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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Staff Development – How to use this blog?

Staff development training for teachers, under current budget restrictions, is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. As a result, it may become necessary to look for other resources to use in training that do not involve spending money. I believe my blog, “Keys to Teaching Success,” is one of those resources. If I was the school principal of your school I would start by training teachers on how to find the blog, how to use the blog, and then discuss with the teachers how the blog could help them in their own classrooms. What would the training look like? See below.

1. Select and implement the “I want to be a Star” activity found in Classroom Management Tip #6.

You always want to start the staff development training with a high energy activity that everyone can get involved in. “I want to be a Star” is such an activity. You start by greeting your teachers/students and telling them that their assignment is at their seat and they will have five minutes to complete the activity starting at a set time (See directions in Classroom Management Tip #6). You should have all the supplies you will need easily assessable for the teachers/students and constantly circulate to help them complete the tasks in the set amount of time. In teacher staff development, the teachers should always actively participate in all activities so they gain true understanding of how to implement the activity in their own classroom. This is why I refer to them as teachers/students. Once all teacher/students have completed the required tasks, the instructor will discuss what has been accomplished so far.

Below is a sample script you could use.

1. Greeting - set a friendly tone for the day – The teacher/trainer is smiling, happy, enthusiastic, and is telling the teacher/students what they will be doing first today, how long they will be doing it, and that they have all the information they need to complete the task. You are modeling what all good teachers should do each day in their own classrooms and you should point this out.

2. Everyone get to work quickly – Opening exercises (warm-up) should last five minutes; just long enough for the teacher to take the roll. At the end of five minutes you will need a one-minute assessment to be sure that the warm-up was completed. I can not emphasize enough the importance of getting your students to think that your classroom is all about work. If you do not start class on time – just think of the instructional time you lose – and if time management is not an expectation then you will lose time with every transition. As a result, you will not be able to complete all of your planned activities. Managing time and demanding that students not waste time is very important to your success. This is what we call “bell to bell” teaching.

3. Activity “I want to be a Star” -- reinforces that students should be able to follow specific directions and complete a task in a specific amount of time. Something that all teachers should insist upon in their classrooms. Also, it makes your students aware that you will be timing all activities and they must produce in a set time frame. “I want to be a Star” could be used as a first day or the second week of school activity to introduce or reintroduce the students to each other. I often used “I want to be a Star” as a motivational program. When students do things in appropriate times and in appropriate ways they receive a star. Leave them on the wall for six weeks to see who can collect the most stars over a six week period. It is amazing what students will do for a star. When delivering a staff development presentation you must be sure and explain everything you are doing and presenting so that the teacher/student can transfer it easily into their own classroom.

4. What was the teacher doing -- The teacher was monitoring instruction – The teacher was moving around, getting people on task, pushing, encouraging, etc.

Assessment for opening lesson

1. What is the activity called that you start your class with everyday? (WARM-UP)
2. How long should a warm-up last? (5-MINUTES)
3. What did you receive if you completed all tasks in the set time frame? (Star)
4. How many colors were required on the visual? (3)
5. Why is it important to get students to work quickly? (SO YOU DO NOT LOSE INSTRUCTIONAL TIME)

Repeat questions multiple times to complete proper assessment.

Now that we have assessed the opening activity, you need to select one or two additional activities to make your point about this blog. Once you have selected the teaching strategies you want to use from the Strategies of the Week section of this blog, you need to devise a lesson using the strategy. Then have your teachers practice the strategy as students. This way they understand how to implement the strategy in their classroom. Once they have done a couple activities that are fun and easy to do, you then introduce the blog. Each teacher should have a computer and then log onto the address of the blog. If your teachers do not have laptops, then do this part of the activity in a computer lab.

Once you are on the blog you go over the various buttons at the top. You need to explain that the Home button is how to access every thing, Teaching Strategies is teaching strategies, Classroom Management is tips and articles about classroom management, Contact Me allows the teacher to ask questions and get additional information, and the Join In/Get Files provides a place for them to participate as well as get free files and templates which they do not have to recreate for themselves.

I would then read through the article “So You Want To Work In Groups” and then implement the tips from the article into the lessons I have developed for the staff development presentation.
For closure, I would then divide the participates into groups and have each group select a strategy or tip, discuss how they might use it in their own classroom and then do a brief presentation to the rest of the group on their findings. I would make this a fifteen minute activity and require a visual for the presentation. The article mentioned above will help you with this as well.
I hope that you will find this useful and be well on your way to implementing a free staff development session. If you have additional questions, please contact me at smmcnamee@comcast.net. (
If your computer does not have a program that allows you to click and send email then cut and paste my address into your own email program.) GOOD LUCK!!!
To find more Staff Development Tips go to the Classroom Management Tips Page.


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