I get really excited when grade level specific trainings are offered in my district. I get even more excited when they're in math (an area I want more professional development in) and when one of my dear friends, Mrs. B, is one of the trainers. She's a wealth of information and I love learning new things from her.
I signed up for the three day training (Friday, Monday, Tuesday) with two other lovely ladies from my grade level.
Naturally, the school where the training is held is on the other side of town, so Mrs. H and I carpooled, which meant I saw her lovely face at 6:03 am. Yes, that early. The training was 7am-1pm.
We got to the other side of town early (no traffic on a Friday morning, which is somewhat of a miracle). We got there, found a table with three open seats (so our grade level could sit together) and once we were nice and settled, were told to move closer. Sigh...I have perfect vision. I can see from the back of the room!
After we moved, the training started. Here are the highs and lows:
We learned some new strategies for teaching multiplication of fractions with manipulatives (washi or highlighter tape for models).
We got some tricky word problems that really require students to think. I'm excited to use them the first week of school.
We learned about some cool new virtual manipulatives, like this and this! My favorite parts? Not only will it cut down on the frustration I feel when making models to demonstrate fraction by fraction multiplication, but they are both free.
Lots of the information wasn't new, but rather reaffirmed that what Mrs. H and I did last year when planning math was appropriate for students. We'd rather give them fewer problems but make them thoughtful, real world application questions that they struggle with to build perseverance.
Not related to the training, but my grade level went out for a wonderful lunch at the Mac Shack afterward! Gourmet mac and cheese? Yes please.
It's frustrating that when we are in a major budget crisis, the school district makes some questionable decisions. i have absolutely no problem with teachers receiving extra pay for attending extra trainings outside of contract hours. However, I took a pay cut and my insurance increased, but new hires get a $4,000 hiring bonus? There are at least 22,000 employees in the school district, including a pretty competent math department, but they flew a presenter in from Florida. So not only does the school district pay the presenting fees, but also lodging and food. Plus the training is Friday & Monday, so the weekend has to be covered as well. Isn't there someone already on pay roll who lives here that could have been paid to do the training?
We sat for six hours. We didn't get to use the manipulatives til around 11 am, which meant four hours of sitting and listening. I wouldn't do that to my students, so don't do it to teachers. It was very obvious the two main presenters were used to sitting in offices all day by how they ran the training. I need to move! I don't do well sitting still.
I ran out of food. I brought snacks, then ate them quickly because I was bored of sitting. I got hangry and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
We were promised two 15 minute breaks and only got one.
Our Tuesday training was cut, due to budget (?). I was looking forward to the extra money, but after sitting through Friday's, I'm glad there's only six hours left. Plus it means I have Tuesday to work in my classroom!
I'm hoping Monday's training is better. We are supposed to be broken up into smaller rooms with our schools, so we'll see...