The constant struggle faced by many school districts regarding professional development generally leads to a discussion of how to bring teachers the professional development they need, tailored specifically for each of them. It's quite the tug-o-war. All District PD days generally lead to frustration by staff because their individual needs are not met, they are not given time for processing and reflecting on what was presented, and there's certainly no time for applying what was learned if by the smallest chance it did actually fill a need for some teachers.
While I'm a big proponent for thinking OUTSIDE the box, I nearly always use the results of that thinking to innovate WITHIN the box where I currently reside (a few times to get out of the box), whether that be personally or professionally. My brain does not work like other peoples, a fact of which I'm well aware (and my mother did not have me tested), but there are some things everyone can do to think a bit out of the box and then apply it TO and WITHIN your own box (and learn about prepositions as a side bonus).
Oprah Winfrey talked about the ultimate bite on her show a long time ago, and a friend of mine recently introduced the quote to me at a conference while we were eating lunch. According to Oprah, the ultimate bite can be achieved when you make sure to include a bit of everything from your plate that goes together in one bite. One ultimate bite.
I've been teaching for over 20 years, so there are a lot of things I used to do that I no longer do for various reasons. Most of these are systems or procedures that I put in place to help me cope during the first few years of teaching. My father was an outstanding educator, and when I started teaching, he was an elementary principal, though the majority of his teaching had been at the high school level. This did mean that I had the very best resource a beginning teacher could possibly have at my fingertips.
As I prepare to introduce Frodo, Bilbo, Sam, (and the rest of the Hobbits) Gandalf, Legolas, and Aragorn to new students this year, a thought occurred to me. The Fellowship of the Ring is similar in structure to our schools. Here's how: