At #4OCF, we have long been proponents of using professional learning and meeting time to do relevant, meaningful, and productive work.
Try hosting a Jam Session during your next meeting time. A Jam Session simply provides a structure and time for generating ideas, improving something, or problem solving.
Follow these five steps to host a successful Jam Session with your staff or colleagues.
One. Choose 5 topics or areas for improving something, problem solving or generating ideas. Solicit topics from staff members prior to the meeting, or if you are feeling adventurous, pick areas of focus on the spot.
(Try some of these topics: Improving collaboration in the math classroom, Using technology in a meaningful way, Making writing tasks more authentic, Reaching disengaged or reluctant learners, Creating purposeful learning spaces, or Reinventing schedules that work better for students. You get the idea. No problem is too big!)
Two. Allow participants to choose which group they want to be a part of. This can be decided ahead of a meeting to save time during the actual meeting or a decision can be made at the last minute.
Three. Allow 25 minutes of discussion, debate, and idea sharing. List and record all thinking, ideas, and possible solutions. Remember that no idea is a bad idea, and remember not to make judgments. What might work for one person may not work for another.
Four. Allow 15 minutes for reflection and sharing of solution outcomes. This is where participants should be able to walk away with viable solutions or ideas to try out in the classroom. If the group topic is: Creating Purposeful Learning Spaces, each member of the group should walk away with ideas they will try in their classroom to create a more purposeful classroom setup.
Five. Distribute group outcomes to all participants. Send a quick email listing each group’s ideas and solutions so that even if a person did not work with the technology group, he or she still has options to try in the classroom. In addition, provide time at a subsequent meeting to follow-up, and reflect upon successes in the classroom. You may need to reconvene to try other strategies or you may find that your Jam Session provided some great solutions to some problems!
Try hosting a Jam Session during your next faculty meeting or PLC meeting. Let us know how it goes. Share in the comments section below.