Tuesday, November 14, 2006

pd-tastic

Monday was a swell day. We had PD all day out at the Western Development Museum. No kids AND a nice change of scenery from a classroom or the cafeteria. Thank you PD committee, you are indeed doing a good job.

So we started off the morning with some entertaining group activities. Since we were at the WDM, naturally they revolved around early Saskatchewanians. We were divided into towns (go Pelly!) and each town was given the task and limited ressources to raise a barn. By limited resources, I mean our group had some cardboard, red paper, string and some markers. They also showed us a quick clip from some movie where Mennonites raise a barn, so we would "get the idea." A quick survey amongst the 6 Pelly townsfolk revealed none of us had ever raised a barn. Did I forget to mention a time restraint had been placed upon us? 15 minutes is not a whole lot... Anyway, despite our lack of expertise, our barn came together very nicely indeed. Keys were our main method of cutting things, and we securely wrapped our barn together. I, now a barn building expert, patented the design for our very solid roof. Just a hint, it involves slits and notches. Our group had finished the task and was just about delve into the discussion questions when a time extension was issued! Ridiculous! The competitive nature of Pelly did not appreciate the bending of the rules for lesser capable towns. However, we stood by our original product and chose to leisurely discuss the follow up questions over coffee instead of mess with near perfection.

Did I mention the media was out in full force for this little activity? I had a girl from Global in my face almost the entire time we were trying to build our barn. I think this testifies to how great the town of Pelly really is. I was however very glad she chose to interview someone else who had proper PD jargon down. Seriously, my fellow Pellian has a future in politics. One of my students came to school today and promptly informed me he'd seen me on the news last night. "You looked confused." was what he got out of it. Dude, I was building a barn out of cardboard and string, heck yes I was confused. CBC and the Star Phoenix were also out snapping away. From what I understand the story failed miserably at conveying what was going on and just reinforced the idea that teachers don't do any real work. They pay people downtown money to worry about my public image, I don't see the point in getting too worked up about it. I do think it's convenient that one 30minute activity in a 6 hour day is all that was mentioned.

Back to the barn. As I was getting my coffee, it became apparent Pelly was an independent and resourceful town. Other towns had scissors and tape! Cardboard rolls and newspapers! The discussions that followed the activity were surprisingly meaningful and insightful. Especially if you knew the bunch of jokers I work with. This part naturally got no media coverage.

We followed up our barn raising with some department time and a chance to explore the WDM. This was not overly useful for myself seeing as anything I could accomplish there I could accomplished as effectively and cheaper elsewhere. Someday if I'm in the position to teach an advanced class (they have more opportunities for multi-disciplinary projects) or maybe something in Core French will be more pertinent.

I need to mention lunch briefly because there was no mayo or mustard on the sandwiches. Do you have any idea how rare that is? Fantabulous.

After lunch I went to a fantastic session lead by a terrible presenter. I really felt for her. I was so interested in what she was saying, and amazed that she could be a teacher AND such a terrible presenter. I later found out she's even been presenting all over lately, so by now she should be at least a little better. I'm not sure what her presenting issues are, but I was able to overcome them to be able to appreciate what she's saying. She's teaching at my old school, and I feel a little jealous that I didn't get to work with her. What her old school in Ontario developed is something I really stand behind and would like to see more of in the curriculum revisions that will be coming our way shortly. Happily, I think it's something my current staff is leaning towards as well. Yay math! It's nice to be reminded about good practices and awesome ideas that get forgotten about when curriculum, textbooks and time get in the way.

We finished off the day with a good old fashioned scavenger hunt. Pelly had somehow disintegrated and we were down to 4 townsfolk. Urban migration isn't a myth my friends! At first I wasn't very excited. This took me all of 30 seconds to get over. 2 minutes until full competitive me took right over. It was requested we not run. Ummm, nice try. It was also requested that we not split up. Again, Pelly makes it's own rules. What do you get for making your own rules? 2nd place and an old fashioned candy stick. Looking to have a scavenger hunt? I highly recommend the WDM, it's chock full of history and tricky things to find. And had I had a camera and some friends - fantastic photo opportunities.

I'm already looking forward to our next PD day. Which may not be til January. I think maybe I should take a peek at my Professional Growth Binder before then...

1 comment:

bag_marla said...

Dear, sweet Pelly! Go team!