Athena provides a clean, easy platform for teachers to find and share practices: classroom activities, lesson ideas, writing prompts, projects, and more. Connect with colleagues and peers in any number of ways:
Different teachers use Athena in different ways, depending on time, interest, and institutional support. Which pattern works best for you?
I'm flying solo:
On your own and looking to find good material or other teachers in your discipline? Solo flyers can connect with other teachers around topics of shared interest. Teaching Macbeth? Search for Macbeth and explore what other teachers have posted. Offer some feedback, share something you've done and flag your work for feedback, or simply browse and learn.
I'm in a grade level group or multi-section course:
Teachers in grade level groups or in multi-section courses often connect regularly in person and share assignments or activities for a text before they begin teaching it. If teachers meet weekly, they share something they might be doing in a few weeks, review that work online before the next meeting, and discuss what they found. Perhaps every teacher shares one item, such as how they introduce a topic or a favorite assignment, or perhaps each teacher takes turns sharing many items. This allows online or in-person feedback from peers and works well when teachers meet one or more times per week.
I'm in a critical friends, coaching, or professional learning group:
Teachers in critical friends, coaching, or professional learning groups often use Athena to review and offer feedback on lessons as they design them. When it is difficult to arrange in-person meetings regularly, teachers share feedback on each others' plans asynchronously and connect face to face when possible, sometimes weekly, other times less often.
Are you a teacher interested in connecting with other teachers in your subject area?
The most important thing you can do is clear time for activities like those listed above. It takes an average of at least one hour of focused time per week for professional development to have a significant impact on student learning. And this time needs to be focused on instruction. Clear time and support your teachers so they can work together on how they plan, execute, and revise their classes.
Offer professional development grants for summer work.
Offer grants for your teachers to share their curricula--their questions, assignments, activities, etc--online so they can collaborate more easily during the school year. The act itself of posting lesson materials drives reflective practice.
Look ahead to next year.
Canvass your teachers for those who would like to work together to improve practice. Identify teachers of multi-section courses who are interested in collaborating. Arrange regular meeting times for them--or for coaching relationships or professional learning groups--and be sure at least one of the teachers is trained in convening group work.
Are you interested in learning more about this project and how you can get involved? If so, please contact us here, and sign up for upcoming announcements.