The best PD is embedded in the classroom, not on a stage.  The excitement of professional teachers engaging with each other is profound when it occurs in the real world.  People need to see models to feel comfortable with new practices.  To this end, it was so great to hear fellow teachers say they loved visiting our classroom and having the time to study inquiry-based methods IN THE REAL WORLD!
Pete and I attended the ASCD fall conference along with our principal Judith Gatt. The opportunities for learning were tremendous and we came back to school inspired and rejuvenated. Some of the speakers we heard from were Carol Ann Tomlinson, Robert Marzano, Grant Wiggins just to name a few. Two sessions I enjoyed the most were by Elizabeth Ross Hubbell and Alfred Solis. Elizabeth talked about using technology with classroom instruction that works. The potential to change our classrooms into dynamic and differentiated learning environment depends on our understanding of how iPads can be used to enhance the use of research based instructional strategies. Some of the apps she shared were: Infinote- for K-W-L chart, Idea Sketch - to create graphic organizers, eClicker, Mind meister, puppet pals...Amazing info all in two hours. Next Alfred Solis talked about Project-Based Learning. He is from the Buck Institute for Education. You can check out their website - for FREE material and resource for teachers.