Bringing together the 3-year Blended Learning & Coaching Plan
As the District Instructional Technologist for elementary, I propose to enact an innovative, comprehensive, alternative instructional technology professional learning plan that will continue our district’s solid tradition of providing high-quality professional learning opportunities for teachers, but also enhance it.
Building a high-quality 3-year plan for innovative professional learning requires school leaders to take much into consideration, including but not limited to:
- The need for alternative professional learning – outlined in a previous post
- The principals of effective professional learning
- The learning audience and their needs
- Collaboration, Modeling & Coaching
- Encouraging self-directed learning
- Areas of Responsibility (Leaders, Presenters & Participants)
- Necessary Resources
My hope is that this alternative learning plan will be the steps we need to take in the right direction toward building a digital learning ecosystem. With the skills they build for themselves and their colleagues, teachers will be able to masterfully integrate technology and blended learning strategies when the situation calls for it.
One pervasive message that I hope to include is that learning is not dependent upon a particular product or platform. Rather, teachers and students are able to be adaptable and create with various tools. The primary purpose for this is that teachers and students need to be taught ways to empower themselves. Therefore, this three-year plan encompasses the use of various digital tools. However, it’s not the ability to use the tools that is so critical. What is important is how 21st-century learning skills can be addressed in conjunction with authentic learning and problem-solving.
It is the ability of teachers and students to be able to powerfully use whichever tool is most appropriate to construct their learning that will build our digital learning ecosystem.
Each group of learners has various needs to be successful throughout the professional learning plan. For example, tech-reluctant teachers may need more time to practice the skills. They will also need encouragement and support. All participants will need opportunities to go back to their classroom or regular environment to practice implementing the various strategies set forth. This could potentially be challenging for administrators that do not have as many teaching opportunities throughout the weeks and months. Therefore the vision is that they will take the skills and practice with their teachers, modeling the use of innovative strategies.
In order to be successful, the plan must follow the suggestions of Allison Gulamhussein’s 5 Principles of Effective Professional Development. This 3-year plan includes all 5 Principles, detailed in the slides below.
According to 2009 the Professional Learning in the Learning Profession: A Status Report on Teacher Development, effective professional development results in advanced teaching practice as well as improved student learning outcomes. The report also suggests that we consider teachers as lifelong learners and consider professional development to be more about teacher learning.
The learning opportunities provided to teachers throughout this plan will be varied enough to meet the needs of teachers of grades 3, 4, and 5 and campus admin support staff. Also, teachers and staff will have multiple opportunities throughout the year to apply these strategies in their own classrooms.
The primary goal of the professional learning plan is to help these participants become more effective teachers, and increase student achievement. Beyond that, we are preparing leaders. The participants will commit to the three-year plan. Part of the commitment is to provide professional learning opportunities on their campus or at the district level. After, or throughout the first year, participants may share blended learning strategies. After the second year, they may provide training from skills they learned in the Microsoft Innovative Educator Trainer series or the Apple Teacher series. To achieve success in the professional learning plan, teachers must remain motivated and self-directed.
Collaboration and coaching in the area of professional learning are essential. By including campus administrative staff in the learning session with teachers, I hope to develop further collaboration possibilities. As curriculum specialists, librarians, campus techs, and principals learn with the teachers, they may also work together to share that learning with other staff members in the school. The goal is to exemplify the Innovation that Sticks Case Study, in which one leader described their successful professional learning model, with school leaders learning side-by-side with the teachers, fully involved.
Another element of collaboration is that teachers will be able to visit each other’s classrooms to observe the implementation of strategies learned throughout the three years of the plan. Additionally, throughout the 3 year period, teachers will have opportunities to design and share lesson plan exemplars. The other teachers in their professional learning cohort will be available for them to evaluate their lesson and suggest alternatives and give feedback.
The goal is for teachers to develop those observation skills into coaching skills by the third year.
Hopefully, by the end of year three, we will have 60 solidly trained, confident elementary educators equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to transform their classrooms and schools. These educators will be able to blaze the trail by coaching their colleagues and supporting students in their digital learning ecosystem.
As the Blended Learning Cohort of Year 1 is presented by the Powerschool PD team, they will provide all of the materials for each session. Most of these materials, including slide decks and discussion posts, are online within our learning management system Schoology. They will also provide Catlin Tucker’s book to each participant, Blended Learning in Grades 4-12, Leveraging the Power of Technology to Create Student-Centered Classrooms.
For Year 2, all of the materials are hosted online through the two websites:
For Year 3, my colleague and I plan to teach 9 sessions, completely based on Elena Aguilar’s Art of Coaching Workbook. The sessions will be a mix of half-day face to face sessions, and two hour virtual sessions. Below is the beginning of slide deck for Session 1 – Figuring Out Who You Want to Be. All participants will be provided two books:
- The Art of Coaching – Effective Strategies for School Transformation
- The Art of Coaching Workbook – Tools to Make Every Conversation Count
Below are the detailed Backward Design Plan and the Significant Learning Outcomes Plan with a 3-column table.
- Aguilar, E. (2020). Art of coaching: Effective strategies for school transformation. JOSSEY-BASS.
- Amico. (n.d.). Knowledge Isometric Illustrations. Storyset. Retrieved September 12, 2021, from https://storyset.com/education.
- 4K HD Free Stock Footage No Copyrights. (2020). Kids Free Hd Stock Footage For Download and Reuse Without Copyright. YouTube. https://youtu.be/ENi-gJVCjeQ.
- Andrews, T. M., Leonard, M. J., Colgrove, C. A., & Kalinowski, S. T. (2017). Active learning not associated with student learning in a random sample of college biology courses. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 10(4), 394–405. https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.11-07-0061
- CEA. (2016). (rep.). The CEA ‘Innovation that Sticks’ Case Study Report Ottawa Catholic School Board A Framework for District-Wide Change. Toronto, ON. https://www.edcan.ca/wp-content/uploads/cea_ocsb_innovation_report.pdf
- EdCan Network Le Réseau ÉdCan. (2016). Innovation That Sticks Case Study – Ocsb: Collaborative Professional Development. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUusuw-xdr4.
- Education – k-12 – apple teacher. Apple. (n.d.). Retrieved September 11, 2021, from https://www.apple.com/education/k12/apple-teacher/.
- Hill, Heather C. (2015, September). Review of the mirage: confronting the hard truth about the quest for teacher development.
- Glatch, S., Mahoney, E., & Becky. (2021, July 30). The 5 stages of freytag’s pyramid: Introduction to dramatic structure. Writers.com. https://writers.com/freytags-pyramid.
- Goodwin, B. (2015, December 1). Research Says / Does Teacher Collaboration Promote Teacher Growth? ASCD. https://www.ascd.org/el/articles/does-teacher-collaboration-promote-teacher-growth.
- Gulamhussein, A. (2013, September) Teaching_Effective_Professional_Developmt.pdf. Dropbox. https://www.dropbox.com/s/j13c5mk092kmqv9/Teaching_Effective_Professional_Developmt.pdf?dl=0
- Life Mentor. (2018). Simon Sinek – How to present properly(Part 5). YouTube. https://youtu.be/msvmLlAkOno.
- Microsoft innovative Educator Programs. Microsoft Educator Center. (n.d.). Retrieved September 11, 2021, from https://education.microsoft.com/en-us/resource/18485a7b.
- Stanford Graduate School of Business. (2013). Nancy Duarte: How to Tell a Story. YouTube. https://youtu.be/9JrRQ1oQWQk.
- The cure for bad powerpoint: A review of presentation zen. Cult of Pedagogy. (2020, June 13). https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/presentation-zen/.
- Wei, R. C., Darling-Hammond, L., Andree, A., Richardson, N., & Orphanos, S. (2009). Professional Learning in the Learning Profession: A Status Report on Teacher Development in the U.S. and Abroad. Technical Report. National Staff Development Council.
- Watchel, T. (n.d.). Defining restorative: Restorative practices. IIRP. https://www.iirp.edu/restorative-practices/defining-restorative/.