Latest News from the Collaborative

By: Abby Krolik

Read from our latest newsletter about everything PDC has  been up to!

 About twice a month, the Professional Development Collaborative sends out a newsletter to its 2000+ subscribers to let them know about the projects we are working on; the relevant meetings or conferences at which we are presenting or that we are attending; and, of course, descriptions and reminders for all of the wonderful DC-PZ events that are coming up soon. This includes information about WISSIT–our annual summer  institute for educators. In addition to being emailed to all of our subscribers, each newsletter will also be posted here, on our website. If you would like access to previous newsletters, you can click on the link to our Mailchimp archive. While you’re there, you can also sign up for our mailing list!

May 3, 2019:

DC-PZ & Museums:
Reflecting on a Special Relationship

Anyone who has actively participated in DC-PZ knows that our network has a deep relationship with many museums around the region. We are so fortunate, here in the nation’s capital, to have an abundance of world-class museum sites–and we include in this general term museum various informal learning spaces such as the U.S. Botanic Garden, the U.S. Capitol Visitors’ Center, the Library of Congress, the U.S. National Arboretum, the Smithsonian Gardens, etc.

From WISSIT’s Day at the Museums, when we spend an entire day learning in museums on or near the National Mall, to DC-PZ events during the academic year, the Professional Development Collaborative at Washington International School is working to connect classrooms across the DMV with museum educators and museum collections.

It’s no secret that a growing number of museum educators in the DC area have been using Project Zero ideas in their practice for years. In particular, Thinking Routines have proven to be powerful pedagogical tools for exploring artworks and objects on display.

Beyond the aforementioned offerings through DC-PZ and WISSIT, the PD Collaborative also has partnered with museums and researchers to offer high-quality professional development opportunities to teachers, specifically focusing on leveraging museum experiences to deepen understanding in a wide range of subject areas. Two projects in particular have zeroed-in on using museum collections as touchstones for building global competence skills in students:

    • “Engaging the Arts and Museums with the World in Mind,” conceived by Project Zero Senior Researcher Veronica Boix-Mansilla and funded by a grant from the Longview Foundation, brought together eight classroom teachers and museum educators from the National Gallery of Art, the National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler Galleries of Asian Art to explore the way Global Thinking Routines paired with provocative artworks could push students to investigate the world, consider multiple perspectives, communicate their ideas effectively, and find ways to take action–all components of the Global Competence Framework developed by Veronica and Tony Jackson for the Asia Society. The project extended over the course of the 2016-17 school year and resulted in the teachers and museum educators collaborating on a number of powerful lessons that have been published on the PD Collaborative’s website.
    • This year, the Longview Foundation has funded an extension of that project, which has been re-christened “Museums Go Global: Creating Exemplary Global Competence Lessons for the Smithsonian Learning Lab.” A valuable tool for teachers at any level, the Learning Lab is an open educational resource that contains millions of the Smithsonian Institution’s digitized resources. Teachers can easily search the database and create their own collections, or see what other educators have created. Project Zero Thinking Routines, including Global Thinking Routines, have been incorporated into the site as a way for teachers to make visible the pedagogical approach they take with students as they explore their collections. This new initiative, led by Jim Reese and Abby Krolik of the PD Collaborative, and Tess Porter of the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, brings together ten primary and secondary teachers who teach a variety of subject areas and who come from diverse schools across the DMV. The teachers have engaged with Global Thinking Routines when exploring exhibitions in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and the National Museum of the American Indian. They currently are building global competence lessons in the Learning Lab. Museums Go Global will extend through 2019. Look for an announcement in a future newsletter about the publication of the lessons that will be generated by the teachers participating in the project!

And if you still need a reason to attend this year’s WISSIT, let us give you four excellent ones: (1) At the Day at the Museums, Veronica will be the keynote speaker in the morning plenary session, sharing findings from a project she is co-leading with educators from around the country and the world called “Re-Imagining Migration”; (2) There will be two interactive courses focused on the Learning Lab; (3) Over 20 courses on the Day at the Museums will show off the incredible wealth of resources educators have at their disposal in DC; and (4) You can meet many of the teachers and museum educators who have been involved in these two important projects.

We hope to see you there this summer!


Sixth Annual DC-PZ Exhibition
of Teacher & Student Learning

For the sixth year in a row, an enthusiastic group of educators gathered at Sidwell Friends School for the annual DC-PZ Exhibition of Teacher and Student Learning. This year’s event was held last Thursday evening, April 25, to celebrate another year of meaningful learning. The Exhibition is a unique opportunity for teachers not only to demonstrate the ways in which they are continually stretching and expanding their skills as educators, but also to receive constructive feedback from their peers that will help them even further along on their journey.

This year, we saw several exhibits from teachers who tackled complex issues with their students in creative ways, such as looking at housing inequality in math class, or mind-mapping the roots of the Holocaust, or inspiring other members of the school community to care about litter on their campus through found art. We also saw projects in progress, whose presenters were seeking suggestions for ways to bring their ideas to an even higher level.

We’d like to give a big thank-you to our hosts at Sidwell Friends, Anne Charny and Denise Coffin, who made the event possible, and Rachel Kane, Sidwell Middle School Principal, who gave introductory remarks. We also are indebted to the exhibitors who painstakingly documented the learning going on in their setting.



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