We challenge teachers to engage students in learning because our students deserve it. Similarly, teachers deserve engaging professional learning. If you are in charge of professional development at any point, you will probably be asking, “How can I make professional development fun?” This post gives some ideas to improve professional learning experiences with fun professional development activities for teachers.
Fun Professional Development Games
Game-based learning can help teachers learn how to better interact with students, implement learning strategies, and create more effective lesson plans. Quick team-building activities for teachers that you can do in person on PD days include:
Remember all the times you played in-class bingo before exam day? Was it a coincidence that our exam scores got better after this clever little warm-up activity? We can say the same thing for professional development BINGO. For example, you can fill a bingo board with several classroom strategies that foster teacher and student relationships. As you call out the strategy title, give a brief explanation of what it is. Make sure to leave time for discussion at the end for teachers to talk about their experiences using the strategies or to ask questions.
Some information you share during PD days is essential despite not being engaging. Make learning school policies fun by turning them into a scavenger hunt. For example, if you task teachers with finding pieces of the next clue at each of the school’s fire exits, it will make learning where they are memorable. You can also use scavenger hunts to help the group get to know new teachers and share teaching strategies.
If COVID taught us one thing, it was that online learning is possible. Professional development leaders looking to improve learning experiences for teachers will discover that technology not only makes remote learning possible but is also a resource for engaging PD.
Digital escape rooms
Are you looking for motivational workshops for teachers? Digital escape rooms can transform a PD workshop into a fun, interactive learning experience. To escape the online room, teachers have to solve problems (or answer questions) and then enter the resulting unlock codes. You can create your escape room in Google Sites. The questions participants must answer to unlock codes can be created in Google Forms. You may want to break up your teaching groups by grade or topic and have a separate room for each group so that you are providing learning that is relevant to each group. Check out a video on how you can create an online escape room in around ten minutes.
Online PD resources
Letting teachers do PD when it’s convenient for them through online resources makes it more enjoyable. Simply have them keep a journal so that they can keep track of the PD they complete online. Journaling can help document PD hours and increase teachers’ self-awareness and help them make intentional changes to improve their classrooms. Avanti is an online professional development platform that offers hundreds of short online videos, each featuring a quick, immediately actionable strategy. Other helpful resources such as implementation guides, a safe, supportive, online community, and journaling capability, help deepen the learning.
Technology Crash Courses
As we continue to make technological advancements, an entire generation of kids experiences a new era of tech. But technology isn’t only for the young generations. It’s also an effective and fun way to inject fun into professional development activities. After experiencing it in PD, teachers may be more apt to use the technology they have learned to increase student engagement in their classrooms.
You can liven your PD with a technology crash course in:
- Creating TikTok videos. Check out some ideas for teaching videos.
- Creating quizzes (with tools like Kahoot)
- Creating learning in the metaverse.
A study by the Gates Foundation found that teachers whose schools have strong collaboration have significantly higher satisfaction with day-to-day work. Dialog is a powerful tool and is collaborative, whereas only listening to someone else speak is not. Does collaboration count as fun? We think so.
Include guided discussions about the challenges and successes of teaching to help teachers build better connections with their colleagues, address concerns, and learn new educational tools and strategies to take back to their classrooms. Some ideas for discussion are:
- Various coaching styles
- Book study discussions
- How to incorporate social-emotional learning
- How to build relationships with students
- Time-saving tips
- Best professional development resources
- How to engage ESL students
Teachers may not always feel like the person leading the PD understands their struggles. Having collaborative discussions can help them feel heard and appreciated.
PD can be fun and it can be available at teachers’ convenience. With Avanti, teachers can get short bursts of PD when they have time for it, and it doesn’t take weeks or months to implement the strategy. Try Avanti for free to see if our online resources are the right fit.