A few posts ago I wrote about our school's personalized PD through ChromeWarrior. Over the last few days a few things have happened that have prompted me to share some of our progress.
Last night, our school held a Book/Maker Fair night. I'll save the details for another post as it was a great experience. One thing that I wanted to talk about was a question I was asked regarding our PD. It was shared that I was the first person to finish Level 3 (out of 4). Apparently, our district is getting ready to roll out the "game" for district wide PD, and the questioner wanted some feedback. While he knows that I am the self-declared "Tech Queen" on campus, it was the others he and I were more interested in. These were the ones I wanted to talk the most about.
Two other people and I are all close in points and game play (one even finished yesterday, whereas I finished only the day before!). We all have different reasons for playing the game quickly and getting high amounts of points. We are a little competitive, but that’s not the biggest reason we play. The person who is right behind me is a (FANTASTIC) special education teacher who does not have a class of her own full time. She wasn't sure how she could play a game for points based on things to do with students in your class. Boy was she wrong. Sometimes she would "borrow" some of my students for activities. She also figured out how to make it work for her without having a class all day. During a discussion about the game, her response for playing was, "I want to be able to help the students when they come to me." What a great reason for professional development. By the way, she retires in 50 days (going to be a hard day for the rest of us for sure!)! As I said in another post, for her, "It's for the students."
A second person who is almost done with Level 3 considers herself so not “techy”. She even made herself a gold star (a fairly large one she wears on her shirt) for when she can figure something out without another teacher or student’s help. The adults who work with her are amazed at how far she has come this year in what she can do, both with technology related activities and fixing tech issues with the Chromebooks or her Smartboard. She doesn’t really need her gold star anymore, but she still proudly puts it on when she does something new and innovative.
Another person I shared about is not anywhere near the top for points or levels. She is slowly chugging along, kind of a Little Engine that Could. Her reason for playing: to learn as much as she can to make her class better. She is completing every activity in all areas, whether it is something to do with her students or herself. She WANTS to learn it, not just get the points or to get to the next level. Without the game, she might not have gone out of her way to learn a few of these things on her own.
The questioner was happy to hear that although I was able to get through the levels quickly, there were activities for me to learn from as well. These typically were things I wanted to try, but never quite found the time or the drive to investigate how to do. The game pushed me to take the risks I kept talking about with the class. I couldn’t have done the activities or leveled up as fast as I did without their willingness to try something new so I felt it only fair to reward them as well. They can’t wait to see what they are getting for the latest reward as this one took us the longest to get through.
Today I was given my Level 3 award, a school t-shirt in bright pink. (Our colors are teal/black so the hot pink stands out, but looks awesome with the teal!). The principal proudly called me up in front of the school during our morning ceremony to show off my “winnings”. My students cheered loudly as they know my win is theirs as well. Other people around campus were clapping too. While there were a few comments that some were not surprised that I was leading and won the shirt (not meant in any negative way), my thoughts went straight to the others who are right behind me going beyond what anyone thought they could do so quickly.
As I await what Level 4 will be (so far it is a secret!), I will help others around campus reach their next stage so that everyone, especially the students, will get the benefit of completing all the activities that makes our school so great.
20+ year teacher, mother of 2 kids and 2 dogs, wife, lover of all things M&M, interested in tech in the classroom, and changing up my teaching