#SOL15: Inspiring and Joyful Professional Development


Two blog posts this week caught my eye and lingered in my brain.  They were Jessica Lifshitz’s “A Different Kind of PD (AKA Thank You Kate Roberts and Chris Lehman)” linked here and Lisa Saldivar’s “Assigning vs. Teaching” here.  Jessica is a 5th grade teacher in Chicago and Lisa is an Elementary ELA Coordinator in Los Angeles.

How do I know Jessica and Lisa?  I follow them on Twitter and they participated in online chats last week.

How did I find out about their blogs?  The links were both tweeted out on Twitter.

Have I ever met them? No, not YET!

 Stop for a second.  

What was the content of the  last Professional Development session where you left energized, inspired and ready to move forward with implementing the learning?

Energy, enthusiasm and excitement were present in both their posts.   The three presenters referenced above, Kate Roberts, Chris Lehman (Falling in Love with Close Reading), and Cornelius Minor, are awe-inspiring and passionate about increasing literacy learning for students without drudgery.  They are also FUN to listen to in a PD setting!  You can hear Cornelius Minor in a podcast here.  If you haven’t yet seen them in person, you need to add them to your “must do” list!



Focus:  What is professional learning?

I shared this model back in September because the work of Joyce and Showers is embedded in the thinking and development of this model that has “Student learning – at the center of school improvement and staff development”!  (Research-based, YES! and a model of how good things can be!)

Iowa PD Model

You can read more about the model here and also about CCSS.Writing Anchors 1-3 here for content of a two hour PD session with absolutely 0 power point slides but a lot of talk and “studying of texts”. Teachers had the opportunity to read new/revisit familiar texts to deepen their understanding of writing techniques and build a common language, K-5, across argument, informational and narrative texts.

 Where can you find joyful and inspiring PD on your own?

There are many quality sources of PD.  I encourage you to leisurely explore the following resources until you find one that you cannot live without!  Additional details are listed for:  blogs, twitter hash tags, twitter book chats, twitter blog chats, scheduled Twitter chats, and face-to-face presentations.

1. Blogs


Reading a steady diet of blogs can inform your work.  Leaving comments on the blogs can also lead to conversations and even other blogs you might want or need to follow!

Must read literacy blogs include:


 2. Twitter hashtags


Twitter hashtags begin with the “#” sign and can be real or made up. Some hashtags exist for a long time (not saying forever because who REALLY  knows what “forever” means in the “TwitterVerse”) or they can be hashtags created for a specific event (and possibly linger after through posts/discussions).

Examples for meetings / conferences:

#NatRRConf  – National Reading Recovery Conference

#WSRA15  – Wisconsin Reading Association 2015 Conference

#NCTE14  – National Council of Teachers of English 2014 Conference

Examples of enduring hashtags (may want to have a dedicated column in Tweetdeck or Tweetchums):

#tcrwp – Teachers College Reading and Writing Project

#wonderchat – Wonder Chat

#tlap – Teach Like a Pirate

3. Twitter Book Chats

Twitter Book Chats are on line discussions of books (often with questions posted in advance in a google document) where readers and lurkers meet to answer questions and grow their own knowledge.  Powerful twitter book chats often include the authors responding to the questions as well!

#filwclosereading – Falling in Love with Close Reading (book and presentations by @teachkate and @ichrislehman linked above)

#wrrdchat – What Readers Really Do by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton

#NNNchat – Notice and Note @kylenebeers and @bobprobst

#wildreading – Donalyn Books

#booklove – Penny Kittle

#G2Great – Good to Great  @DrMaryHoward

4. Twitter Blog Chats

Twitter Blog Chats are often used to introduce an upcoming series of blog posts or to even wrap up a series of blog posts where the readers can interact with the blog authors.


#TWTBlog – Aim Higher:  Outgrow old goals  and set new ones with the chat archive here

#T4Tchat – sponsored by Teachers for Teachers with the last chat storified here – Mid-Year Assessments Got You Down?

5.  Scheduled Twitter Chats

#tcrwp – Teachers College Reading and Writing Project  (Wed. 7:30 pm EST)

#educoach –  Educational Coaches (Wed. 9:00 pm CST)

#titletalk –  Promote reading and book titles that engage students (Last Sunday of each month from 8-9 pm EST)

#iaedchat – Iowa Educators (Sundays 8 am and 8 pm CST)

Many content areas and grade levels host their own chats – check out this list! (36  chats on the list last night between 5:30 and 10:00 pm!)

6.  Face to Face Presentations

face to face

Face to Face Presentations are often jazzed up to include a hashtag so participants can follow along or a back channel like “Today’s Meet” where participants can be posting favorite quotes or questions in real time while the session is taking place.  Today’s Meet is often used when there are multiple presenters so the non-presenter is monitoring the channel to feed to other partners/panel members or to address /build purposeful connections for all parts of the presentation.

Which of these 6 have you used to find your own joyful and inspiring professional development?  

What about your peers?  Where do they find joyful and inspiring PD?

(If you didn’t answer these questions in three seconds or less, click on a link above and find something you are interested in . . . NOW!!!)


Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work.

22 responses

  1. You have a lot of great suggestions here. I’ll have to bookmark it and pop back to learn a little more each day. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Norah! Quality work is all around; it’s exciting to share the possibilities!

  2. I am with Norah, this is a post to bookmark and come back often. I think I need to make a little more time for twitter…..

    1. Jaana,
      Time management is key with Twitter. There are many chats that I would like to and do visit without participating; there is a limit to the amount of time that I have to spend! However, a quick search on twitter can locate that interesting conference hashtag and a veritable gold mine in tweets! Fun to explore! Requires discipline to not let it consume!

  3. You are amazing! Getting all of these sources on one post is a goldmine for anyone looking to step into the amazing world out there in PD. You just have to turn on your commuter. Twitter really is the key. I sometimes take a break because of time and some needed space but the minute I take a peak at my feed, bam! I find something new that launches me into new growth. Recently I found the #G2Great chat and Dr. Mary Howard wow.

    Hopefully you’ll get to meet Lisa soon. She is wonderful, we are lucky to have her in our district.
    And thank you for honoring on this list.

    1. Thanks so much, Julieanne! There are so many quality sources for teachers in need of inspirational and joyful PD!

      What fun that you get to work with so many great folks! What a support for you!

  4. Joyful PD…#PDlove so many great opportunities for learners to grow with the ideas and suggestions. You have shared wonderful ideas and in your celebration of joyful pd captured an essential ingredient to lifelong learning! Thanks, Fran. 🙂

    1. JoEllen,
      Where is our joyful and inspirational PD? In my opinion, we need to share our sources with all the folks we work with.

  5. This is a fabulous resource, Fran – joyful PD, what a cool concept! And thanks for the shout out 🙂

    1. Tara,
      Joyful and inspiring is at the top of my list. I do try to learn from every presenter I see . . . Sometimes my list of “what not to do” gets longer and sometimes I add to the “great” list a la #g2great and Dr. Mary Howard. So many great blogs out there and #TWT is so very high on the list!

  6. What a great resource. I have through so many uninspiring PD sessions. Now as a conference co-chair for 2016 I am on the lookout for interesting speakers.

    1. Thanks! Sometimes the column of “what it is not” fills up BEFORE the joyful and inspired but that’s okay as there is still learning to be had from every event! 🙂

  7. So many possibilities for being energized as an educator. Thanks for all of these links (and for the TWT shout-outs!)

    1. Thanks, Stacey! The sky is the limit for the possibilities. Many folks are able to “vote with their feet” when a session doesn’t meet their needs, but other times, the PD can be great food for thought. TWT is such a great resource. I am always sending teachers to your pages! Thank YOU! 🙂

  8. Wonderful ideas! Another PD Model that I have been a part of is Interactive Learning Challenges: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/make-learning-fun-for-adults-carl-hooker

    1. Thanks, Lisa! We spend a lot of time with data-based decision-making within our state-wide PD model!

  9. Wow, Fran! This post is a goldmine of information. I rely on many of these blogs, including yours, and will be back to check out the ones that are new to me. What did we ever do without Twitter & blogs? Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Catherine,
      After I read about your family writing night this morning, I wanted to add it to the list (PD for families!). So here is that link: https://readingtothecore.wordpress.com/2015/02/10/slice-of-life-family-writing-night/

      Congratulations on a great night of learning with your families!
      (And I guess I learned a lot more slowly without Twitter and blogs?) 🙂

  10. Michelle @litlearningzone | Reply

    Resource-FULL … Yes! What a great compilation of PD! Thank you!

    1. You are welcome, Michelle! It was a fun post to research and compile!

  11. […] evidence of my esteem would be in these blog posts:  here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Those nine posts share thoughts from the last year that include Vicki, […]

  12. […] makes me think of HOW one gets better.  Previous posts about professional development are here, here, and here. I love learning.  I love learning with friends.  Therefore, one of the best […]

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