When Teachers Differentiate Their Own PD

This week I attended my second ECET2 Conference in Maine. ECET2ME stands for Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching (and the ME stands for my state of Maine). According to its national website ECET2 has 6  Key Beliefs that I believe are essential:

  1. Nurturing trust among teachers
  2. Focusing on each teacher’s potential for growth
  3. Inspiring both the intellect and the passion that drives teachers in their work
  4. Providing time for collaboration and learning
  5. Putting teachers in the lead
  6. Recognizing teachers as talented professionals

I blogged about it in greater detail last year (READ HERE).

This event offered teachers inspirational “Cultivating the Calling” talks, breakout sessions by teachers-for teachers, collaborative circles to problem solve challenges in our schools, opportunities to network with other teachers, ‘speed dating’ with dozens of educational organizations across our state, a lobster bake, a night of improv with Teachers Lounge Mafia, and it was all FREE!!!!

The organizers of ECET2 work diligently to obtain sponsorship from a variety of organizations so that teachers could be pampered and PD’d at no expense. A huge “thank you” this year’s sponsors:Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 8.36.32 AM

If you’ve attended a previous ECET2 convening, you are then asked to volunteer as an organizer, facilitator, or presenter if returning. This allows more opportunity to expand the event to new participants.  I love that idea. This year I presented a session on CLOSE WRITING TEACHERS. I was excited that so many teachers had an interest in being teachers who write and I was thrilled to share my passion for it. (I’ll share it here!)


I hear from many teachers that they wish their own learning could be differentiated the way they work hard to differentiate for their students. So I encourage them not to wait for others (districts, schools, departments) to do it, but do it ourselves. Events like ECET2 or EDcamps are two ways that teachers organize to support one another and promote leadership, excellence in teaching, and collaboration.

Teachers also create their own PLN (Personal Learning Network) via social media (Twitter, Facebook, Voxer, etc) to connect with others and deepen their knowledge and skills. They don’t wait for others to present PD to them, they create it!

As a literacy coach entering my 30th year of teaching, I’ve had a lot of professional development (and provided a lot of professional development) and I can honestly say that the best PD has always been the ones I’ve created or sought out on my own, because by its very nature is tailored to my individual needs-the heart of DIFFERENTIATION!

So as you embark on a new year of teaching-I encourage you to think about differentiating your PD to nurture your mind, body, or spirit and help you grow to be the teacher you’ve always wanted to be.

What’s On My Book Radar?

Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 9.10.43 AMTWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: IT’S ALIVE! By Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson
WOW! I love this book! Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson have created an informational book that presents 3 fascinating ‘stories’ of the natural world in each chapter-however, one of them is a lie! If we want our students to be more discriminating readers of information, this book would be such a fun way to get them to read closely and think deeply -and tune in to how ‘facts’ are presented to readers. In an age of “Fake News” and “Alternative Facts”, we want our students to be better consumers of information and learn to challenge what they read with common sense and practice analyzing and discerning facts from fiction. The first in a series I am looking forward to sharing with students and teachers.

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