Yesterday's presentation at the district's differentiated instruction conference felt as though it went very well.
I knkow from experience in the audience that teachers are a tough audience. For that reason, I've tried to pack my presentation full of as much relevant information as possible. From Clark (Ron and Chap) to Warlick, it's all in there.
I've divided the presentation into three parts - Social, Academic and Professional Development. You can view it below as well as look a the notes and accompanying files at the session's wiki.
Two pieces of this experience have been extremely worthwhile.
First, the reflection I've had to go through to put what I do in my classroom into perspective. I know I do all of the things I do for a reason, but presenting those practices to a larger, critical (in a good way) group of professionals requires me to finally do explicitly what I've been doing implicitly - connect the research with the practice. The rationale for me is inherent in the practice. To show others and pull back what is to me a fairly uninteresting curtain requires that rationale to be systematically connected. I've got to admit, the temptation was certainly present to say, "I just do this because I know it's what's best for kids!" I tried to stay away from that one.
The second benefit of the presentation thus far is finally getting an initiated audience involved in the conversation. Part of the frustration of participating in teaching 2.0 is the passive nature of our discourse. The people who read this blog are, I would imagine, largely people who have their own blogs. If we want to influence true, system-wide evolution, we (read I) must be better advocates for that evolution outside of our comfort zones. Scientists don't just publish their findings in an e-mail to the scientists who work in the lab next to them.
I know there is an interest in moving our practice and pedagogy forward in a meaningful manner, I hope I'm doing my part.