How to have a bang-up PD session- even on a whim!
Honestly, if you were to put into every professional development session what you would your best session with teachers, you’d be spending ALL of your time doing nothing but prepping for PD. As amazing as that would be, instructional coaches simply don’t have the time (or resources) to create bang up, incredible PD sessions every time BECAUSE sometimes, a PD session or event happens with very short notice or no notice at all. And then there are other times when you simply forgot about professional development you were leading (or it was unclear that you were, in fact, the one leading it). Yes, it’s a stressful situation to find yourself in. But thankfully, there is a way to be ready for professional development in a S*N*A*P!
"S" is for Structures
Have a handful of no-prep structures in mind. We all know that the BEST PD sessions are those that encourage active responses and conversations among participants. Thinking about how to make this happen to its maximum potential can take a lot of thought and planning. But having a variety of no-prep structures in mind can make this possible in any PD session. The most common (and simple) structure presenters use is a "Turn and Talk". While this is an easy go-to, there are several others that can provoke the depth of conversation and participation you so desire. Even better? These require NO PREP and can all be found on my TPT store
"N" is for Niche
Consider your niche. Think about how can you fit the PD topic on the agenda into your niche. Are you great at delivering mini lessons? Structure it as a mini lesson with a connection, teach point, active engagement, and link. Are you particularly talented in leading conversations? Make it a conversational session and provide talking points on the topic. Perhaps you love ice breakers and team-building activities. Incorporate these into your PD. Chair Tag, Count to Ten, or Edu-Charades are a few that come to mind. Is technology your jam?? Have some go-to tech tools with which you're familiar and enjoy using. After all, your participants most likely will all have devices on hand. Some easy and quick-to-use favorites are Mentimeter, Jamboard, and Padlet. Regardless of the topic for the PD session you're leading, find your niche and use it to your advantage.
"A" is for Analyzing Your Audience
Get in the mainframe of your audience and find ways to capture their attention with a matching narrative. We are all naturally drawn to stories and their metaphorical and analogical nature. When a presenter uses a story to match, in one way or another, our situations, we are more likely to engage in the presentation, be more receptive to the message, and hold on to the information for a longer period of time. But before you throw any old story out there, you first have to analyze your audience and the PD topic. My suggestion is to have a running list of personal stories (that may be yours or borrowed) on your handy-dandy phone. Sift through them and think about what story might make for a great analogy to the topic at hand.
Here's an example:
"P" is for Participants as Presenters
Make the teachers (or your audience) the presenters. I can't lie... this is something I turn to quite often, but what a great thing to turn to! Chances are that, a lot of the time, your audience can come up with so many great thoughts and ideas that you hadn't even considered in relation to your topic. Allow for opportunities for your audience to collaborate and then present their findings. In order for this to work well, you WILL need a broad agenda mapped out in your mind. This could be mapped out in the form of questions the audience will consider, talking points you want them to discuss, or action steps to take collaboratively. Using "structures", as mentioned above, can support this method of delivery as well. What's great about this method is that your audience will feel empowered as they take ownership of the material!
Next time you’re in a pinch for PD, try these suggestions so you’re ready for PD in a snap!
Welcome! I am Casey Watts- Collaborative Leader and Culture Changer!