This is so true, Ashley Haskins ! Making sure that connections are made so that teachers aren't asking "why are we doing this?" and having meaningful follow up can truly support PD. The follow up piece is so often left behind because a new topic is picked up, but it often contributes to a "slide" back to old practices. Adults are not children... We're used to teaching in classrooms where teaching can be immediately seen. This is not the case with PD and working with adults! They need multiple opportunities to hear something and try it out before it becomes a part of practice.
Structured follow low up also holds teachers accountable and can provide a way for administration to see who is willing to make that effort and collaborate with the team.
Laura Terrazas and Michael Schurr , I don't know if it was mentioned elsewhere, but I think some of the most effective (and deep) opportunities for PD can be 15-20 minutes because they are so much more digestible. For example, a teacher could present a need (engaging all students in academic discussion), briefly talk about the benefits of a strategy to meet that need as observed in the classroom, then model the strategy with the staff. I did this yesterday at our staff meeting and I think it was highly effective because it was clear, specific, and something that most teachers could apply the next day. I received immediate positive feedback on both the presentation and the strategy shared, which is how I determined that it was successful. One teacher caught me in the parking lot and said she was planning on trying it out the next day!
I hope this idea can help out with your project. :)
Christina Jenkins I think that three week time frame would require a manageable, do-able topic. I think in some instances more or less time might be needed, but the option to be back in the classroom pretty immediately would be great because if the work centered on instructional strategies or something else to impact the classroom directly, s/he could begin to implement changes immediately.
I wonder if as a part of the time away from the classroom, the teacher could coordinate with the "sub" to try out things (such as Google forms). This wouldn't be necessary with all topics of research, but might be helpful for some. The time for reflection and revision when trying something new is so scarce! It would be nice to have that as part of the learning process if applicable.