us in exchanging ideas on differentiation in regard to pacing, mastery speeds, entry levels, content areas and grade levels in part 2 of our 3 part PD series.

Links mentioned in the show: 

Follow Brooke on Twitter

Follow Tracee on Twitter


Podcast Team

Hosts- Katie  Ritter & Justin Thomas

Editing Team- Megan Whitacre, Mallory Kessen, Michael Roush

Social Media/ Promo Team- Annamarie Rinehart, Lisa Kuhn, Molly Lutts

Creative/Content Team- Brooke Conklin, Emily Cowan, Tracee Keough

Research & Logistics Team- Mark Gumm, Tyler Erwin

Producers- Tyler Erwin & Katie Ritter

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Katie Ritter:

hit the restart button to recharge those batteries Aloha I am Katie Ritter.

Justin Thomas:

And I'm Justin Thomas. And this is the restart recharge podcast, a podcast by coaches for coaches. We're bringing you tips and tricks to help you in your everyday work as an instructional technology coach, or whatever they call you in your school district.

Katie Ritter:

So hopefully you're gonna leave us this episode feeling just a little bit less on your own coaching Island.

Justin Thomas:

And we are in the midst of a three part series. This is episode two in that series, planning a good authentic PD can be difficult. So we're gonna add on the layers of differentiation, personal choice assessment and alignment with the district initiatives to make this coaching skill even tougher to master. We're going to actually help you with that. This episode will explore the complicated art of differentiation for adult learning. Join us in exchanging ideas on differentiation in regard to pacing, mastery speeds, entry levels, content areas and grade levels.

Katie Ritter:

Yeah, and so I have the pleasure of introducing our first guest with us today talking Tracy Keough. You know her from a couple of episodes that she's been on, most recently, Episode Eight, you may or may not have made it through that one because I goofed up the audio. So I would like to apologize to everyone. But Tracy is back with us better than ever before. Just to remind you about Tracy. She was a classroom teacher for 11 years before taking on the role of a technology integration coach for the last year and a half. She has taught second grade, fifth through eighth grade. And the highlight of her career so far was teaching in the Innovation Academy where students were in a personalized one to one learning environment where students could excel with online curriculum and hands on learning. Currently, Tracy has a coach. It has coached in two different districts where both have multiple school buildings and are spread out amongst the area. As a coach Tracy has worked with blended learning hybrid schedules, virtual schedules and face to face schedules along with a fully virtual academy for one of the districts that she serves. So welcome back, Tracy with your wealth of PD knowledge today.

Justin Thomas:

Thank you. And back by popular demand is Brooke Conklin. You heard her on the last episode for RPD series, but in case you missed that one, bro Conklin is the technology coach here at Ford Edge serving the pre K to 12th grades in a Southwest Ohio region. Before entering the world of edtech. Brooke taught seventh grade social studies. She is originally from Northwest Arkansas, and has since settled in Liberty Township, Ohio, with her husband, Alan and three kids. Brooks work as a teacher and technology coach is fueled by her love of empowering others to pursue their potential and dreams at full force. So welcome back, Brooke. Thanks, Justin. Excited to be on the pot again. Yeah.

Katie Ritter:

And you know, it's my goal so that by the end of this series, everyone else is going to be calling you Brookie, too.

Justin Thomas:

Awesome. All right. So we will dive right into differentiation. And obviously, this is something that we know as teachers, we use it a lot with our students. But what does differentiation look like for adult learners? And what considerations do you make as you plan for professional development?

Brooke Conklin:

So um, I am very excited for this podcast episode. To get started, just because I think differentiation is one of those buzzwords that as educators and as a teacher, myself, I tried to check the box on. But I think it's a skill that even as educators it takes, take some really intentional practice to master. And it is so important, and it deserves a lot more talk beyond just the buzzword that we all make sure we lather our resumes with.

Unknown:

So when we talk about

Brooke Conklin:

differentiation, for adult learners, differentiation is just making content different. And that's really just really simplistically how you can define what that buzz word means. So when we talk about adult learners and educators, we need to consider how educators are different in every single way when we think about differentiation. So they all have different entry levels. That's kind of the go to thing to differentiate is entry levels. So when they start the PD session, what are educators entering with their skill level? So entry levels, whether that's beginning with the skill, getting fluent and then just really advanced in it, but also educators are different what they teach. So social studies educators are very different from unified arts educators and math educators are different from administrators and admin assistants. So their application needs are different. Also, their preferred mode of learning is different. Some educators really enjoy videos that they can do on their own time and pause and rewind and learn in a non pressured environment where everybody's seemingly moving ahead of them. Other educators like the live face to face interaction, the ability to learn hands on and ask questions. So for adult learning, to answer your question, Justin, I would say just consider how your educators are different in every single way, not just skill level.

Tracee Keough:

Anything to add on to that that's something as a coach that we're focusing on as our team is, we're going to do some focus on andragogy, which is the process of like how adults learn because I think, to differentiate for adult learners, you have to understand how they all learn beyond just your knowledge of how you learn. And it's very different from pedagogy with when you're working with students. So really understanding the complexity to that piece will also add to your level of differentiation with your other educators.

Katie Ritter:

Yeah, great points. All right, we're starting this episode on fire, ladies. So when we think about the sort of the traditional PD that has, you know, we have all been shuttled into the library on the PD day. And, you know, we've all led PD where admin have shuttled all the teachers into sit in our sessions. And more and more, we're seeing that change a little bit, which is really exciting and a long time coming. But so so often, we like put all teachers in a room together to go to the same sessions, which just like our teachers makes it really hard to differentiate for the learners that that we have in the room. So what are you guys doing, to make sure that everyone is walking away with with the right knowledge and with something for them that they can take away and then actually like the golden nugget, actually go back and apply it to their classrooms.

Brooke Conklin:

So I will start by saying that my nightmare scenario was actually a reflection of this whole, like cattle shuttling into a PD room, I was asked by administration, as was Katie before, to prepare a one hour PD, for all of the Unified arts teachers, including the gym teacher, the business teacher, for the high school, the the art teacher, the graphic design teacher, the music teachers, all going to be in one room, give them technology PD. And I think a lot of times as tech coaches were put in that situation, where providing differentiated PD that meets not only the skill needs of each teacher in the room, but also the application needs of every teacher in the room seems like almost impossible. So in this situation, you really have to find ways to duplicate yourself as the instructor, so this can be through screencasts. It can be through providing different different tasks or challenges based on who the educator, their department, their skill level is. So to give you an example of that particular situation, and what I did, that I think could translate to any PD that you did, we designed a unified arts playground. It was a Google site that had a thing link embedded on the site. And if you aren't familiar with Thinglink Thinglink is kind of think of like a interactive Virtual Poster board. So it was an image of a playground, with hotspots on each area of the playground that when clicked on gave a preview of a technology tool, that then educators could decide if they wanted to explore more, or if they wanted to move to a different area of the playground. When they clicked on that tech tool, that part of the playground will use Flipgrid as an example. The teachers then everybody in the room, if they clicked on that they were taken to a separate page of the Google site that had a video that showed how to use Flipgrid. What Flipgrid was, it had text right beside the video that had the outline of what they would learn from the video. So it's multimodal. And then beyond that, I think what made it really powerful for differentiation based on content area and application need was that it had examples for each area of the Unified arts of how Flipgrid could be used for them. So whether you are an art teacher, or you were the high school business teacher, or you were the gym teacher, you learned about Flipgrid as a tool, but then you had actual examples for how that could be implemented in your content area. So even though I'm sure whenever they first saw that PD Plan, saying that they were all going to this our longtime PD, they're all rolling their eyes about yet another PD that doesn't apply to them. They all walked away with actual things that they could implement in their classroom. Well,

Katie Ritter:

and that's a classic scenario to Brooke that, I mean, you know, and no shade to any administrator on this, but it's very much like I had to focus on my core content teachers, we've got the outline for them and what they need to do, oh, yeah, I have all these other teachers that don't fall under that bucket, what do I do shove them in this space, while everyone else is doing this other things. So I think a lot of tech coaches can relate to that. And you know, those poor teachers that, you know, have to sit through those things that don't apply to them. And so I think they were all very pleasantly surprised with what they walked away with that day, for sure.

Tracee Keough:

I think on my side, it's more planning activities that are engaging and allow movement and conversation more for them to kind of realize how cross curricular things can. So the PE teacher can be working with the history teacher on, you know, American Revolution in the battles in the running and kind of incorporating all those things and having open conversations and allowing them to get up and move around. Because most teachers are not used to sitting still for long periods of time. So taking that into account when planning and differentiating, allowing for groups to move around and get into different spaces helps.

Katie Ritter:

I love that. And there's a lot of research, I'm not going to be able to like cite the stats, but there's a lot of research around like the importance of movement, and getting the oxygen flowing like blood and oxygen flowing back to your brain and how much more it like lights up even from moving like two minutes every hour, like how much that can do for you to like refocus, you get you reengaged and like how much more you remember, just from those little breaks of movement.

Tracee Keough:

And I think that's important because when you're on technology, or having teachers on technology, it's a different type of learning in your brain versus like listening, reading, looking at a screen is a lot harder, and you can only sustain it for so long, where you actually are having purpose. So making sure those breaks are embedded every 2030 minutes to give that chance to kind of get up, get things moving and talk about what you've been working on. To then come back to the technology will help kind of make things sink in more.

Katie Ritter:

Yeah. And back to Brooks point about like the, you know, their preferred style of learning, right? Like some people are going to be able to just like sit and dive in for an entire eight hour day and not know what hit them and other people are gonna lose their minds. If they're just sitting there on a task. You know, teachers don't have you know, adults don't have to do that very often anymore. So I think keeping that in mind too, I think is awesome. Yeah,

Justin Thomas:

I think that's really important. And talking a little bit about the technology side of it for differentiation, are going to ask you in just a moment to how you leverage your technology for supporting differentiation your PD sessions. But first let's listen into our sponsor break. Looking for a program that reaches all teachers and learning new tools to integrate in their lessons. And you badges is the answer as you as in anytime anywhere, badging program that is designed to take bite sized tools for instruction and teach teachers how to use them. Edgy has received the STC of alignment for Educator Standards, and each badge in our expanding library is aligned to the ISTE standards and the Samer model. Learn more about the program that teachers call addicting and for hyphen edge dotnet backslash and you badgers Welcome back to the restore recharge podcast we have Brooke Conklin Tracy Keough. And before our break, we asked you, how do you leverage technology to support differentiation in your professional development session? So you talked a little bit about using some of that technology? But how do you leverage it a little bit more to support the differentiation?

Brooke Conklin:

I'm gonna point this question to Tracy, because Tracy is on our team, really great at designing choice boards that allow for multiple entry points. So that's something I saw from her but I it's my go to tool for differentiation. So I'll let her talk about that.

Tracee Keough:

Yeah, choice boards are big for me, because I'm not one that I always take it back to learning math. Were in elementary school, you were forced to learn it one way and had to show it one way, I failed math multiple times, because I don't learn that way. So I don't expect other people to learn that way. So I want to give options and choice to kind of have them pop in where they feel comfortable. So I tend to build choice boards that are leveled. And I would work and I have talked about this and really watching the language that you use on your choice boards instead of beginner, intermediate advanced, because you might come in as a teacher thinking you're advanced and realize this beginner skill is really where you should be. So making it more into a game board or in a choice board where there's different levels and allowing teachers to kind of pop around and feel like they have that choice and they are accomplishing things that means something to them. So that one's a big one. Just giving them I don't care how you learn it or how you show it just be able to to get that information in there the best way that works for you if it means Korea Getting a podcast or creating, writing it down in a journal, go for it. Other things that I know we have talked about are utilizing, like Brooke said, taking those choice boards and putting them into Google Sites or Google, you know, classrooms or your LMS, to where they always have that resource to come back to. So it's not just a one time seeing it thing, they always have the ability to come back and utilize that tool later, after when they have time to digest the information and go back and see those things that maybe they need another refresher on or harvest the idea and use it in their classroom. But at least they have a template. For me, as a coach and an educator, it's always nice to have something to look at first, and then kind of build my own off of, so that one's a big one. And then the last one that's really started playing into a lot of teachers, as a coach is allowing sketchnoting. So whether it's on paper, or digitally, having them draw out their thoughts, because we always forget there are those side of people that they learned best by drawing and doodling. They those there are those kids in your classroom that act like they're not paying attention, but the more they're doodling, the better they're retaining. So giving that outlet to teachers as an another way to kind of bring in the learning. I love Oh, go ahead, bro.

Brooke Conklin:

I was just gonna say I will echo everything that Tracy said about choice boards. And one thing that she said that I want to make sure that gets reset, I guess or that that sticks with you. The way that Tracy designs, choice boards, she creates entry points for everybody and their level. So when a teacher comes into the session, they look at the the choice board it a lot of look like kind of a game board where it has like a path towards mastery. The teacher is not coming in. And ambiguously thinking like I'm not a techie teacher, because I don't know any of the skills, we're going to learn the choice board and having it leveled where they can start at square one, or they can skip to square four. It builds confidence in that it gives teachers a point on the board that says like you're not already behind when you get here. Like there is a place for you to start and a place and a way for you to move forward in your learning and your mastery. So just one thing that Tracy does, and I want to make sure that that gets repeated.

Katie Ritter:

Yeah, and I'm going to build on that. Because I, I also think it's a great way and Tracy do a really nice job too. A lot of times she will use different colors, that that the teachers don't know like what level that is necessarily, but those colors if you think back, and if you didn't listen to the first series in our PD series that was released two weeks ago, please go back and listen, because this will make more sense. But Brooke talked about that digital roadmap and really outlining the skills and what does mastery of this skill look like and working your way back. And putting all those tangible skills and things that teachers need to learn in those different places. So if you're just starting out if you're middle of the road, and once you've mastered it, what does that look like? And tying in those choice boards, that's an easy way to pull that roadmap in so that you are aligning the skills within your differentiated session to the ultimate plan that that you are doing there. And oftentimes those colors that you use kind of aligned to different places on the roadmap and not that you always necessarily have to color it but definitely pulling pulling in those other resources. Don't forget about those. So those will break down the skills to help you from an entry level standpoint, like where are the teachers. And Brooke, I'm just going to tease it only because I want to make sure that you talk about this when we talk about, like progress monitoring. But you did a really cool thing with a Google Classroom PD in knowing, like, where to assess and like a back end way of knowing like which level essentially the teachers were at. So I don't know, if you I want to make sure you I don't want to steal your thunder. So we'll we'll get there. But I just want to put that little placeholder so we don't forget, just to kind of tie it in with the choice boards. Yeah,

Brooke Conklin:

um, before we move on, to kind of elaborate on how we leverage technology to support differentiation, because it is so intimidating. It's intimidating for teachers, it's intimidating for us to have a room full of people that are all at different skill levels, and we have to reach all of them. So things that I have done in that have become even more apparent in this last year, is just duplicating yourself through screencasts. So you can embed a mixture of whole group instruction, and then individualized instruction through screencasts in the same pod, so whether that's you have a small breakout group that you're working with live while your other participants are learning a more advanced element of whatever you're talking about through a screencast or whether you have a whole group to introduce or to hook or to just warm people up to the content and then you release everybody on Screencast before you Bring them back together to collaborate and share screencasting can be huge and duplicating yourself. Also, shout out to Pear Deck is a great way to make sure you're on top of how fast everyone is learning. Speed of mastery is another thing to be aware of and differentiation. Because while two people may even enter your session at the same level, how quickly they pick things up throughout that one hour, two hour session could be vastly different. So Pear Deck allows you to do formative assessments throughout your your session. So you can have teachers self assess where they are at, report their comfort level to you respond to questions, so you can quickly see which groups are getting it and which groups are not. And then that allows you to regroup, restructure. And then a second teaser, teaser, Google Form surveys can be a very quick way to pre assess and I'm gonna make up a word and say mid assess, middle and between pre assessment to make sure that you know where your teachers are at. Well match marry, yeah, medicine.

Justin Thomas:

Recharge podcast,

Unknown:

but that on your resume.

Katie Ritter:

I mid assess, no, but Brooke, I like that too. And what you're saying about like thinking about those learners that are going to very quickly grasp, like, whatever content you are showing them like in the group setting, I think is a great thing I would always like thinking about that too, like who do I know is going to come into this and already know these skills and be advanced, but they're being forced to sit in this session. So I always would utilize an LMS course. So that I could always be sure, like whether it was a screencast I wasn't necessarily doing as many screencasts then for that, but like finding other resources, articles, blogs, Tracy to your point. Other examples, like other similar sites, like maybe, you know, I was asked to lead a session on Kahoot and teach, you know, there's a small group that they've already used Kahoot for two years, and they're sick of it, and they want something new. So I would point them like to quizzes or whatever else was out there to like, give them something else to explore. So that they could continue to learn. And then I would kind of put them in a small group off to the side, like here's the resources explore on your own a little bit too. So not a fantastic example. But

Brooke Conklin:

at least on our team kind of does something similar, she provides the whole group with the whole PD Plan at the start of the session. That way those the speedy teachers can work ahead. If they're quickly getting it, they're not stuck at the pace of the room.

Tracee Keough:

Yeah. And I think on that whole note utilizing your technology for extension activities, which is kind of what we're talking about. So if they're getting it faster, have that bubble of like, go do this now, instead of like continuing with us on a slower path, just giving them some branch out spaces. Yeah.

Katie Ritter:

Love that. So thinking about kind of the opposite end of the spectrum. So we're just kind of talking about those people that get it really quickly and they move on. And they're really advanced. But we know as tech coaches for whatever reason, there is a level of anxiety around technology that makes you know, we've I'm sure every single one of us has had multiple teachers say to us, I am literally the worst person with technology. I don't know how to use technology, I'm so bad at it, which is a whole nother maybe podcast episode that we could do about how to help support them. But when we think about those to those teachers who either have a lot of anxiety around using technology or just truly are really low skill in that one particular area, how do you use differentiation to support and model a respect for learning with those teachers? I

Tracee Keough:

think for me, the biggest part of this is whenever those comments start coming up, I always add on, you're not there yet, consistently. I always add that in so that they know like it will come it might be slower than others or your team might be going without you. But you're just not there yet. You'll get there. It's not as easy. It's like learning to ride a bike. Sometimes it takes training wheels, and it takes support. And I think that's a big part of like building and as a tech Coach, how can I support you? What can I come in and help you co teach with or CO plan so that they have that level of confidence when they get off on their own? And letting them know once they do accomplish that? Like look, you did it. Let's go back and reflect on what worked what didn't work and really building their confidence. It's a time as a coach to kind of step back and it's not about you in this moment or what you can offer them it's about building up their confidence and level of understanding.

Katie Ritter:

Oh, I love that so much and Michael Roush on our team he makes a little yet stickers, that dot dot and talks about the power of yet. You know, that's where the excitement is and like what can you do and learn and yeah, so I love that.

Brooke Conklin:

Yeah, I um, one of my favorite quotes comes from a student it was last year, right before we left and it was a first grader I was doing like this design thinking boat project. So they were having to create a model of a boat and get it to float out of like paper and popsicle sticks. I don't know. And this little kid, he, his little boat design was not great.

Unknown:

He looked at that little piece of trash. He said, You know,

Brooke Conklin:

I don't think it's going to work. But I can always fix it. Oh, it was just so sweet. So that's what I tried to get out of teachers. And my goal in differentiating PD is that whenever teachers see my name next to PD session, they know that they don't have to be super techy that there's going to be space for them in that room. One of the things that I did a lot in my first year in second year, that I try not to and Tracy talked about it a little bit is, I try to be very careful about how I name even groupings. In my session, I have made so many PD sessions called Google Slides for beginners or Google Slides. For advanced or within my session, I have a choice board that's like beginner, moderate, advanced. And when a teacher walks into that space, and they read what the skills are in the advanced or the beginner or the middle, they it, it automatically puts a label on their skill level that might have a negative connotation. So if you're a teacher that's been teaching for 20 years, you never want to be in the beginner column of anything. So be careful about how you name sessions, like Tracy said, are your groupings, you can call it 101102103 numbers are pretty neutral, you can call it toe in the water, waist high all in, you can if you're doing an early childhood session, you can do animal names for your groupings, and still put this the skills underneath so they know where they're at, or what group that they should belong to. But I hear it anytime that I've done a beginner or labeled something beginner in a session, I have more times than not had a teacher say I don't need the beginning group. I need the IEP group and it breaks my heart. And it puts a negative connotation on those students. So I tried to be very careful about labels and names and words have connotations and sessions. Whenever I'm differentiating so that everyone feels like their skill level is respectable. It's valued. They're not behind. They're just learning in a different spot.

Katie Ritter:

Yeah. On a on a whole nother soapbox.

Tracee Keough:

That's going off of that, yeah, we had a kind of a short conversation about something similar to that yesterday. But reminding teachers that learning is liquid, like it's not just it one size fits all. And that reminding them kind of where they're at now is not where they're going to eventually end up being. So reminding them that their learning is liquid and will continue to kind of flow through this, the cracks and crevices that they need

Katie Ritter:

to feel like you're always busting out the like one two punch phrase that was harvesting, learning.

Tracee Keough:

Learning is liquid from AJ Giuliani in his latest post. But I liked the way that it was phrased that it just kind of, we put the pressures on for learning and standards and expectations instead of where are they at? And how is it going to flow through to where they need to be.

Justin Thomas:

So nice. Awesome. Katie, you talked a little bit about this earlier. We're getting to it now, sir. Come back. Now. How does data collection and progress monitoring factor into your professional development with your pre assessments, your post assessments, the newly founded mid assessments?

Unknown:

Yeah. I would first like to say the only time data collection has been used with the phrase teaser, and gets people hype is education.

Brooke Conklin:

Anyway, data collection is a super scary thing. And even like mentoring other coaches, I think we we tend to scoot out of the room pretty quickly when the data collection talk starts. Because it's it's hard to assess people's comfort and confidence and implementation. The those aren't as easy as a a map score test, or test score whatever

Katie Ritter:

went into, sorry to cut you off. But but to build on that. I mean, it's we're also assessing change, right? I mean, so much of what we do is as coaches isn't even just in that one skill level of like whatever the PD session is, but like it's is the culture changing, like are we changing instruction as a whole like that, to your point is very, very hard thing to assess for adults who don't have to take a state test every year.

Brooke Conklin:

Right? Absolutely. And if you listened to our podcast two weeks ago, we talked about like the goal so that you can align your work with as a tech coach. So those big goals and community engagement, social emotional learning, it is so hard to assess if you're making change in those. So I think that to, to really keep momentum and to make sure that your work is given the time and the space by the decision makers in your district, it is very important to make sure that you are collecting data in some way. So, the the teaser, man, I hope this isn't a letdown, we really have to die now. Okay, speaking of choice boards, and differentiation and a PD. For Google Classroom, that was a big shift and the district I'm working with two years ago, we made the transition to a school wide LMS Google Classroom. And I think that sometimes administrators will say do two sessions on Google Classroom, and then we expect teachers to just have it. So we've checked the box, we provided the PD, we're moving on. So cert any tool, is there any strategy, yet provide one PD on personalized learning. And we're ready. So I really wanted to show the scope of Google Classroom Use not only for admins, so they see that it's it's very, a tool that can be used very complex ly, and integrated very deeply in instruction, but also for teachers to show that there are multiple growth points. So whether you are starting day one setting up your Google Classroom, or you're looking at how to differentiate for your own students within Google Classroom, do students self paced learning and Google Classroom, I wanted there to be multiple starting points. And I wanted it to be something that teachers could access anytime, anywhere, because I knew that this wasn't a one and done day of instruction. So I used a template provided by our very own Tracy, and I made a Google Classroom game board that had three levels in each square had a different skill. So setting up your Google Classroom, inviting students and parents or guardians to your Google Classroom, all the way down to personalized learning with Google Classroom. So each square on the game board was hyperlinked, and teachers could come in, and they could pick which area they were in, they were color coded each area and labeled with toe in the water, waist high all in. So they picked their starting square wherever they felt like they were beginning with Google Classroom that took them to a separate page on a Google site that similar to the Flipgrid example from earlier, had a video showing them how to do that, that very granular Google Classroom skill, some text, bullet pointed highlights of how to do it, and then a little challenge that prompted them to actually do it. So if they were watching the video on how to invite parents or guardians, then they needed to actually do that right then and there. Right below that, really the, the data collection piece that really made movement in for admin, was a Google form that just simply said, their name, and which skill they had just completed, and they checked the box, they put a checkmark that they had set up their Google Classroom, and then they sent it in. And so it was like zero effort for the educator to complete this mid assessment. And then on my end, what I did is I opened up a Google sheet of those results. And I was actually able to sort and I was able to present each ad administrative team with data that showed what percentage of their teachers were in the toe in the water category, which percentage of teachers were in that waist high. And I was actually able to even sort it by department, because I put everybody's department by their name. So I can say the Social Studies Department is all in. I think that they're, they're okay for first quarter. But we might need to pay some special attention to the math department. And that open admins eyes to show that Google Classroom was not just one and done, learn how to do it. But how teachers were able to transform learning could be very complex with this tool, and it gave them very good insight and into how far along we were in achieving that goal, and maybe help me advocate for more time with teachers to

Katie Ritter:

which is like so phenomenally important, Brooke that you not only use that data for yourself, but you had that conversation with the admin. I cannot tell you how many admin, you know, and again, you know, we're kind of chuckling about it, because we've all been there but you know, the admin are presented with so many other things that they have to do PD on, and we only have so much time in the year and things like that. So there's all these time constraints you're trying to figure out where His time is, in so often I can't tell you how many admin, I've had conversations with building level, district level. And they think like, Oh, we've had, you know, Schoology, or Google for two, three years now, like, our teachers are fine, they know what they're doing and come to find out, like, you know, we, we're not trying to throw teachers under the bus, but it's like, we're in the classrooms more and like, what they're doing is not, it's substitution type stuff that like, great, they know how to upload a worksheet to Schoology and organize it in a folder. But we're not really like you like differentiating, or we're not really creating these, like student mastery, like pathways and, and the the real deep things that these tools are embedded to be able to enable teachers to do in their instruction. So I just think having that very tangible way that was not like sit down and take this test teachers, but it was just very naturally embedded in what you did. I think it's really important that you provide this aggregate data, so no teacher was like, you know, no admin can go to a teacher and say, like, we've been using this for three years, why are you just now at the toe in the water stage, right, because we want to keep that trust. But you were able to present it in a way that just like you said, made them realize that this is not a one and done situation. And this is something that needs to be sustained support. So I cannot highlight enough like how critical that was. And like how we for any big initiative or any like sustained tool, whatever it is a skill set like that we need to try as coaches to Figure Figure out how to do that.

Tracee Keough:

I'll just piggyback off of that when it comes to data, incorporating data pieces, where teachers are self reflecting as well, where they were at the beginning of the year to the middle of the year to the end of the year, and really give rather gathering that data so that they can see their own growth. Because when you're living and breathing in the moment, you don't even realize that you're growing. Most people feel like they are jumping off the deep end and being eaten alive by sharks. So being able to show them that data at the end of the year and show them how much they grew from their own perspective, that is their values and opinions not from you, as a coach from admin, it really helps them see see their success in a different light. And I think that data is very important as well, for teachers when you're differentiating out learning for them.

Katie Ritter:

Yeah. Can we build on how, like how you did that? Tracy? Because you mentioned like, it's their opinions. They're like, how are you going about like having those conversations or collect like just expand on that a little bit. So

Tracee Keough:

just like Brooke putting together a Google form that was very quick and easy to fill out for them, whether it was at the end of a session, a PD session, or in the example that I'm thinking of the regular workshops that I was working with these teachers, and we were having them fill out this Google Form to kind of place themselves on the scale of how do they feel in the Samer model. Now how do they feel with this tool at this point, so that they could really see their growth. And because they're so spaced out between the beginning of the year in the middle of the year and the end of the year, most of the time, you've kind of forgotten where you put yourself at the other end of the spectrum, whether it's the middle of the year, and you have August is a blur for most educators. So you're filling this out and like yeah, I'm great at all of these. And then by the second one, you really don't have time to reflect and kind of think oh, so I'm not as good at this skill as I thought I was I need to go back and kind of revisit this piece. But it brings in that differentiation when you as the coach are looking at the data to kind of say, Okay, I need to step in and support a little bit more for this teacher or this one thought they didn't have a clue. But really, they are understanding it more than they expect at this point. So having that Google form that's easily accessible and a valid value to them, because it's their own personal opinion. And again, not from a coach not from an evaluation standpoint, helps them see that that information is important at the end of the year. And then combining all of those pieces together to put together a pretty little chart, or graph or something to show them, you know, you have grown and it is important that you reflect because that's one thing I think as educators for our own data we don't ever do. It's very bottom of the list to do our own data.

Brooke Conklin:

Speaking of doing our own data, the other thing that I want to make sure that we don't miss out on is for differentiation. We can think we're doing the best job in the world and that we're reaching everybody, but we don't really know until we ask. So along with like gauging teachers mastery and having them reflect on their own learning. It's also important to at the end of PDs ask very bluntly and honestly in a quick google form, what did you think of the structure? Was this enough time? Did you like the format and give us space for that feedback? Because that can help you differentiate for future PD sessions too. Yeah,

Katie Ritter:

excellent point and I don't remember the episode number but Tyler talked a lot about that on our May May the Fourth be with you looking at the end of the year episode about like, having to ask honestly and just like have conversations with teachers survey collection and really being able to collect that own data. So that's super important point. So Thanks for Thanks for circling us around to that to Brooke. And Tracy, I want to come back to you talking about, like reflecting on the growth, because that's going to kind of lead into this next piece. And looking at bright spots with teachers and in our team likes talk a lot about bright spots, and actually very timely, I was listening to a lecture for one of my classes today about like change management. And they were very much talking about like creating small wins, sharing those small wins and how like, we don't do that enough in our work, particularly in education along the way. So let's just take a little second right now. And if you would both share a bright spot with us from the year that you felt, well, I guess doesn't have necessarily be from this year, but share a bright spot from your own experience that you felt your PD session that you led or you participated in, that really made a difference for all learners in the room.

Tracee Keough:

So I had a couple of come up when I was thinking about this question. One of them was a PD session that I ran in. April of last year, when the world was shutting down. And people were in a panic mode. I had one teacher join the PD session that was kind of like everybody was grabbing it, whatever they could get to help get them through, she got on realized how much she wasn't understanding things, started crying on the live call with all of her colleagues, and ended up leaving the call that is a teacher where for differentiation purposes and just understanding I reached out privately to her to make sure he was okay, and be where she really was at and what she felt like she had accomplished or not accomplished and got some of that feedback from her. And for differentiation on that one. It ended up being we met regularly every Monday this school year, fail not she sent me a list on Monday morning of here's the things I need help with. And the majority of those things, I could turn around in our meeting and say you already know these three things. Let's refresh it, walk through it, you tell me how you get to this point. And the majority of the time she was able to do that, and left every Monday like this is how I want to start my week off to feel confident and understand that I am doing what I know I can do. And I'm not the bottom of the barrel that level one kind of entry point that she had grown so much over the year just by having that she didn't need live group sessions, she needed that one on 130 minutes just to feel like she was being heard. The second one was a session a PD session this school year, where we focus on using jam board for the middle school teachers and for the virtual learning academies specifically for them. And I just introduced jam board as a tool like here's how it works across all content areas and special areas and how we can implement it and had lots of conversations and breakout rooms. And I had one teacher who I met with pretty regularly, at the end of the year say that was one of the best PD sessions she's ever been in because she felt like she had time to really dive into the tool, understand it and then create other ways that she can utilize it with her own students. So having that be feedback for me where it was like the time, we have to remember is really important for our teachers. It's not about what I can spill out to them. But giving them that time to actually practice and play and how is it going to work in my classroom is really important to them, because they don't have enough of that.

Brooke Conklin:

I want to go to your PD session, stay safe. I just don't want to sit in the back and

Katie Ritter:

check your email.

Brooke Conklin:

Now. I would say my bright spot is probably the example I gave earlier just because it was so much of a challenge for me. That unified arts playground where I had the gym teacher and the art teacher and the choir teacher and the band teacher and the business teacher. Whoever else doesn't teach the content area come.

Katie Ritter:

I have foreign language teachers too. They're

Brooke Conklin:

all in one room and the attitude when they came in the room you could feel it was like, not resentment towards me. But resentment that their time was about to be wasted again. It was like I'm here to comply. I'll sit and listen for an hour but I have things to do. And whenever we started that unified arts playground, it was so casual. It was like here's a playground. Here's a bunch of tech tools. I showed them how it worked. I showed them where they could find the specific examples for this their content area. And they started digging around and then before you knew it, they were moving their desks together to like play on tools together. Oh, yeah. And it was such a joyful, lighthearted PD session, and I had several of them come up afterwards and say that was the first relevant PDF I've had ever, because so often they're, they're thrown in with whatever content area has room. And so just to be able to, number one, spark that much joy in a PD session and turn the mood around so quickly, that was a bright spot. And then number two, just to provide something of value to people that have felt like they were never valued because of their content area before on PD days. That was a huge thing for differentiation for me. Love it.

Justin Thomas:

Yeah, both of those are really well, for really awesome, awesome PDS that you guys have run. What are your top two tips to create differentiated learning, professional development for?

Tracee Keough:

The biggest one for me is make it something that I would want to sit in. If I am bored, then I know who I'm talking to. They're just as bored if not more. So I always kind of look at my PDS once I put them together and think Is this something I would want to sit through? Where can I add engagement and other pieces to to make it more lively and fun? I've heard that said through multiple, higher, much better PD presenters than myself that it's like selling tickets to a show, would you buy the ticket to the PD? If not try again. And then I always steal this from Katie, over this last couple years, I'll always remind the group you're not the smartest person in the room, and that their feedback is valued. And what they have to say is important during that PD session, because I am not the end all be all of All Things technology. And I know that so

Brooke Conklin:

very important. I only have one tip. And but I promise that all I'll pack it full. I'll give you two tips more than one. Okay, it's like a sale on the podcast. So my tip is to never build a PD for the average learner. And I'm going to give a shout out to our team member Michael Roush. Because this is comes from a story that he has told multiple times. And I don't know if he's shared on the podcast, I'm sure he will eventually but so I'm not gonna steal his thunder. But average, we have this like misconception, the average means you're gonna reach the most people, the average doesn't mean most average means the central skill level in the room. So if you're only teaching to the central or central skill level in the room, you're not meeting needs on either side, you're not meeting the needs of teachers that are below that skill level or above that skill level. So in every PD session, don't try to teach what the average need is think about where every learner in the room is at and really stretch yourself to provide instruction that is relevant for every skill level, every content area, and every application need. So that is my my one tip.

Katie Ritter:

Well, those were three phenomenal tips. And I'm going to the I love that the if that intrigued your mind with the whole average thing read the end of average, I think it's by Todd Rose. I don't I can't remember it's called the end of average, it will totally blow your mind. And it's not written for education necessarily. But there's obviously so many applications. So education, since everything we do is like find the average, what's the average here, there, whatever. And I after reading that I hate the word average, because even average, you might not actually even have anyone who's even at that skill level or has that score. It's what whatever. So anyway, not to go down a soapbox, but this whole recommendation

Justin Thomas:

or recommendation there and we have one final episode that's coming in our professional development series here. It's coming out two weeks, July 27. It is PD that sticks. So obviously a lasting PD that, you know, you'll be able to remember and hopefully it was you know, a really good professional development. Obviously, you too I think you've given some lasting impressions on teachers that you've worked with. So that's coming out two weeks July 27. Awesome, so

Katie Ritter:

we can't wait to wrap up this final series with you. And in the meantime, be sure to subscribe to restart recharge wherever you listen to podcasts at restart, recharge podcast.com And if you would, we would be so appreciative if you would please rate and subscribe to the podcast. This will help other coaches and educators find the restart recharge podcast for coaches. You can also follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at our our coach cast

Justin Thomas:

and we got a third episode coming in this PD series I think we got a couple other great series planned but we do want to hear from you. We want to know what are some of the topics on your mind so if there's something please You know, once you've subscribed and rate us and everything like that you can drop us a line we like to say hello to you and then you can tell us what is really on your mind and we would love to do an episode on it.

Katie Ritter:

Yeah. And now it's time to press the restart button

Justin Thomas:

recharge your coaching batteries and leave feeling equipped and inspired to code Spieler sleep with the restart recharge podcast,

Katie Ritter:

a tech coach collective give me a little like to take we can make our own intro