My Photo Diary: Another Great NCCAT Experience!

Please bear with me as I indulge myself in some reflection on the awesome experience I had at NCCAT (North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching) a few weeks ago. (I apologize for not publishing this blog post earlier…life happened.)

I was approached by Jonathan Wade (@NCCATWade) back in the fall of 2014 and was asked to deliver professional development (specifically, Middle Grades Math C & I) to some teachers from Caswell County, North Carolina. Without hesitating, I said “Sure!” We got the ball rolling in early December and, before I knew it, it was Super Bowl Sunday and I was on my way to the Cullowhee NCCAT campus for an amazing three days of math PD!

I spent weeks brainstorming for this 3-day workshop with Caswell County’s middle school math teachers. At first, I had no idea what I would need to bring to the table to help these teachers. I put myself into their shoes and asked myself, “What PD do I need as a middle school math teacher?” (Well, the answer to that question happens to be a long, long list.) But it wasn’t until I spoke with the lovely Elizabeth Standafer, one of Caswell County Schools directors, that I was able to put my finger on what these educators really needed:

  • Guidance in evaluating the standards (Critical Thinking)
  • The forum to communicate as grade-level teams and vertical teams
  • Uninterrupted time to create year-long pacing guides and outstanding assessments
  • A facilitator to guide teamwork and collaboration

I couldn’t believe it! The Four C’s! Once I realized that the Four C’s are just as critical to educators as they are to students, the rest of the planning was a piece of cake!

From: Conections Academy

Without further ado, here is my photo diary of my time at NCCAT with the amazing middle school math teachers of Caswell County Schools:

Woke up to a dark, cold and gloomy NC morning. (Pretty typical for a February morning.) Fortunately, we stayed warm inside NCCAT's headquarters!
Woke up to a dark, cold and gloomy NC morning. (Pretty typical for a February morning.) Fortunately, we stayed warm inside NCCAT’s headquarters!
We started off sharing our current Glows and Grows as educators.
We started off sharing our current Glows and Grows as educators.
We practiced team-building and collaboration with a Spaghetti-Marshmallow Tower Challenge!
We practiced team-building and collaboration with a Spaghetti-Marshmallow Tower Challenge!
Getting started with the tower creation...
Getting started with the tower creation…
Getting there!
Getting there!
All hands on deck!
All hands on deck!
After I spoke briefly about the Common Core, teachers got their hands dirty in evaluating ALL of the grade-level standards, and grouping them into cohesive units of study!
After I spoke briefly about the Common Core, teachers got their hands dirty in evaluating ALL of the grade-level standards, and grouping them into cohesive units of study!
After the teachers grouped their standards into  units, they began developing their year-long pacing guides.
After the teachers grouped their standards into units, they began developing their year-long pacing guides.
If you could change anything about education, what would you change?
Reflection Time: If you could change anything about education, what would you change?
More planning and assessment creation!
More planning and learning about assessment creation!
The best part about PD at NCCAT? Uninterrupted to COLLABORATE as a TEAM. This is extremely important to today's teachers!!
The best part about PD at NCCAT? Uninterrupted time to COLLABORATE as a TEAM. This is extremely important to today’s teachers!!
Teachers worked in vertical teams (Grades 6-12) to evaluate math standards beginning at the Kindergarten level! This was a special activity  for the teachers to engage themselves in.
Teachers worked in vertical teams (Grades 6-12) to evaluate math standards beginning at the Kindergarten level! This was a special activity for the teachers to participate in and discuss. 
Which standards are taught in Kindergarten? How do those standards serve as a foundation for what is taught in 1st grade and beyond?
Which standards are taught in Kindergarten? How do those standards serve as a foundation for what is taught in 1st grade and beyond?
One last opportunity to reflect and communicate: What was your BIGGEST take-away from NCCAT?
One last opportunity to reflect and communicate: What was your BIGGEST take-away from NCCAT?
BIGGEST TAKE-AWAY!
Most common take-away? The NEED for uninterrupted time to collaborate and plan!
They are fabulous...simply fabulous. Thanks for 3 great days of learning and growing as educators, Caswell County Middle School Math Teachers! You ROCK!
They are fabulous…simply fabulous. Thanks for 3 great days of learning and growing as educators, Caswell County Middle School Math Teachers! You ROCK!

Want some of the resources I shared with these teachers? CLICK HERE or go to the Math Resources tab up above.

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