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!

June 11, 2019:

Educators Gather
for First MAC Conference 

Over 80 educators from around the DMV and along the East Coast participated in the first-ever Making Across the Curriculum (MAC) conference on Saturday, May 18, at Washington International School.

Two questions served as throughlines for the day:

  1. How can the practices of maker-centered learning be applied across content areas and grade levels? 

  2. How might we disrupt traditional transmission models of education in order to support the diverse needs of our students?

At a pre-conference afternoon the day before, over 30 participants immersed themselves in maker experiences.

Headlining the event were Project Zero researchers Edward Clapp and Sarah Sheya, each of whom gave a keynote address on Saturday and led workshops on Friday. Clapp and Sheya have been leading the Making Across the Curriculum project at Washington International School and in five District public schools since early 2018.

Teachers who have been involved in MAC led interactive workshops at the conference, engaging participants in hands-on making as well as demonstrations of ways they have adapted project ideas into a variety of classroom settings.

Supported by a 1:1 matching grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation, MAC aims to infuse maker-centered practices into classrooms, with an eye toward building agency in students to act on their world in positive ways. Part of the larger Agency by Design initiative at Project Zero, MAC puts specific emphasis on approaches that differentiate and elevate engagement for all students; explore equity and social justice issues; and strengthen empathy and perspective-taking dispositions.

Participant feedback was overwhelmingly positive. One teacher wrote about a take-away from the conference: “Making is much more expansive and inclusive than I first realized.”

Another participant shared that the experience demonstrated “the wide range of disciplines these ideas can be applied to…. We don’t need so much stuff or costly equipment to apply this to our teaching.”

The PD Collaborative is already making plans for the second annual MAC conference, to be held in mid-May 2020.


The Year Behind Us, and the Year Ahead

As we often do in our final DC-PZ newsletter for the academic year, we’ll take a moment to look back on everything we’ve done since September and then look forward to everything we have planned (or partially planned at this point!) for the next school year. 


This past school year, we gathered on six occasions at locations across the city for DC-PZ events!

  • In October, we kept the energy of our summer institute going at “Beyond WISSIT,” hosted by Sacred Heart School.
  • In November, we had the privilege of hearing from local artists and viewing their (and many others’) work in the exhibition Gateways/Portales at the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School.
  • In January, we used Thinking Routines to help us process the story of EVICTION at the National Building Museum, and to think of ways we could incorporate its important lessons into our varied contexts.
  • In February, we took a deep dive into making connections with the artworks at the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum.
  • In March, we explored Global Competence through Asian art at the Freer|Sackler Galleries.
  • And, finally, in April, we celebrated everything we had tried out, experimented with, succeeded in, and failed at, at our Annual Exhibition of Teacher and Student Learning, hosted by Sidwell Friends School.

This past academic year also marked several “firsts” for the Professional Development Collaborative. We hosted three short conferences for teachers who wanted to focus on early childhood education, Chinese language acquisition, or maker-centered learning. Last October, we held the Children Are Citizens (CAC) conference at the WIS Primary School campus (read below for information on this coming year’s CAC conference!). In April, we partnered with Asia Society to host a one-day workshop with Dr. Wei-ling Wu, entitled “Go Real! Creating Authentic Learning Experiences for Pre-K to Grade 12 Chinese Language Learners.” Just a few weeks ago, we held the inaugural Making Across the Curriculum conference, which is featured in the article above.


In the coming year, we will organize more DC-PZ events that will help us expand our horizons and reveal perspectives we weren’t seeing before. We have many ideas brewing for all the places in DC we can explore and the topics we can wrestle with next year. Stay tuned as those ideas become reality!

On Sunday-Monday, October 6-7, we will hold our second annual Children Are Citizens conference! It will again be held at the WIS Primary School campus, where PZ researchers Ben Mardell and Mara Krechevsky will serve as our keynote speakers, while a crew of local teachers will guide us through their and their students’ journeys with the project via interactive courses and presentations. Registration is open here through September 27!


DC-PZ Out in the World: Blog Posts

Over the course of this past year, Jim Reese (Director, Professional Development Collaborative) and Ashley Naranjo (Manager of Educator Engagement, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access) were part of a team leading a cohort of Pittsburgh-area teachers in building engaging lessons with digitized museum resources and PZ-based pedagogical tools. Their work was featured in a blog post they co-wrote for “Remake Learning,” a Pittsburgh-based network of educators whose “purpose is to spark and share best practices and new ideas.” You can read that blog post here.

Project Zero and WISSIT were also featured in a blog post written by Elisabeth Orengo of the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative on May 20. You can read her article here.


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To see all of our upcoming events, click here!