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How to Run a Cohort-Based Course on PopPD

Summertime… and the PD’s easy! {Corny, I know.}

Summer is the perfect time to sit back by the pool, sip your favorite drink, and learn about a topic you’re passionate about.

It’s not for every teacher… some will be kicking back with a fiction book, and that’s totally cool.

But for those who want to use the summer to get ahead on the next school year’s learning goals, summer PD can be a lot of fun.

The best summer PD I ever participated in was over one week in the summer. I loved it because it didn’t drag on. I was able to put my all in during that week, and by the end of the week I had almost my entire first few months of reading lessons planned.

It was just enough accountability without being over-the-top. (They also had a catered lunch, which was probably the number one reason I signed up… along with getting a little break from my kids!)

But even better than the catered lunch was the friendships we created. This PD was hosted in a neighboring school district, which meant there was time to meet with other teachers who shared my same passion for reading workshop.

I even connected with another fifth-grade teacher who wanted to connect with my class as pen pals the following school year. You never know what can come out of these connections!

You can recreate this same feeling of connection and community centered around common goals by creating a cohort-based learning experience online.

Here’s your step-by-step guide to running your first cohort PD this summer!


Step One: Set the Dates

The key here is making your cohort long enough that you can get some real work done, without scheduling it for so long that it seems daunting. Your cohort could run anywhere from 2 days to 4 weeks. Think bootcamp-style!


Step Two: Gather Interest

Where are the ideal teachers for this cohort PD hanging out online? Create a simple social media post to test the waters. Are there others interested in taking on this project over the summer? 

You can put their e-mail address on a waiting list OR ask them come directly to your PopPD listing and sign up! You might even consider having early-bird pricing for anyone who signs up by a certain date. (Maybe a week or two ahead of the actual class.)

Pro Tip: Set a certain number of available spots for your first cohort. This adds urgency for your buyers and gives you control over how many people you’re serving.

You’re probably wondering why we gathered interest before planning your actual training. This is because it’s important to make sure to validate your idea before you spend a ton of time creating content.


Step Three: Start Planning!

Your cohort can cover a new topic you haven’t already covered in a PopPD Class, or it could be a cohort that’s centered around an existing PopPD Class.

With a cohort, you’ll want to add a few elements to make it feel more *live*:

  1. Add a pacing guide with assigned videos and implementation tasks.
  2. Add a few live calls (we suggest using Zoom or Google Meet to host), and create a Google Calendar to share with participants so they know exactly where and when each live call is taking place.
  3. Create a pop-up community space for your cohort, along with planned posts and activities that will take place during the cohort.

*In the future, we hope to be able to host all of these features directly on our site! 


Step Four: Publish

We suggest having an introduction lesson in your PopPD Cohort Course to give participants your pacing guide, share your event calendar for the cohort, and link to the pop-up community space.

You could also include any related video content they may need for the Cohort.

Alternatively, you could teach the cohort completely live and load recordings into your PopPD Cohort Course when they’re done.

Are you planning to test the waters with a cohort-based course this summer? We want to hear all about it!