24 Replies Latest reply: Aug 17, 2011 10:31 AM by cdodd RSS

Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?

ProfDev Novice
Currently Being Moderated

What does your school/district provide for beginning of the year professional development? Is it just for new teachers or for all teachers? Is technology ever included?

 

How do you feel Thinkfinity would be received for beginning of the year PD? Are any of you offering Thinkfinity PD for new teachers or beginning of the year PD?

 

We would love to hear from you!

  • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
    Kingston Apprentice
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    What does your school/district provide for beginning of the year professional development? Is it just for new teachers or for all teachers? Is technology ever included?

    My school district does a mentor program for new teachers, which includes technology.  Also there is a technology task force of six that will assist any teacher in technology.......all you have to do is ask.  There are also courses both face-to-face and online for any teacher.  There were two teachers in my district who have taken the online 6-week Thinkfinity course, and I am hoping that they will spread the word in their schools.  I am the “go to” person in my school for technology integration.

     

    How do you feel Thinkfinity would be received for beginning of the year PD?   I feel that Thinkfinity at the beginning of the school year in NOT a good time.  It would be much better after everyone has all their classrooms up and running smoothly.  If I were to give a workshop on Thinkfinity at the beginning of the school year, I would not get many takers.

     

    Are any of you offering Thinkfinity PD for new teachers or beginning of the year PD?  Unfortunately, it is frowned upon for me to set up  Thinkfinity Professional Development in my school district because  after one attempt, they let me know that they had people to do workshops, and I was taking their job away from them.

  • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
    mdhtoday New User
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    We  set up 4 Thinkfinity sessions before the back-to-school required PD in our  district. Each session is district wide for a core subject area.

     

    Also just set up another  Thinkfinity session in January for new teachers.

     

    We are only getting started and will have success stories soon.

     

    Thanks. Make it a great day.

     

    Melvin

     

    PS... we are adding the Thinkfinity search widget to our district homepage and a Thinkfinity link on the staff page. Just saying.

  • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
    shayes New User
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    We are allowing teachers to choose 3 different PD's this year that they can attend and I am teaching one on Thinkfinity.  The training session is only 1 hr and 15 minutes, so hopefully I can get everything done in that time.  I have the session 3 times during the day.  I feel that technology is a slow progression in our district, so Thinkfinity will fit in great.

    • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
      Jane Brown Master
      Currently Being Moderated

      This sounds like a wonderful way to expose your teachers to Verizon Thinkfinity resources and get them interested in exploring and sharing their finds with their colleagues.

       

      An hour and a half isn't a lot of time but you might have them look at the Thinkfinity Integration Framework and get them thinking of a lesson plan they want to enhance with technology (establish an instructional) need  and guide them in chosing a learning object that they might use to develope a little learning activity to enhance student learning and support that lesson plan they already plan to use.

       

      I'm sure you will get many requests for more trainings and perhaps teachers will group themselves into subject matter or grade level sessions.

       

      Good luck with your trainings and please, come back to this discussion and tell us how it all worked for you as a trainer and for your school in general.  I love to read the sequels to these posts and what you learned and want to share with the rest of us.

  • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
    Kingston Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Your original question planted a seed, and now it is growing in my head.  Back to school is a collaboration time and the perfect time to get into your teams/grade specific groups and discuss/plan what will transpire for the first quarter of the year.  So why not join the Thinkfinity Community and set up a specific group to share ideas, lesson plans, websites, learning objects etc?  Well, I am going to answer my own question.  The beginning of the year is a PERFECT time to set up your particular Community group!

     

    So now I have planted a seed in your head.  Please take your seedling to school and make it grow.  Also let me know when you harvest!

     

    Kingston

  • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
    Lynne Hoffman Apprentice
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    Thinkfinity is a wonderful resource for back-to-school professional development.  It's phenomenol for beginning teachers who are looking for great resources, but Thinkfinity is especially good for seasoned teachers this Fall due to the addition of the Thinkfinity Community.  I am working with the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction in our local school district to schedule some opportunities to share Thinkfinity with new teachers during their week of orientation.  I also have found that contacting principals is a great way to be invited to faculty meetings to give an hour presentation on Thinkfinity.

    • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
      kwilson28 New User
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      I think it would depend on your staff as to the effectiveness of the Thinkfinity training for back-to-school.

       

      About six years ago our staff was pretty established and the back-to-school training was thought of as "been there, done that" sessions. That staff would benefit from the Thinkfinity training at the beginning of the year. Last year, due to layoffs and transfers, we had ten new teachers. They needed an in-service that would introduce them to the school and assure them that middle school is not that scary.

       

      I am planning on holding a Thinkfinity training for our school in the beginning of the year as many of our teachers would like one place they can find resources as well as save what they find. They've seen some of the individual partners, but not a whole package resource that Thinkfinity offers.Depending on time available, this training could be at the Teacher Training but it is unlikely since cutbacks has forced our district to only one day. More than likely we will introduce Thinkfinity during the first weeks at staff meetings.

  • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
    jkaetrow New User
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    I think that Thinkfinity would be a great idea for Back to School! It would give teachers resources, ideas & something "new" to get excited about.

    I'd like to see our school offer Thinkfinity at a staff in-service day since I know that only a few teachers at our school know about Thinkfinity-- I am planning to suggest it ;-)

  • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
    mrvital New User
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    We (AMSA in Marlborough, MA) have a whole week of professional development. New teachers have two weeks of training. The new teachers have two workshops on technology, one for our grading system and one on Outlook and Atlas (curriculum mapping). These training are meant to be introductions and all new teachers must get follow-up support from their mentors.

     

    I do not think that Thinkfinity would be a good idea at my school during the first week. Many teachers are anxious and ready to get their classrooms all set up. Rather, I feel that Thinkfinity would be ideal during our first PD session in October. Teachers at this point are settled and excited about learning something new.

    • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
      Lynne Hoffman Apprentice
      Currently Being Moderated

      I agree with you.  Thinkfinity makes an ideal PD session for an October workday or after school training.  By then teachers know their students and have settled into the new school year.  It's still early enough in the year for teachers to take advantage of the many resources Thinkfinity offers to enhance their existing lesson plans.  I hope more schools will follow your idea and schedule some October Thinkfinity training sessions.

       

      Lynne

      • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
        pterry Novice
        Currently Being Moderated

        I completely agree with Lynne that October is an ideal time to present Thinkfinity resources. As has been mentioned by several folks in this discussion, the first few weeks of school are hectic, and often times we don't remember the exciting resources we hear about during those pre-school start work days. Having had a few weeks to get to know the students, their specific needs, and any new curricular issues is important. This is especially true if you as a teacher are making any changes in assignment...new subject, new grade level, etc. With a few weeks to become familiar with everything you are in a better position to know what you need to be looking for as your school year unfolds.

         

        When do you think would be the best time to showcase the alignment to standards that many of the Thinkfinity resources include?

         

        Pati

  • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
    Khorn Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Yes, Thinkfinity fits in many ways with the Back to School, Parent's Night, or Show n Tell for Parents.  Whatever your program is called in your school, how about trying this as "something completely different."

     

    After you get your parents seated in the little tiny chairs in the case of elementary, or the more comfortable seats in the case of middle or high school, tell them you are going to get input from them on their expectations.  Put the three circle Venn Diagram on the screen and set up the options as:
    Mom's vision for this year and Dad's vision for this year.  In the middle you might put your vision as a teacher.  Interact with your parents as they come up with suggestions and comments, and politely either counter or agree with their hope and vision.  This might be an excellent way to get parents to express exactly what they are hoping to see from you, from their children, and from your classroom end product.  Also thought it might be neat after that discussion with the Venn interaction, to project a bar chart already populated by you that shows the major areas you intend to cover and accomplish.  If, as an example, it is social manners in the classroom, then put that in your bar chart and predict percentage.  Think how great this would be for your own longitudinal study of classroom attitudes, behaviors, and much  ore.  What do you think???  Oh, yes... both of these interactives are in Thinkfinity. Enjoy.

  • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
    tgibbon Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Thinkfinity trainings are great PD during the opening weeks of the school year because sometimes teachers come in thinking "How can I change it up and make it fresh this year?" and since it's already Sept they need something that is quick and classroom ready.

     

    It's also great because many first year teachers got their jobs at the last second and have no idea where to even start!  Having the support of the Thinkfinity Community and of course all the resources can take the panic out of their eyes.


    T.

  • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
    sandylovescats New User
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    We are definitely sharing about Thinkfinity in our PD this year.  I think the beginning of the year is the best time.  That way teachers can begin gathering all the valuable lessons and resources in one place.  I would be disappointed if around mid year someone shared about Thinkfinity's favorite resources and then I had to go back and find them all over again.  I am going to suggest that teachers who really want to make the most of Thinkfinity should register for online training.  It is free and can be done when it is convenient for the teacher. 

  • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
    mdhtoday New User
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    We are going gang busters learning Thinkfinity in our district.

     

    Big AHA moments seeing the power in the Community;

    • documents - sharing from teacher all the way to state
    • groups - building them in training sessions
    • finding friends and peeking in their favs

     

    Like Mark said recently, the Community is more intellegent the more we use it.

     

    Thanks.

     

    Melvin

    @mdhtoday

    • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
      bmsmith New User
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      Yes, Thinkfinity would fit very well with Back to School PD in our district.  Numerous ideas, resources, and ready to use lessons assist our teachers in preparing for innovative learning, engaging pupils at levels never thought of before to better meet the individual needs of students for the upcoimng year. 

       

      Yes, Community is key; allowing educators to share and discussion areas of concerns in order to find the best solutions for unique circumstances, for a variety of learning styles, and for improvement in the classroom. 

       

      If every teacher on a campus would use Thinkfinity to improve one lesson, what a significant impact that would be on the students!

       

      Belia

      RO

  • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
    LEpps53 New User
    Currently Being Moderated

    As technology coordinator for my building, I provide training for new teachers during the first week of school.  Providing training early allows them to use Thinkfinity to create their lessons and provides resources to integrate technology and the interactive whiteboard.  I have found Thinkfinity an excellent resources to transition teachers into use technology in their classroom.

  • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
    r_clough New User
    Currently Being Moderated

    Adding a Thinkfinity introduction to beginning of year PD would be useful.  Teachers are preoccupied with getting things ready for the arrival of their students and would not be too open to an intensive training session.  Wet their appetite and then offer more, in depth, training within a month or so.

  • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
    mjeanlouis New User
    Currently Being Moderated

    Much like the children, we need to recuperate what we lost during the summer weeks. I agree that planning a PD that deals with an overall review of key educational trends would be helpful to educators and then planning those PDs that will directly affect the educational vison for the year throughout the school year.

  • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
    on_the_go New User
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    I have added colleagues as friend in hopes that we will learn together to use Thinkfinity. I am thinking that school is ready to start and teachers have other obligations and priorities in order to get ready for the new school year. I believe teachers may have more time and energy to benefit from a Thinkfinity PD during Late January to late March. I wouldn't consider having this training before Jan. or after March and the reason is that teachers have a full plate until after winter break. Most state standardized tests are given between April and late May. Teachers will want to have time to use Thinkfinity resources to build communities while the idea is fresh and before testing.

     

    Anyone else have another thought?

    • Re: Does Thinkfinity fit with Back to School PD?
      cdodd New User
      Currently Being Moderated

      I would actually pose the question to your educators on when they would like to be trained.  Most everyone has staff meetings/trainings during the first week they are back in the building.  I usually showed a quick 5-15 minute preso about what was new with technology during one of those staff meetings.  I would then let the educators know when and where I would provide more detailed training on the topic (usually during the first two weeks of school) and would let them select to come to that training or one later in the semester.

       

      Teachers who learn about Thinkfinity at the beginning of the year are usually grateful that they have a whole year to use the resources   Most educators who don't learn about Thinkfinity until much later, seem to always say they wish they knew about it sooner!  Personally, I found that by doing this split style training everyone comes away happy.  No one feels 'forced' to attend and those that do love being in a training where they can bounce ideas off of other early adopters.  Has anyone else split their building training up into different dates/times?

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