Contributions to Learning and the Learning Community
My Score: 90
While I like to think of myself as a leader and hold a leadership role in my professional life, in a group of relative strangers I tend to hang back and observe for a while before I’m comfortable enough to engage. This summer I finally felt able to participate in class discussions in a way that brought something meaningful to the conversation. Having had foot surgery in June, I was off work from both jobs and had plenty of time to really dig into the courses, carefully consider my Professional Learning Plan and how it fit into the creation of Significant Learning Environments on my campus, and submit work I could be proud of. I did miss some zoom meetings due to other commitments, but the recordings were there to catch me up.
Designing learning experiences, whether for students or teachers, is one of the things I enjoy most about my job. The creativity and problem solving involved in the process hit two of my perceived strengths. My PL sessions are rarely sit-and-get events, more often a combination of workshop model and flipped learning. Through 5389, I discovered some new strategies - especially ones that involve reflection and collaboration between participants. I look forward to using walk-and-talks in addition to group formative assessments like 1-minute videos in future professional learning events. Designing the PL for 5389 with Robin Ballard was inspiring. She is so detailed and thorough in her approach to everything she does, whereas I contribute through big ideas and creative thinking. We made a great team, working together on many aspects of the plan but allowing for individuality as well. Since my Innovation Plan is about implementing project-based learning in our 4-H Clubs, I aimed my professional learning plan at the staff members who lead the 4-H clubs. Robin’s Innovation Plan is aimed at a broader audience at the secondary level, so the details of her PL plan were slightly different from mine although the basic concept and structure are the same.
What I enjoyed most about these summer courses was how well they connected for me. In designing my Professional Learning Plan, I was challenged to create a Significant Learning Environment in which to deliver it. As I said, I prefer my PL sessions to be active and authentic, and they understand the content I present on some level. Having gone through 5313, I realize I had never really thought about ways my learners could more deeply connect with the material in a way that would truly change the way they think about teaching and learning. Moving from the traditional UbD template to using the BHAG and 3-column table opened my eyes to how considering the core knowledge and beliefs I want my audience to internalize should play a foundational role in my PL design process.
My core group, consisting of Robin Ballard, Danielle Pyle, LIndsay Hoerig-Cavanagh, Lindsey Wallace, Aliscia Drummond, Maria Rodman, and Avery Nihill maintained a Google slide deck to curate resources and share our work outside of the Blackboard platform as well as a GroupMe for real time communication. The GroupMe was a real lifeline this summer when it came to asking/answering each other questions and discussing our different interpretations of videos and readings. In my opinion, the most powerful effect our group has had is encouraging each other to maintain a growth mindset and focus on learning rather than the final grade. This emotional support and encouragement has been vital in my own growth within the ADL program and I continue to look forward to working with these ladies as we continue into the fall.