23 August 2009

You Heard It Here First

In my previous job (the one that ended in June...not the one that ends this month), I was asked to think about what professional development might look like for Washington's new science standards. I believe in high-quality staff development...and working with educators is one of the things I do best. It's no secret that I am not a fan of the new standards; however, that does not mean that teachers shouldn't have the best support possible in trying to implement the beast. I had already seen enough poor PD offered around these standards. I knew that I could do better.

As I continued to think about creating some materials, I realized that there were quite a few challenges inherent in the task. First of all, the materials had to be appropriate K-12: there had to be places for teachers at all grade levels to connect. Secondly, any "stuff" had to be cheap and readily available---no special equipment and very little time/effort in preparation for those delivering the PD. Finally, there had to be a direct connection to the classroom. I know this last part seems obvious; but you and I both know that there is plenty of staff development floating around which does not provide time or opportunity for adult learners to apply what is relevant to their classrooms.

I struggled to come up with the perfect thing. And then...I did. An Inquiry activity involving no more than paperclips and paper...integrated with a Ray Bradbury story that framed the discussion...and tools for engaging with the standards that were flexible for every grade level. I captured my thoughts---and frankly, I think the basic plan is one of the very best I have ever created. I am sad that I will never get to present it.

I only made one mistake in this whole process: I told two people about my idea. And with me out of the picture (job-wise), these two people have decided to wholesale steal my idea and pass it off as their own. They are not ready to publish their version...but they are very close. You can be very sure that my name will not be credited anywhere in their information.

So, my friends, I am sharing my professional development experience with you. Although the references to the standards within are for WA, I'm quite sure every state has something on Inquiry and Forces/Motion. Just sub in your codes for ours.
I admit that these things are still a bit raw. There is always room for improvement. But I still think the basic concept is golden. I don't mind sharing, but I abhor outright stealing. Maybe it is a fine line these days in this digital world, but I would like to think that integrity transcends the medium. You may think this post represents sour grapes about my job, but I see this as a way to document the impending plagiarism. (And trust me, there is no way I want to work for those people again.) Just remember, you heard it here first.

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