Tag: podcast

The Educator’s Companion to Professional Development

The Educator’s Companion to Professional Development

Anyone who knows me realizes that I am ridiculously committed to my craft and am always looking at how I can improve teaching and learning. For the last year, I’ve been hemming and hawing about doing a podcast, partly as a challenge since it gets me to step out of my comfort zone and partly for a fun exploration experience so  I can bring this media format into classroom learning. It took me ages to come up with a topic, learn the basic skills, record and launch it. I didn’t want it to be some meaningless content that was clogging up the internet. I wanted it to be useful for fellow educators. As someone who easily spends $200 USD a month on professional development, I began looking for free and inexpensive ways to increase my professional learning. The resources and insights I have gained in my quest to uplevel my practice is the basis of the podcast.

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to the Educator’s Companion to PD podcast! Its whole purpose is to provide ideas for personalizing your professional development so that you can master the concepts and skills that can make the impact that you want to make in your school communities.  The resources are free and my commentary is my own. I have 5 episodes recorded and ready for your ears with much more on the way.

To help facilitate personalized professional development, I made an infographic to help people through the process. I am hoping that this will get people to consider how they might structure and begin a learning journey in pursuit of updating and expanding their skills.  I have nearly completed the ebook that expands upon personalizing your professional development but for now, consider this little cheat sheet a taste of what to come.



Your Cheat Sheet to Personalized Professional Learning. (2)

Also, I have created a guestbook for you to share your favorite professional learning resources. It’s incredibly helpful for fellow educators to learn more about these fantastic opportunities and it lifts up the whole profession when you do so. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and experience!

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Season 1, Episode 0: Why I Created The Educator’s Companion to PD (Show Notes)

Season 1, Episode 0: Why I Created The Educator’s Companion to PD (Show Notes)

I know that a lot of people enjoying reading and skimming through podcast show notes to get a gist of the highlights of the episode. This podcast was originally recorded back in May 2017. To listen to the podcast, please go here.

Charles Dickens’ quote from A Tale of Two Cities speaks to the industrial revolution, in which so many of our school systems were designed around. As we transition from this era, the growing pains are real and messy.
When you think about this quote-Do you think about your challenges in your classroom, at your school, in your professional development? We’ve seemed to be a rollercoaster in education, which sometimes is thrilling and at other times is scary. There are all these complicated issues and feelings that arise when we talk about teaching our digital natives and finding professional development to match these needs can be really challenging.  This is the context that drove me to create this podcast.
One of my favorite and most fascinating people to me is the inventor and architect, Richard Buckminster Fuller, who suggested that humans are not nouns but verbs. When I first heard that idea and pondered the depth of what he was saying, it got me wondering what my verb is.   As someone who has taught for over 17 years in over 6 countries from America, Europe, South America, theMiddle East and in Asia, I’ve seen and experienced a lot in classrooms K-12.  And what I have come to understand is that my verb is to EMPOWER. I’ve experienced the “best of PD” and the “the worst of PD”, and recognizing this, I felt compelled to share the resources that I have compiled over the years in this show. Because knowledge is power, I feel inspired to equip you with an arsenal of means to support and encourage your growth and learning.
So I made this show for educators, who…
  •  want to accelerate their growth through purposeful and personalized PD
  • are instructional and technical coaches that are looking for some new resources to help improve and guide their practice.
  • are curriculum coordinators and subject matter leaders who wish to develop greater depth of understanding of tools and innovation for their schools’ programs.
  • for school leaders who are looking for ways to develop a growth mindset, not just in themselves, but in the schools that they impact.
What are its length and frequency?
  • This is podcast is meant to provide a quick and dirty overview of online professional resources. I know that your time is precious so I don’t want to blabber on. I provide the benefits, the drawbacks, and tips for success in using a professional development (PD) resource.
  • There’s a ton of free PD resources out there if you go looking. I have a list of 20 of them right now and it continues to grow. So I intend to do a bulk posting of episodes for your summer deep dive and come back in the fall to continue posting more great resources on this podcast.
I believe that I am not alone in my the desire to make a difference and be effective in your practice. That you are like me and crave that sort of impact in your school. So, with that in mind, my goal is to expose you to novel ways to develop your practice through free or inexpensive online professional opportunities, books that are worth reading and other material that is timely and personalized for your growth.  In the first series of podcasts, I will show you how to make a personalized learning plan and how to execute it.  I will also share some professional development that is top notch and free.
So, with that in mind, I hope you will join me on this journey, as your world opens up to the possibilities of what can be your classroom of learning for you.
Ancient World, Modern Times

Ancient World, Modern Times

Have you ever taught a unit that you wanted to do over again-either because you bombed at it or because it was so engaging? Well I’m closing the year on a high because this unit went so much better than expected.

Our central idea was: Ancient civilizations have influenced many things in our modern world.

The art teacher and I decided to use the Greek civilization as our model for an influential civilization. The history of us provided the fodder for our discussions and then we began to talk about the Greek philosophers as we began tuning into and engaging into our unit. The students were intrigued by Socrates, mostly because he drank poison. These lively stories cultivated a keen interest in crafting questions that “hurt our brains” to think about, as we explored metacognition.  img_9429-1

As we delved into aspect of the Greek civilization, I decided that I would focus on reading content of our unit on myths and legends, Greek and Latin roots in our English words, while developing their listing and speaking skills. I provided a variety of media sources other than books, and decided to introduce them to podcasts to add a twist to the listening skills. Listen Current  was a great resource and provided listening guides for their podcasts which was very ELL friendly and helped us to tackle challenging vocabulary terms.

I asked them what ancient cultures they were curious about and explained that we would do podcasts, in which they interview each other about their civilizations.They were so excited, which genuinely surprised me. It was hilarious to see them craft questions for these interviews that were meant to “hurt each other’s brains”, going deeper than their typical questions.  We used the app Spreaker Studio to create very simple podcasts.

The podcasts took longer than I expected, as they needed more guidance with writing scripts and all those tricky questions made it a bit of a challenge to find research materials that were at their reading levels. However, it created a need to find multiple sources of information and it was a true RE-SEARCH unit, in which they had to keep reading, watching videos and keep looking for information on the internet.  They would stop and discuss their civilizations naturally and made a lot of great connections. The students researched the Aztecs, Chinese, Egyptians, Incas, Mesopotamians, Mayans, Norse, Romans and Nubians.


My co-teaching partner and I had talked about having the kids put together a “museum of ancient history” as summative task, but the podcast ended up taking up more time than we expected and instead we had them decide to take something that we take for granted in our modern world and trace it back to its ancient roots. Students chose topics that resulted from some things that they learned about from these podcasts–from armor to lipstick, from books to medicine. It was a rich variety of topics. The kids made “fortune tellers” that described the why and how of this invention, and then they shared them, taking turns with each other.





Although I would do things a bit differently if taught again, it is a good feeling to know that our students can appreciate the drive, creativity and curiosity of ancient people. I was generally concerned if this was too heavy of a history unit, but the curiosity and motivation sustained itself.





Have you ever taught a unit that you thought would be awful and turned out great OR vice-ver
sa, you thought it was going to be wonderful and turned flat? I wonder what makes students’ so committed to their research on topics.



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Judy Imamudeen

Judy Imamudeen

Developing learners as leaders is my joy! As a highly qualified International Baccaluearate (IB) teacher and educational leader, I am committed and passionate about executing its framework and empowering students in creating a future world that works for everyone.

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