Finding Ideas for Professional Development

Last month I wrote about how important it is to offer professional development for our teachers. However, developing a schedule for professional development and finding topics to fill it up can be a challenge. To begin, I recommend offering professional development every other month until you build your idea bank. Then you will have time to recoup and plan for your next offering.

Here are some places to find professional development ideas:

  1. Look at general K-12, educational technology, and school librarian conference programs. Conference programs contain the latest topics and can help you identify trends that are currently impacting education.
  2. Read education blogs. Bloggers are always identifying new topics. If there is a topic that is frequently discussed by bloggers, it might be time to bring it to your school.
  3. Use a drop box to ask teachers what they need to know. Place the box by the door of the school library or in the teachers lounge. Sometimes teachers will not tell you what they need face to face. However, they may be inspired by the opportunity to leave a comment anonymously.
  4. Implement a quarterly teacher survey to ask about professional development needs. SurveyMonkey and Google Forms are free and only take a few minutes to set up.
  5. Ask the principal if there are topics that need to be covered to match the strategic plans for the school year.
  6. Analyze data points such as standardized test scores or ask the teachers about the results of the assessments they are giving. Then create professional development that will help the teachers to improve learning.
  7. Share what you have learned during your professional development if it pertains to the teachers in your school.
  8. Review the school curriculum and design professional development.
  9. Review free professional development opportunities. My blog posts contain examples of professional development each month.
  10. Read a book and share the contents.
  11. Review other school district pages to see the type of professional development that is being offered.
  12. Read the Facebook and Twitter accounts of professional organizations, librarians, and educators.
  13. Watch YouTube videos created by professional organizations, librarians, and educators.
  14. Read professional journals.
  15. Finally, ask other school librarians and your personal learning network members about the professional development they are offering.

In conclusion, there are many ways to locate ideas for professional development. It only takes a little research to find enough ideas to put on your schedule for the rest of the school year. Remember, don’t try to be complicated. Offer short sessions 30-50 minutes long that are accompanied by handouts or follow-up videos to help teachers to recall what is being taught. In addition, do not be afraid to provide pre- and post-assessments to gather opinions about the professional development, to determine if the professional development outcomes have been met, and to gather evidence for your portfolio.

March 2019 Professional Development Schedule
Organization Date & Time Professional Development Title March 5, 2019 – 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EST Using Technology to Excite Students About Hands-On Science
March 11, 2019 – 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm EST Accessibility: Effective, Equitable Learning Environments for All Students
March 12, 2019 – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST Supporting Preschoolers’ Social and Emotional Development Through Music and Movement Activities
March 14, 2019 – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST Autism and Visual Supports: Powerful Strategies for School, Home, and the Community
March 20, 2019 – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST Building Trauma-Sensitive Schools by Helping Students Get Regulated
Info2Go! March 18, 2019 – 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm MST Library Data & Evaluation
Simple K12 March 9, 2019 – 10:00 am – 10:30 am EST Getting Started with Makerspaces and STEAM
March 9, 2019 – 11:00 am – 11:30 am EST Empower and Engage Your Students in Math and Science through UDL
March 9, 2019 – 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm EST STEAM with 3D Modeling: Inspire Students’ Career Pathways
March 9, 2019 – 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm EST STEAM Up Learning to Inspire Inquiry, Critical Thinking, and Problem-solving
March 9, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST Hour of Code: Free Resources to Help Your Students Code
March 9, 2019 – 3:00 pm – 3:30 pm EST 15 Awesome Hands-on STEAM Activities Found on Pinterest
March 30, 2019 – 10:00 am – 10:30 am EST Streamline Student Collaboration and Communication with G Suite
March 30, 2019 – 11:00 am – 11:30 am EST Around the World in Eighty Days: Virtual Field Trips with Google Tools
March 30, 2019 – 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm EST Great Ways to Use Google Sites in the Classroom
March 30, 2019 – 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm EST Go Beyond Simple Data Collection: Amazing Ways to Use Google Forms
March 30, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST Google’s Hidden Tools: Uncover a World of Possibilities
March 30, 2019 – 3:00 pm – 3:30 pm EST Using Google Keep to Support Classroom Learning and Student Organization
TeachersFirst March 5, 2019 – 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm CST Engage & Inspire: Tools for Your Maker Box
March 12, 2019 – 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm CST 5 Strategies for Building Content-Area Literacy
WebJunction March 5, 2019 – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST Supercharge Your Storytime Assessment: Using Data to Tell Your Story March 21, 2019 – 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm EST School Readiness Webinar Series, Part 3: Re-imagining School Readiness: Practical Implications from Research March 5, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST Single Days of Service: Make ’em Work
March 7, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST The New Volunteer Manager’s Toolkit
March 12, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST Where Do I Go From Here? Engage Volunteers in New Ways
March 26, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST Writing Accurate and Useful Volunteer Position Descriptions
School Library Journal March 27, 2019 – 10:00 am – 4:00 pm EST Middle Grade Magic 2019
Texas State Library and Archives Commission March 5, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm CST Adulting 101: Life Skills Classes for Tweens, Teens and Adults
March 28, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST Lions, Tigers, Bears, and Texas School Standards Supplemental Resources, OH MY! 
ASCD Webinars March 5, 2019 – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST The New Three Rs: Trauma-Invested Strategies for Fostering Resilient Learners
American Association of School Librarians March 6, 2019 – 6:00 pm CST Using Makerspaces to Build Teacher/Librarian Collaboration
March 19, 2019 – 6:00 pm Standards at Your Fingertips: AASL Standards Mobile App for Supervisors to Learn, Advise, and Evaluate
March 26, 2019 – 6:00 pm CST Standards at Your Fingertips: Using the AASL Standards Mobile App in Your Building-Level Practice

Author: Daniella Smith

Daniella Smith, PhD. is a former school and public librarian. She is currently the Hazel Harvey Peace Professor in Children’s Library Services at the University of North Texas.

Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics, Professional Development

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