GOA Teachers Engage in Meaningful Professional Development

On February 16, the Upper and Lower School faculty at GOA participated in a Professional Development Day. At the Lower School, the morning session explored the process of Design Thinking (DT), specifically focusing on how to use it to promote critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and growth mindset in the classroom. This session was led by Tikvah Weiner, who, among a long list of accomplishments, is the Co-Founder and Director of the I.D.E.A. Schools Network. In this session, teachers examined the way DT meshes with the pedagogical approaches used in school while encouraging innovative thinking. Finally, faculty tried their hands at DT in order to better understand the process and to have some fun with it! 
During the afternoon, a variety of sessions were held for Lower School faculty. Helene Korn, OT, taught a session on sensory processing for the Early Childhood faculty. Strategic meetings took place for General and Judaic Studies teachers to look at skills and content taught across multiple grade levels. To conclude the day, a special community building art activity was run by Lower School art teacher Nancy Breslin. Morah Nancy taught faculty how to create graffiti art. Each faculty member then created graffiti art using a word from GOA’s values and mission statement. These will be displayed in the building. Spending time with faculty provided opportunities to learn together and to continue to build relationships as a strong community.

At the Upper School campus, there were two main areas of focus for the day: the importance of self-care and the opportunity for teachers to zoom out to get a bird’s eye view of student learning and skills development. Faculty participated in various mindfulness activities, including a neurographic art activity led by Sue Shapiro from the Arts Department. Following this refresh, Dr. Apter guided teachers in a session regarding setting educational objectives for students this spring. The day ended with faculty coming together as a community to participate in a fun, closing activity. Our faculty looks forward to continuing collaborating over the next several months on the work they began together on Thursday.