Today I found a post on Drawing on Math by Tina Cardone (here) . Talk about timing! She was talking about getting ready for a PD presentation she did in July and asked twitter what they liked and didn’t like about PD. Yes! Yes! and YES!
I’m presenting 4 sessions next Tuesday (August 10th), 50 minutes long for our district about how to make textbook problems less sucky for students. The real title is Modifying Problems for Workshop. As I was working on this I really tried to keep things I hate about PD in mind. I have my factors indicated 1 – 5, 5 is the W.O.R.S.T!
Pet-peeve number 1 — someone reading the slide to me. Dang it! I’m an adult, I learned to read a L O N G time ago. You read to me, I’m not thinking about what you’re saying anymore – I’m thinking about #1 where I’m getting lunch, #2 who I’m going to get lunch with, #3 what I need to get done in my classroom and #4 my lessons, INB ideas, or working on a math problem I’m thinking about using. Yes, in that order. factor 5.
No, I am not going to read the slides. I have copious notes on talking points about each slides – but I’m not going to read those suckers.
Pet-peeve number 2 — get up and … . I’ll do it, but I don’t like it. I’ll speak but only as much as I absolutely have to. (Unless I know you, then we’ll talk about the topic and then about what we want). Presenters usually give too much time for this. They say a minute – but it’s usually 3 minutes. (Yep, I can tell time too!) factor 3.
Truth be known, I WAS going to have my participants get up and move to another group but I took it out. Teachers will come in a sit with their friends, people they recognize. That will be good enough.
Pet-peeve number 3 — Think-Pair-Share. If I’m sitting with people I don’t know, again, I do the minimum. If I’m sitting with friends (same course or not) and I think the question you’re asking us to talk about is good – we’ll discuss it, if not – we’ll talk about what we want. Yes, it is obvious when presenter’s just throw a semi-related question in there to have a Think-Pair-Share. factor 3.
Pet-peeve number 4— Work on the math. If I’m sitting with people I don’t know – I’m really intimidated (I know my math and I shouldn’t be, but I am). If I’m sitting with friends – I have no problem working on the math, asking questions and for help — zero intimidation. factor 2.
I have two times where teachers will be working on changing a problem to be less sucky. They have 3 choices of problems (7th/8th grade math, algebra and geometry). I don’t care if they work on their own or with their friends and neighbors. That’s their choice too.
I have one place where I want them to Think-Pair-Share but I’m going to tell them to “talk to their paper or to their neighbor.” Give participants a choice!
I am going to have them share out what they came up with (1 from each grade level) to wrap up the session.
I have a slide that has resources I think are important such as MTBoS, Global Math and others, because I want them to join in the fun! The presentation and other documents used will be in Google Drive shared by a bit.ly.
I think I’ve taken care of most of the factors in my session. I’ll see what the feedback is next Tuesday. Wish me luck!