C5 Choice 4: My 5th Google PD training session

Teachers Training Teachers

March 5, was our final Teachers Training Teachers Session for the year.  I was thrilled to be able to offer a Google Suite session and put this digital/hybrid, anything but normal year – of trying new things and failures, tips and tricks into action! I hosted a generic Google Tech Session session, but not before getting to lead a “Fire the Neurons” session in the pool.  It is wonderful how even on our Professional Development days, we prioritize our time for mental health and wellness.  In the past I’ve lead or been a part of crafting, knitting, ceramics and forest walks; it really is the best way to start a PD day.

brain-neurons | Fotis Bobolas | Flickr
Image Taken from: Flickr

Fire the Neurons

Having 90 minutes of pool time, swimming is just what I need to work towards my personal goals (endurance swimming) to later take part in the swim races in the US,   before tackling the professional goals of the day. Here, I was able to post a workout and lead 6 others in their stroke development or simply just get their heart rates up.

I modified a program for general fitness taken from Swim workouts for Triathletes as a great way to get all levels of abilities and interests in swimming involved.  Each morning (not just on the PD day) staff, faculty, and students can record their number of laps onto a chart, as you see below to work towards our goal of swimming past St. Petes and onto the Atlantic Ocean. We then, use Google sheets to help calculate our kilometers as a faculty and for the swim team to see how far we can swim each month.

We also use the formulas in Google Sheets to enter the data and easily convert it to how many kilometers everyone swam along with the tab feature with the formulas to carry it over adding it up from month to month. It is then tracked on our map of Europe taking us from Moscow to the Atlantic Ocean as seen below. It is wonderful being able to spend time during a Professional Development day working toward personal goals and spending time doing what you love… swimming!

TTT Session #1:

First my professional morning started off with attendeding a great session on digital notebooks.   I learned about many great ways to utilize these Google Slide features when working with students remotely and recording their reading goals and progress. This is a nice centralized place to write, not having to carry notebooks home or back and forth to school to grade written assignments and collect feedback in.  My next steps and main takeaways from this session were- how I can utilize this same type of digital notebook with my pull-out classes: LRC- Learning Resource Class & EAP-English for Academic Purposes. I’d like to continue to explore this idea with tracking goals and working on self-monitoring, self-regulating, and student reflections around our executive functioning lessons, through our SMART curriculum all in a centralized location for quicker feedback and access to directions if the class is missed.

TTT Session #2: Google Suite


Now, for my session on Google Suite. First, I surveyed those attending to find out what they wanted to learn most about.  Based on the results of my Google form, (as seen below) I could see what kind of devices they were bringing into my classroom, what people wanted to spend their time on, and most importantly- what kind of experience, knowledge, and confidence levels they had about the different components to Google Suite.  I read about what goals they had set for themselves for their PD day, and in general what they hoped to learn from my session. This greatly helped with my planning and facilitating the training session for the one hour we had together.


Linked here is my presentation on Google Suite that I organized and added to after seeing the results from the initial gathering info. survey and attached here as a Pdf. I used Nearpod as the platform to deliver my presentation so my audience could get a better feel for how some of the interactive slides worked, as well as how it collects real-time data (or student-paced) to really help increase student engagement and participation. One thing my audience also wanted to learn more about was just ways to stay organized! Something that most people, including students, can find challenging and a way to organize that is efficient.

In the end, we covered the basic features and a few tips and tricks for Google classroom, docs., slides, sheets, and earth as well as the comparison of Peardeck vs. Nearpod and Padlet vs. Jamboard! It’s great discussing the pros and cons of each and how different people find their accessibility.  Having the 10 minutes, in the end, to take a poll and choose one to explore further and ask more questions while applying it to their own lesson or activity went well.

Of the 14 people who signed up for my TTT session, I had 8 enthusiastically attend and all 8 completed my Google forms/Survey Evaluation as seen in the reflection. Though it’s certainly easier presenting to colleagues who are also your close friends, it was great to have about 1/2 attending that I have never met before and worked in the other divisions (ES/HS).

Image in presentation by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Evaluation & Reflection:

I was really excited to be able to share out with my colleagues’ things that I have been able to learn about during this past year through COETAIL and the Google Educator training online.  Keeping the floor open allowed others to jump in and add their tips & tricks along with how they use it specifically within their content areas also served as a great addition to our session, so it wasn’t focused solely on my Middle School Special Education/EAL experience. I appreciated everyone’s eagerness in signing up for my vague session, attending it, as well as filling out the pre and post-surveys on top of all the other emails coming at them on a regular basis. Everyone who attended offered great insights asked questions, was engaged and provided some great feedback.

One piece of feedback shared with me during the session was to offer practice problems after each mini session, which would have been a great addition- as the technical skill levels of all participants varied greatly. I designed the hour to have the last 10 minutes as a choose one to go and practice and apply to something of your own, but I can completely understand how that would be more beneficial to complete an application portion after each mini-session, yet was unrealistic due to the time restraints placed upon us, and being right before lunch when participants are eager to continue on with their day. Drawing upon my audience’s expertise and building upon their prior knowledge, I was hoping to keep things motivational and ensure personal relevance, just as I had experienced in the first TTT months ago. In the end, I was overall pleased with how my session went and got some great feedback as seen below here.

Take Away Happy Hour

Our PD day ended with a takeaway happy hour.  Still practicing social distancing, due to Covid, everyone was invited down to get a “to-go” bag of snacks to enjoy at home or back in your classroom. It was a nice way to end our day while trying to build community and camaraderie amongst the faculty and staff during a different time when we no longer have social gatherings. It was a nice way to wrap up the week as we go into a long weekend due to the International holiday- greatly celebrated in Russia, International Women’s Day!

Happy International Women’s Day!

How are you celebrating and showing appreciation for the women in your life?

C5 Choice 3: My 2nd and 3rd Training Sessions

Professional Development-        After Hours

From my first two more formalized training sessions,  I was then able to meet with the Coaches I work with to further talk about two Google Suites that we couldn’t Coach without.

These Professional Development opportunities were less formal as we didn’t have a PD day aligned at that time or staff meeting, but it’s great when you have a community of educators who continually collaborate to better their practice.  Sharing ideas and new tips and tricks are always fun when getting to apply something you were using in the classroom and take it to your sport- passion. For example, mine being Running & Swimming- I love being able to apply the different activities we do in class and alter them to our sports to better build rapport with your students during the school day and have fun creating learning opportunities outside the classroom.

Google Earth

During the Cross Country season, I was able to meet with my Co-Coaches and go over how we were using Google Earth to help prepare for our season. We are lucky to have a forest right off our campus, but safety is crucial when running with 40 middle school students.  We also use it when planning routes and courses for time trials and meets.  Using this tool we are able to label our meeting spots and familiarize our runners with the map so they know where they are at all times. We hope to take it one step further next year by being able to create a virtual tour of the course, without ever having to actually run it ourselves beforehand. This year with the limitations and restrictions placed on us due to Covid, it was great being able to share routes and places with the kids before even stepping foot in the forest. This really maximized the time we had together, for just running in the woods. Working with a new set of coaches, and training them with Google Earth has allowed them to also feel more confident and comfortable in our large forest when I am not present to help lead the practice.

I was also lucky enough to Coach the cross country season with another Google Trainer- sharing ideas and ways to utilize the different features Google has to offer within sheets as well- to work with our students on collecting heart rates and monitoring their workouts and all the data that can be collected during a single workout.  We both strongly feel all educators should be at a “Level 2” in terms of technology and Google Suites as it opens the door for more creative and collaborative lessons and training sessions.

Google Classroom

Later on after weeks of digital and hybrid learning, we were finally able to get back to our swimming pool! I was thankful that I was able to meet with the swim coaches and demonstrate how Google Classrooms can be a great tool for community building. Setting up a Google Classroom for sports is extremely beneficial for communication and team building. This was especially true when 8 of our weeks of coaching were fully digital… and nothing says fun like coaching swimming ONLINE.

Here, we were able to post our workout videos, instructions, and even things like “Athletes of the Week”.  Along with any informational sheets, parent communications, record boards, meet results, and personal best documents so students can keep record of their goals and times. Google Classroom allows a one-stop place for all things- Swimming!  (Or XC)

Showing my fellow coaches how customizable GC is- from the templates to be able to add your own photos is one of the greatest features when making your sports GC feel like their own-building a site together that your athletes will want to visit.

We have been able to have fun with it, posting not just the specific training data, but battle wound photos to share out and celebrating a student each week for not just athletic performance, but for their character and other sought-after attributes that deserve celebrating as well within your team. Organizing by topics is easy and the GC stream utilized for any last-minute announcements is also extremely helpful.  Adding fellow collaborators to the page also allows people in the administrative position access to all your data and find answers to the questions they typically seek.

It was great getting to share out what we do in XC and Swim so that our community of student-athletes continues to grow stronger and stronger.  Moving beyond just Google- to all the games and other workout ideas that can be incorporated within a practice and shared on a common platform- one that students are already familiar with since they use it daily within their classes. I can’t even imagine Coaching (or teaching) at a school that doesn’t have GC readily available and accessible to its community- students and parents alike.

At this training, I was also able to share how Google sheets allow for efficient data crunching to utilize when comparing times from the start of the season to the end of the season- which is especially helpful when determining awards for things like Most Improved Swimmer (or Runner). As well as for attendance taking and knowing which kids were “in person” and which were “participating from home” when we moved to the hybrid huddles and working with only half of our kids every day while the other half was at home, being careful to track their on-campus presence in case of any “contact tracing” that needed to take place due to Covid. Again the conditional formatting that allows for a great visual, also helps coaches see who on their team is balancing their academics and sports effectively and who may need intervention or at least increased parent communication. Along with the comment feature, to help record minor injuries (soreness) as well as the formulas calculating the end of season attendance percentages which in turn helps determine participation awards and level of commitment to participating throughout the season.

How are you useing Google Suites to spread your passions?

Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash

C5 Choice 2: My first 2 Training Sessions

Professional Development

Back in October, I was thankful for not only attending a Teacher’s Training Teachers (TTT) session to learn all about Google Add-On’s, but I was able to lead my own sessions as well.  What I learned from my colleagues about Peardeck and Nearpod, helped transform my pull-out classroom lessons which greatly impacted student learning and engagement in the new digital age of on-line teaching due to covid. The best part of that PD day was it was relevant and motivating for me… and drew upon my background knowledge of google slides- what I was already using within my classes.

Photo by Alysha Rosly on Unsplash

Google Docs.

For my first TTT lead Session, I trained people using the features of Google Documents specifically for Individualized Learning Plan or Intervention/ Goal Tracking. The collaboration aspect of Google Docs. allows for not only students, but parents and the students’ teachers to be shared on their goal tracking document. This allows the most frequent home/school communication around their child’s goals. And more importantly, the comment feature allows classroom teachers to validate the student’s daily to weekly reflection or tracking on their goals. This ensures that the ownership of the goals remains with the student.  Below you can see how I’ve taken LeeAnn Jung’s goal tracking method and converted it to a Google Doc. I had the privilege of meeting her at a PD session while in Dubai, she was, at the time working on a new software program for her model and suggested the color-coding addition which you now see in our tracker below.  All leading towards creating self-directed learning environments for our students who receive SEN supports! The second tracker shown below was a student who met their goal in a matter of months when using researched-based interventions like those found on Intervention Central or those found in the PRIM.  When utilizing these proven practices, year-long ILP (IEP) goals have a greater chance of being met!

Google Sheets

We also had Friday PD mornings within our SEN dept. this allowed people to regularly share out new and exciting things they were learning about and have 20-30 minutes to teach others in their department about what Proven Practice you were using or other Professional Development you were attending and one main idea to focus on and implement change in your classroom. I used this for my second training session on Google Sheets specifically for tracking Measures of Academic Performance (MAP) data in Reading, Writing, and Language. But again due to Covid, we were unable to do the language test this year, so I primarily focused on Math and Reading.

With the google sheets, conditional formatting, it allows me, as case manager to view which students are performing on grade level and which are above/below grade level expectations to allow me to better plan my lessons and implement the necessary interventions.

Later on, I was able to apply this same training, but for EAL and utilizing it with the WIDA language test we give and tracking the 4 domains of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Utalizing the conditional formatting feature within Google Sheets allows for a better visual of where students on your caseload are performing at. Again, it doesn’t take into consideration all their individual strengths and qualitative data, purely a numbers and test scores representation. Just as the quantitative data is important when creating the full picture of the child, it is also important to refer to the Universal Design for Learning   that helps take a step back to look at the curriculum to meet all the diverse needs of our learners & change the world!

I hoped each of these training sessions would be equally meaningful as they have helped me develop my craft when used to better understand the students we case manage and teach. Along with having the tools and resources to track the data, it helps students self-monitor their goals and progress and most importantly- celebrate their growths and successes as learners.Singapore Fireworks Celebration Fireworks 2008 - Team Korea ( Korean Fantasia )

"Singapore Fireworks Celebration Fireworks 2008 - Team Korea ( Korean Fantasia )" by kazeeee is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Life-Long Learners

Survey Question: I will be able to utilize this tracker or something similar within my current group of students.

and the feedback comments:

Above you can see some of the responses to my reflection survey of the few participants who were in attendance. Leading specialty PD sessions generally I’d only have 2-3 volunteers who come, or at times some want to come but then realize that it doesn’t necessarily apply to them.  I always find it interesting… the new ties educators can make in how to use a tool and transform it or make it their own and applicable to them and what they teach. (Such as when I led a Rocket Math Program Training which then got converted into reading Sight Music for choir- how fun!)

Lifelong Learning | A word cloud featuring "Lifelong Learnin… | Flickr

Photo taken from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/182229932@N07/49014247267