Technology PD for our Subs

Last year around this time I blogged about using Robert Kaplinsky’s Sheep and Dogs in the flock problem as the opener for my session for our district’s substitute teachers on transitions to CCSS math.

District-wide our substitute teachers are invited to a full day of professional development each August.  I absolutely love leading a session as I believe being a sub is among the hardest and least appreciated work within a school district.  I love being able to personally thank them for the work they do as so often they never meet the teachers for whom they work.  Each year I learn of several subs in the group who have subbed for me in the past or who have subbed for my son’s elementary class and it’s always a really fun discovery.

This year I was asked to focus my session on ways teachers are using technology in the classroom and how subs can improve their classroom management when sub plans call for students to be using their Chromebooks.  I co-led the session with my fabulous TSA for Instructional Technology, Mia Gittlen, and we used Pear Deck as the basis for our presentation.  We all had so much fun!


If you aren’t familiar with Pear Deck, it’s an interactive software which allows participants to respond to questions posed during a presentation and their collective thinking is displayed.

Screen Shot 2017-08-26 at 10.01.18 PM.pngAfter some fun warm up questions, we asked them what their level of confidence is with technology.  These responses are from our first group of  teachers. Interestingly, our second group’s level of confidence was far more scared and confused.

screen-shot-2017-08-26-at-10-05-45-pm.pngAmong both groups, when asked how often sub plans expect them to use technology, the vast majority said sometimes and very few said never.  To me, this was the most surprising slide.  As the Instructional Technology Coordinator, it also made me quite happy that our classroom teachers have strong enough systems in place for students’ using Chromebooks that they frequently trust its use when they are out.

I love that students are doing research when they have a sub:


However ultimately, the biggest crowd pleaser was teaching tools one can use for classroom management.  The substitute teachers loved learning about the button that allows them to see all open windows on a students’ Chromebook.  Students occasionally use a keystroke to make their screen appear sideways and use it as an excuse for not being able to do work or to have to share a Chromebook with a friend.  Knowing how to undo this felt really powerful for the subs, especially those who were initially fearful of using technology when subbing.  I loved the feeling in the room as many who were VERY new to technology giggled with one another, trying out their new tools and tricks.

And having a district subscription to Pear Deck which long term subs can use was super exciting for the more techy ones of the bunch.  Pear Deck was obviously completely new to them all and they absolutely loved it and wanted more training on how to use it.  Such a successful session!Screen Shot 2017-08-26 at 10.12.29 PM

Finally, I saw this posted on Twitter this evening...about a Louisiana Senator who substitute teaches during his time off.  It’s worth bearing through the initial advertisement to watch this segment.  Wish more people felt the way he does about the work of teachers…

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