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Professional Development Day at Port Chester Middle School!

Recently, InspireMyKids was privileged to be invited to Port Chester (NY) Middle School, by Principal extraordinaire, Pat Swift, to participate as part of their Professional Development day. The goal of the 3 sessions, which reached over 50 teachers, was to get them familiar with the site and then explore ways that IMK could be used to support their classroom activities and character education goals.

Teachers were provided with a tour of the site, split up into small groups and then provided with worksheets to brainstorm ways to leverage IMK. In addition, a survey was used to capture additional feedback.

Based on the group session and survey, the areas that the teachers envision using IMK on a regular basis include:

  • Character Education Support
  • ELA Requirements
  • “Do Nows”
  • Filler time: Detention, Free time, Extra Credit, After School Activity, End of Class

In addition, several groups discussed the idea of a regular (monthly) school-wide program leveraging IMK that would unite the entire school around a character trait and IMK story. A related idea is to encourage each and every discipline/class to creatively apply the story to specific learning objectives for that month.

As part of the day, a friendly competition was created to inspire the best thinking from the small group sessions. While each group provided outstanding feedback and it was hard to choose a “winner”, team #6, consisting of Laurie Halstead, Frank Carlson, Chris Halstead, Julie Colangelo, Rebecca Mynio, and Jeannette Sanderson (all featured in the photo above) were the “winners”. Ironically, this group boasted prior to the competition that they would win…a fact that probably made it even harder for them to win!

But, alas, the group came up with some fantastic ways to not only leverage the site in their respective classes, but to make it part of fabric of an integrated program, delivered monthly, throughout the school and each respective classroom. Principal Swift is now in the process of digesting all of the great feedback and determining how to move forward. More to come on this.

IMK would like to thank the teachers and congratulate them on their great efforts and thinking.  We also would like to thank Assistant Superintentent, Frank Fanelli and District Director Joe Durney for their unwavering support  and guidance the last couple of years. Lastly, Principal Pat Swift for giving us this wonderful opportunity, teacher Chris Zidik for all her help and support with this initiative, and teacher Johnna Sarcone for instigating our adoption by the school in the first place.

Additional Resources:

  • Here is an IMK post about Johnna Sarcone, another Port Chester middle school teacher who uses IMK in the classroom!
  • Here is an IMK post that has ideas about how you can incorporate IMK into your classroom!

Topics for Discussion:

  • How might you use IMK in the classroom to inspire your students?

Take Action:

  • Try incorporating the IMK website into one of your lesson plans and let us know how it works for you!

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.


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