Why not show your teachers that you value their time by giving your staff meeting an upgrade?
What is the purpose of staff meetings?
Is the purpose of staff meetings to discuss issues? Build consensus? Solicit input from stakeholders?
When creating an agenda, do you ask yourself, "Can this content be covered in an email?"
As I approach the end of my seventeenth year of teaching, I am reflecting on the many staff meetings that I have attended. I am noticing that while classroom teaching has changed so much over the years in response to new research and technology, the staff meeting has changed very little. I do have some thoughts on what I would like more of in staff meetings. I'm not the kind of teacher that likes to complain without offering solutions, so I have even created several documents that you are free to modify and use for this purpose.
I'd Like Staff Meetings to Have A focus on Learning, feedback & Reflection that is revisited on a regular Basis
One of the biggest flaws that I can see in staff development, or staff meetings, is a lack of follow through. When meeting agendas have a "soup of the day" feel to them, there is less likelihood that there will be buy-in from teachers because they realize that by the next meeting there will be a new daily special. No one will mention (insert current popular EDU buzzword here) again.
Here's my soup of the day suggestion:
The observation and reflection movement known as #ObserveMe started by Robert Kaplinsky is a rather simple, yet brilliant idea that involves teachers welcoming their peers into their classrooms for the purpose of soliciting targeted feedback. I love everything about this process. I've done a little bit of research into some variations on the implementation of #ObserveMe and I think the best way to go about introducing it to staff is to allow them to come up with a format that they are comfortable with.
I created a slide deck to introduce some variations on what #ObserveMe looks like in different schools. In this slide deck, intended for use in a staff meeting, teachers learn about three different styles of peer observation implementation and then create a method that works for their school. This would work great for flipped meetings-teachers read the articles and come to the meeting ready to share their reflections and ideas for implementation.
This could be an ongoing piece of regular staff meetings, with future meetings focused on sharing reflections on classroom observations as well as applications to their own classrooms. Future meetings might include sharing how a strategy learned from an observation was used and how it went.
Differentiated Learning: It's not just for students
My suggestion is to allow teachers to choose their own learning:
I have created several of these game boards and you are welcome to click on the buttons below and add them to your drive. The Twitter game board is one I added to my drive from Lisa Guardino. I've seen examples of this type of document used for new teacher orientations as well. This style of document is also great to use in the classroom, and I am a fan of teacher learning that models how students can be learning in the classroom.
Teachers Need Time for Team Building & Collaboration
Resources to get you started can be found in these Breakout EDU Game Facilitation Slides, in the Breakout EDU Resources Hyperdoc (click on the image below), and on the Breakout EDU website. The teachers in the Breakout EDU Facebook group are extremely creative and helpful.
Set Aside Time to Highlight Learning from Experts-Teachers
Demo slams are traditionally focused on tech tools, but that doesn't need to be the case. In the document below I introduce the demo slam model and give three examples. My hope is that teachers will want to have "demo slam" time built into every staff meeting. There are so many teachers on our staff that I rarely hear from in staff meetings, I know they are doing great things in their classrooms that we could all learn from. It's been my experience that the greatest things are happening in classrooms where teachers tend to be quite humble and often don't speak up in staff meetings because they don't want to be seen as bragging. These teachers sit quietly through meetings, while the teachers who do the most talking seem to focus on problems, setbacks, and even negativity. This can seriously ruin the vibe of what may have been a good meeting. Demo slams give voice to best practices, solutions, and positivist thinking.
- How could you adapt the demo slam strategy to use it in your classroom?
- What was one idea that was shared today that you might try in your classroom?
- Would you like to start every staff meeting with 5-10 min of demo slam time?
- What are some issues that you are struggling with that you’d like to have someone address in a future demo slam?
Teachers Like Having Fun
My suggestion: I saw this post from Dave Burgess on Twitter during the debates for the last presidential election.
- Setting the Table for Delicious Staff Meetings - A blog post from Jennifer Kloczko
- Another way to try out a choose your own learning EDventure is through earning badges. Check out Edubadger.org
Kelly Hilton has created a hyperdoc template for staff meetings:
- #Hyperdocs for Administrators Kelly's Blog Post
- Watch Kelly in this Google for Education on Air Webinar go through her Connecting Staff Hyperdoc I really like that a space is included for shout-outs and appreciation in this document. A little gratitude can have a big impact. We often forget to let others know that they are appreciated, so I like that it is incorporated into the meeting agenda as a regular event.