PLC Day offers teachers bite-size samples of upcoming professional development opportunities
During the PLC Day on September 23 at Castle View High School, teachers across Douglas County School District (DCSD) had the opportunity to sample some of the Professional Development classes that will be offered in October. In just over a two-hour time period, both new and veteran teachers chose two out of nine possible bite-size class options.
Increasing Rigor in Your Units
What does rigor look like in the classroom? Curriculum Coordinator, Ryan Gudmundson, asked this question in back-to-back sessions focused on using World Class tools to increase rigor in units. During the session, he guided teachers in identifying an area of focus, analyzing associated activities and exploring tools that can increase student engagement and high-level thinking.
For Castle View math teacher, Angela Anderson, increasing rigor meant identifying new technology tools that can enhance student engagement and demonstrate their learning even more effectively.
“Some of the resources talked about I had used before in order to have students present information and to prove their understanding in a little bit different of a way so it’s not always the same format because that gets a little redundant,” she said.
“I think it’s important to start thinking about how we can incorporate technology because technology isn’t going away,” she added. “We are training students who are going to be using technology on a regular basis, and they’re not going to be doing the same tasks we used to do in the same way. So exposing them to various uses of technology makes their ability to adapt in that world a lot easier. It also helps present information rigorously to students beyond just talking about the topics, it gives them a more hands-on approach.”
But increasing rigor is not one-size-fits-all. Each teacher generated their own definition of what rigor looks like in the classroom and workshopped with their peers on the World Class tools they can use to connect those dots. Gudmundson’s goal is to help teachers make that connection.
“I think this class provides opportunities for teachers to dive into their units, take a big picture look and see where rigor can be increased,” said Gudmundson. “This month we will have the opportunity to dive in deeper with different kinds of tools and how they can actually show a student’s level of understanding in a particular area.”
Register here for Using World Class Tools to Increase Rigor in Your Units evening class on October 5. You might also be interested in Mechanics of Games Pt. 1 on October 18.
Creating High Quality Performance Tasks
What makes a great performance task? Down the hallway, Professional Development Coordinator Anya Zavadil asked teachers this question. The goal of her session was to provide teachers a big picture idea of what a performance task is and to help them begin to develop them for their own classroom.
“Using performance tasks in your classroom increases engagement, it provides an opportunity for students to apply their learning and it also gives the teacher better knowledge on the learning and understanding of their students,” she said.
During a performance task assessment students are given a simulated problem to solve within a classroom in a given amount of time. Zavadil says a well-designed task allows her to “peek inside” her students’ brains and provide her better information on their learning.
Next month’s extended session on Creating High Quality Performance Tasks will provide teachers with more opportunity for collaboration with other teachers, so that at the end of the class they’ll have a drafted performance task.
Register here for Creating High Quality Performance Task evening class on October 19th. To continue enhancing assessments in your classroom, register for Creating Quality Rubrics on October 26th as well.
Register for these classes and more in October, here: Class Offerings