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A good PD day

June 11, 2010 am30 10:01 am

I hate admitting it. PD is deadly. Dreary. Depressing. In many schools. At many times. But NYC PD is worse than most. So many administrators going through the motions. So many teachers going through (meaningless) motions. And it’s worse, of course, for the teachers. The administrators often don’t have to sit through the entire things.

And Brooklyn-Queens day? We want to grade, prepare for regents, pack up for the summer even? Anything but sit and get lectured. PD in June? Sick.

But I have to confess – yesterday in my school? Worthwhile.

Next year we have our first completely blind student, and personnel from District 75 ran two half hour sessions. The second, about the technology the student will use, was absolutely fascinating. Could have been a chunk of a Nova episode. And then they stayed around the school and offered to help teachers navigate the place (blindfolded, with cane). I was too busy. Scared actually. But I saw a bunch of my colleagues trying to find the center of the hall, avoid obstacles, get to a room, find a door handle… And in the earlier sit down parts, no one was bored. It was fascinating. And useful (especially for those who will be teaching the student next year, but all of us will potentially be his teachers in the future).

Then we had department meetings. My department set its own agenda. We had some inventory issues – we broke up the work. One important piece went back to the main office. We did a quick check about collection and recollection (books and calculators) for the end of classes and the Regents. Less than 10 minutes, necessary, and done. And then we had a long discussion about recutting a course:  our Precalculus will be reconfigured next year, but we needed to decide how. I’ll discuss some of the details in a future post (perhaps), but the big idea was ending up with about 8 major units, and lining them up with our students’ needs. There are fine points to be figured, but we did a fairly good job. And some issues started out looking like they’d be contentious, but we let the discussion run, and in the end we were all pretty much on one page.

Finally, we had orientation for our incoming 9th graders. I was only peripherally involved… but little kids are cute. And they were excited, and nervous, and it was fun to watch. Highlight for me: seeing a little crowd from the middle school where I’d helped out with math team a few times. Second highlight: recognize a boy they’d competed against in math competitions (he was the only one from his school), and having them all run over and make friends.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2010 am30 8:59 am 8:59 am

    I’ve done the bit with being blindfolded and trying to navigate, it was scary. Did you get to see the “audio” graphing calculator? Incredible – both in what it is able to do and and how one has to be able to interpret the sounds.

    I’d love to hear more about how you’re redoing pre-calc. It is a new prep for me next year and I’m already thinking “waay too much material in this course”.

    • June 14, 2010 am30 7:03 am 7:03 am

      More about pre-calc another time – but thanks for encouraging me.

      We saw these bendy, waxy, pipe-cleaners that are used to make physical representations of graphs. I immediately checked the cost – I can see using them a few times with the whole class. I liked the “learning mode” on the calculator, where the key just says its name when pressed.

      He’s not in my class next year. And I’m guessing not until he’s a junior or senior. But this is a small building, a small school, and all of us interact. The PD was wonderful for a few reasons — including they spoke directly to our concerns and nervousness. And they showed and demo’ed a whole lot of fascinating “this is how this works” stuff.

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