While we openly admit that The Educator Collective team isn’t equipped to provide professional development, we also aim to provide any support we can for our teachers. Our ultimate mission being to keep the most excellent teachers in the highest need classrooms, we want to make sure early career educators feel supported in every way we can. We already provide networking opportunities (social events for teachers and other professionals to share stories and knowledge and to relax and rejuvenate), personal development workshops, and connections to leadership opportunities.

As we move into a new year and a new semester with our educators, we’re branching out (and reaching out) into a new realm. We partnered with Teach For America Alumna Kindra Knight to facilitate some incredible professional development centered around pedagogy and practice in the classroom. Formerly a TFA Coach and Professional Learning Leader, Kindra is now a coach and adjunct professor with Urban Teachers and John’s Hopkins University. While her own teaching experience was in high school Biology, she’s coached teachers across all grade levels and subjects, and planned a session that can be applied anywhere--Beyond the Worksheet.

Thanks to everyone to came out--we hope you’ve already started using some of the great ways Kindra shared to practice new material and review old material with students. If you weren’t able to make it, I’ve shared below three of the practice methods we saw attendees getting most excited about:

1. Speed Dating, in which students are seated on opposite sides of desks in one long row. At the start of practice, each student in the row receives a different problem and then has X amount of minutes to become a expert on the type of problem or at the skill. After time is up, students switch problems with the student directly across from them, and begin attempting a new problem. If they get stuck, they have the expert in that problem sitting right across from them! Once students complete their new problem, all of the students on ONE side of the table stand and move one seat to the right, and switch with their new ”date”. This cycle continues until every student has tried every problem!

2. Expert Practice. Ever get new students added your class suddenly and not know for sure what they’ve mastered? This is a great opportunity to engage your old students while being sure your new students are all caught up. Divide your rosters ahead of time based on concept mastery, and determine which students will play the role of ‘teacher’ and which will be ‘students’ (you want to have an even number of each if possible). Build practice with chunks of notes and practice questions included for the teachers to use to “teach” their student and then go through practice with their student. After each “chunk” of material, do a quick practice game, like whiteboard, but only allow the “student” in each partner pair to answer. The better the “teacher” does as teaching, the more points they’ll get!

3. Would You Rather? Students get to form an opinion based on information they already know or have recently learned.

If there’s some aspect of instruction or planning you’d like some focused PD on from The Educator Collective, let us know by emailing kate@educatorcollective.org and she’ll find a facilitator with the expertise!

If you would like to reach out to Kindra Knight about doing PD at your campus or about working together one-on-one, you can email her at knight.kindra@gmail.com.