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?

Author: Shalene

This is my 3rd year in Russia- teaching SEN at the Anglo-American School of Moscow. Loving life... and always learning.

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