On January 4, the modern and classical language teachers of the Parkway School District in St. Louis, Missouri, met together for a typical, and atypical, professional development day. The work was typical – adding to and tweaking the online curriculum guide for the district, listening to one another’s ideas, hearing a presentation from a colleague – but one element was changed: the idea that the day’s work would be shared. Not with the curriculum coordinator, a principal, or even a superintendent. That day’s work would be shared with other fellow teachers outside the borders of our district. The world would have a view of what Parkway teachers accomplish.
This post is the vehicle of that change. Below you will find elements of the entire day: our agenda, the slide deck we used, our introductory video, and – the most important piece – the results of brainstorms and discussions about units and lessons that the teachers here actually teach.
Nothing here is perfect. What you see is only a snapshot, but it’s real. Behind these artifacts sit a lot of laughter, discussion, and undocumented creativity. Please keep that in mind if something seems incomplete to you.
We invite you to participate. If you happen upon this page, please read at least one of the units below (they’re short) and add an idea from your classroom or an approach that’s worked for you.
The units are published through Google Docs, with comment permissions enabled. If you are unfamiliar with commenting on Google Docs, it’s very straight-forward. You can …
- place your cursor anywhere on the page and click “Insert”–>”Comment” in the menu bar above the page, or
- highlight a word or phrase and use the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl” + “Alt” + “M”
Many thanks to those who signed on to be our reviewers – @joedale, @sylviaduckworth, @HJGriffin, @tmsaue1, @matthewmangino, Laura Gibbs, @Lauren_Scheller, and @mjmergen – and to any of you who decide to help! If you do take your time to look at even one of the units, please let me know via e-mail, Twitter, or comment so that I can thank you personally.
In the keynote address we used for this development, Dean Shareski asks a question about sharing:
“If learning shouldn’t be confined to the four walls of your classroom, should teaching?”
Many people talk about bringing an authentic audience to the work of kids. We hope that projects like this one will help bring that same experience to the work we do as teachers.
Thanks for reading,
Our Slide Deck
A Remix of Dean Shareski’s 2010 k12 Online Conference keynote (11:26)
We stopped the video at 3:59 to allow teachers to discuss specific quotes mentioned, let the video play to the end, then discussed certain quotes and concepts one more time. Thanks to the great folks at NADSFL for this idea and the discussion questions.
Eileen Rodriguez-Kiser presenting on Mark Prensky’s work “Teaching Digital Natives“, tailored for the language teacher
Units by language professional learning community