Professional Learning Opportunities

Greetings and Happy Fall! We attended a great 1/2-day session with Penny Plavala, MESD Literacy Specialist last week on Designing High Quality Professional Development. One of the things that resounded with me, the gist of which was the term professional development has garnered a somewhat negative connotation. The word “develop” suggests that negativity, as if someone needs to be developed. It might just be semantics, but Professional Learning has a much more positive connotation–we’re all in this together, collaborating and deepening our collective knowledge and understanding. Fall is a great time for Professional Learning opportunities, and without further adieu, here’s a short list of those coming our way:


This Friday, October 9th is the State Inservice Day, and ODE has several listings on their website. These range from Digital Filmmaking for K-12 Teachers to OMSI’s Teacher Pub Offering: a presentation by Astronaut Don Pettit.

In addition on Friday, Octorber 9, the IOC October 2015: “Inquiry Outside the Cube Conference” will be happening at La Grande Middle School. Sessions will be offered by grade band as well as general interest.  Topics will be best practices, STEM, CCSS, SBAC and more.

The following weekend, October 16-18, the OSTA: 55th Annual Fall Conference on Science Education at Central Oregon Community College. Strands for STEM, NGSS, Technology integration and more are on tap!

Looking for an affordable International Adventure? The 54th Annual Northwest Math Conference: Scaling New Heights takes shape in Whistler, BC., Canada October 22-24.

Friday, November 6th is the date for Oregon Reading Association’s Fall Institute with heavy literacy hitter, Carol Jago presenting on the topic of classroom rigor in Middle and High School.

Talk about real professional learning, Saturday, November 7th is the date of Wordstock’s relaunch through Literary Arts. Centralized at the Portland Art Museum this year, Wordstock is billed as the biggest 1-day book festival in the city.

I know it’s still a ways away, but for those of you with a penchant for or curious interest in storytelling, The Moth, that iconic storytelling venue of stage and radio is offering MothShop, a storytelling workshop for Teachers December 15-18. This unique opportunity is limited to just 12 participants. At last check (today), six spots remain.


In addition to live and in person professional learning opportunities, there are a wealth of online Webinar (archived and live) and video options for teachers to peruse on your own time. Here are a few that offer freebies we’ve found useful:

ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) – A wide variety of topics from Brain Research to Designing Lessons for Deepening Understanding.

Big Marker: Global Math Department Conferences Every Tuesday at 6:00pm: These are hour-long participatory conferences are hosted by teacher leaders. Goal: math teachers who share what we’ve learned, cause we don’t want our classes to suck the energy from students! – upcoming topics include: Integrating Primary Documents into Teaching & Learning (10/7), Literacy in Social Studies and Science for ELLs (10/26), and Giving Effective Feedback (10/28).

Education Week – Both live and archived, these webinars cross the gamut of topics and levels.

Illustrative Mathematics – Task Talks are virtual conversations for teachers and teacher leaders around a specific task. They convene weekly, Tuesday evenings at 5pm.

Nix the Tricks – Free ebook filled with alternatives to the shortcuts so prevalent in mathematics education and explains exactly why the tricks are so bad for understanding math.

PBSLearning – Bring PBS into your classroom with the myriad resources PBS offers.

Whatever your choice, live or living room, large group or individual, taking time for our own professional learning translates positively in the classroom.


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