Author Archives: Deb Porcarelli

Professional Learning with an Online PLC

Teachers must spend time collaborating, sharing experiences, and reflecting about what they are learning to assure deep, rich professional growth. Those who participate in long-term professional learning projects participate in and establish ways to collaborate, share, and reflect when meeting face to face. Equally important, are effective ways to do the same when some of their project time is spent isolated from colleagues, working in their own classrooms.

At AIMS we have been learning how to best keep participants in our long-term projects connected in between face-to-face meetings. Currently we are facilitating a year-long support project with rural educators in the state of Florida.  The goals of the project are for teachers to deepen their content knowledge in mathematics, help them increase/improve student learning, and to expand their teaching practices. These Florida educators attend four six-hour face-to-face workshops and engage with AIMS’ content-rich, conceptually-based, grade-span specific mathematics tasks. They also extend their learning by being part of an online Professional Learning Community (PLC) during the project. While online, participants read, think, collaborate, and write reflections about the AIMS tasks they have done with their students.  They are also encouraged to reflect on professional journal articles.

The online piece of this year-long professional learning model is the component that weaves everything together. Participants are able to read and communicate between face-to-face sessions and learn from one another, as well as have a space to post their own reflective comments and to receive feedback. Kathleen and Alan Landon helped us pioneer this online venture last year.  They are our online facilitators who keep the online PLC connected and monitored. They read all of the posts from the Florida participants, offering questions or comments that help participants grow through the process. Without ever seeing their faces, participants are receiving incredible value from Kathleen and Alan’s expertise.

At AIMS we are working to make long-term professional learning projects the best they can be. Including an online PLC in this project has been beneficial and worth our efforts. We will continue to use it as an essential component of every long-term professional learning opportunity we offer. Technology allows for great advancements and teacher support during implementation of new practices is now possible, no matter where in the world we are working with educators.

What experiences have you had with an online forum to make professional growth even more effective?

Finding My Home

I am inspired to search out new ways to improve the Professional Learning Division at The AIMS Center. I continually think about teachers in North America and how dedicated, unselfish, and committed they are to the students they teach. At AIMS, we want to provide opportunities to assist classroom teachers to be their very best.… Continue Reading

Finding Your Niche

We all seem to find our niche in education. We gravitate towards our passions and strengths. I am fortunate to have Debra Mueller as a colleague.  She is an AIMS Facilitator who has found her niche by really knowing about the needs of, and how to help, English Language Learners (ELL) be successful in the… Continue Reading

Who is your NGSS Expert?

I remember the first time I met AIMS Facilitator Sandee Vossler. It was 1995 and we were in Fresno, CA to attend Professional Learning opportunities offered at the AIMS Educational Foundation. Sandee and I immediately gravitated toward each other because we shared similar professional experiences, we both taught intermediate grades in small rural Montana schools.… Continue Reading

Conference Presentation Reflections

We are really proud of our cadre of AIMS Facilitators. An AIMS facilitator has at least 5-10 years of classroom teaching experience, a master’s degree, and many are serving as math or science curriculum specialists/coaches at their school. As I continue to highlight in these blog posts, we have AIMS facilitators throughout the United States.… Continue Reading

Mathematical Discourse Check-Up

When I was in school, I was never asked what I knew, what I thought about, or how I processed mathematical information. I’m happy that this is different today and that valuing mathematical communication in today’s classrooms is recognized as important. Better known as mathematical discourse, whole-class discussions where students talk about mathematics can reveal… Continue Reading

Carving Canyons

I hope that you have had the chance to personally experience an AIMS professional learning opportunity. We AIMS facilitators have multiple goals as we lead workshops. We provide classroom teachers an opportunity to increase and/or strengthen their own content knowledge, explore their teaching practices, and we strive to help teachers find ways to improve their… Continue Reading

Collaboration Makes Unique Professional Learning Opportunities

The AIMS Center for Math and Science Education is happy to be in a cooperating partnership with H.O.P.E. for K-8 Education (Hosting Ongoing Professional Experiences), an educational non-profit organization in Garden City, Michigan. H.O.P.E. for K-8 Education is also in collaboration with Schoolcraft College, a comprehensive community-based college located in Livonia, Michigan, with a satellite… Continue Reading