In the class my partner and I are creating this project for, all students in the class work together to discuss and brainstorm potential ideas for each other’s capstone projects. In doing so, the conversations we had for the other students in my class were equally as helpful as the discussion we had pertaining to my project. My partner and I went last, so by the time we shared our initial design decisions, we were already in the mindset of thinking about the strategies we plan on using, breakdown of the topic, types of assessments, and evaluation ideas. Before class, my partner and I spent a few hours researching and planning what our workshop would look like. We made a two column graphic organizer outlining the topics, training, and knowledge needed for the learners to be able create and implement lessons using differentiated instruction. Then, on the other side, we discussed the strategies and techniques we would use in order to meet each lesson’s objectives. Therefore, before coming into class, we had a well-thought and laid-out plan.
Initially, my partner and I discussed having a full day of professional development on a Friday because most of the instructors who teach Developmental Mathematics do not teach classes on this day. However, upon further review, we remembered that one of the instructors teaches at a public middle school during the day. As such, planning for a Friday would not be a good day for this training. In class, my partner and I mentioned doing a full Saturday workshop because we felt weeknights would be difficult with everyone’s schedules. We also felt that after a long day of work, the learners may not be in the best mindset to learn and be attentive to the training. When discussing this with our professor, she gave us feedback on being careful on doing all-day trainings on Saturdays because it starts infringing on people’s personal lives. For this training, it is important for all of the learners to attend because each lesson is essential, and they will be working together and sharing experiences/ideas. Upon reflection and discussion, we agreed on a total of four training days at the institution, but each professional development day would be shorter in length with brunch served (food always makes things better!). We feel this setup would be beneficial because the learners would be able to come the familiar environment, receive the necessary training, and then be able to have the remainder of their days with their families. In addition, we thought the learners would put their best attitude and work forward if we ask them to come for a few hours. As a current student who has taken all-day Saturday and Sunday weekend classes, when instruction days are long, it is only natural for there to be a “slump” (many times, I would leave with a migraine). As such, the learners will most likely not put forth their best work, be reflective while learning, or have the appropriate mindset to be completely receptive of the lessons.
When my partner and I were developing the lessons out, we decided we would completely build out the last lesson/training day (lesson 6) because we felt it was what the entire workshop is building up to; it is the lesson where the overall goal is met. As trained educators, my partner and I are cognizant of the importance of theory and practical implementation (which is exactly what the learners will be doing in this lesson). However, when we were discussing the artifacts needed for this project, our professor mentioned that even though this lesson is a great one, it may not be the best one when implementing and creating our artifacts. The more we discussed it, the clearer it became: we should let go of our idea and choose other lessons to develop. Even though we had our intentions set on the last lesson, we decided to develop lesson 3 and lesson 5 because we can create a PowerPoint presentation and use case-based scenarios. So far, I think what is most important about this process is being able to listen to others’ inputs and being flexible. Upon leaving class, my partner and I felt productive and prepared for what is to come!