Professional Development Day
Professional development, both internal and external, is critical to the ongoing growth of our program and staff. When school is closed for these professional development days, teachers are hard at work pondering, exploring, dialoguing, and wrestling with themes and issues related to the daily practice of teaching. This past Friday, our faculty and staff had the opportunity to experience various types of professional development – with external speakers on the topics of play, Smart Boards, and Critical Friends Groups, presentations by two of ISB’s own faculty and time for ongoing curriculum development work. Here are the highlights:
Lower school faculty met as language teams – English, Spanish, and French – to continue work on literacy maps aligned with the program of inquiry. This project, which formally began last year and expected to be complete by the end of this year, will result in documents which will aide in educating our community about ISB’s literacy curriculum.
Later in the morning, the preschool faculty worked with Jillian Miller, a child and adult psychologist and cognitive behavioral therapist to explore with greater depth the importance of “superhero” and “rough and tumble” play for preschool children. In this session, Dr. Miller and the faculty discussed how to distinguish superhero play from aggressive play; how to understand where the themes of power in play come from; and how to manage this type of play in the context of the classroom.
Ceci Gonzalez, 2nd Grade Spanish teacher, who attended a weeklong conference at the University of Connecticut’s InFratute on “Differentiation” this summer, shared the information she learned about strategies to differentiate and meet the needs of all students in a classroom. Teachers took in great information about new ways to manage the range of learning styles that each group of students presents for a teacher.
Middle School faculty, along with Middle School Director Carlos Martinez, took part in a Smart Board training session. The workshop focused on ways these boards can be used to create engaging and creative lessons for students using pictures, sound, and effects. Equally important when dealing with technology, a portion of their morning was also spent learning how to manage technical issues related to Smart Boards.
The Lower School faculty enjoyed a workshop led by Carolina Bermudez, Spanish Art teacher, who attended a semester long book making class last spring at the Cooper Union Institute. Teachers became students as they took on the challenge of following intricate instructions to learn how to make handmade books. Teachers listened, watched, and folded paper in more ways than one could imagine and walked away with three models they could use with their own students. Handmade books are great vehicles for developing student excitement about the storage for their writing and empowering them as young authors. It was a thrilling experience for all.
Finally, the day concluded with a full faculty workshop lead by Eric Baylin and David Youngblutt, two Packer Collegiate Institute faculty members. Packer is a leading institution in running Critical Friends Groups (CFG), an ongoing, internal professional development system which involves the use of a series of protocols to learn about our teaching practice, our students, and our curriculum. ISB has been using the CFG model for the past three years and it was wonderful to have these experts come, both to introduce the model to new faculty and to help returning faculty hone their skills with the protocols.
And at the end of our full, invigorating yet exhausting day, ISB faculty and staff were thrilled to cheer on the ISB Dragons in their last soccer game of the season!