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4 Reasons to Consider Potty PD This School Year

December 22, 2021

In today’s blog post I’ll unpack the term Potty PD if it’s new to you, or revisit it if it’s one you use all the time. You’ll also hear some strategies for making your own Potty PD and where you can find some ready-to-use posters. As you explore these ideas, consider: is this something you’d like to start (or continue doing) this school year?

A quick note — if you are a member of my Easy EdTech Club, don’t forget to grab the PD posters I make each month. You can find them in the “Intro and Special Extras” area of the membership site. If you are not a member and want to be one, make sure to join the waitlist. When you add your name to the list, you will be the first to know when I open up the doors welcoming new members.

Let’s dive into Potty PD and how to get started!

What is Potty PD?

If you haven’t heard of this term before you might have seen it in action. Potty PD refers to the posters you might see in a bathroom with information on a topic you can learn about. Sometimes these are placed above the sink in a bathroom so you can read while washing your hands. Sometimes they are posted above a hand dryer so you can read while your hands are drying. Although the idea of placing posters in bathroom stalls might feel a little invasive, the idea here is a bit broader. It’s really about sharing ideas in places people already spend time. 

The term has become pretty ubiquitous in educational settings. When I shared this on the podcast in July, Kathi Kersznowski left a comment with a resource on this page. This is sometimes called “Learning in the Loo.” In our context, this type of poster, or Potty PD is really about sharing information about a topic so someone can read a quick tip and decide if they want to learn more. If you’ve ever been in a restaurant and they post a calendar of upcoming events in the bathroom, or on a college campus where they place posters with reminders for registration deadlines, it has a similar feel. 

When we talk about the term Potty PD today, the emphasis is on the PD. This poster should relate to professional learning in some way.

What should you include on a Potty PD poster?

There are three main items I like to include on my posters. And there are lots of extra items you can include. The goal is to share a piece of information, professional learning, that might be totally new, a reminder, or an extension of an initiative.

Here are the three features I think are worth including: 

  • Concise overview: Just like a PPT slide or Google Slides, you want to get to the point without being overwhelming with too much text on the page. A concise overview could include a two to three sentence summary. You might set it up with a question like, “Did you know…?” And answer it with a short paragraph.
  • Actionable tip: After your short summary or overview, make sure readers know what to do next. You might set it up with a prompt like, “One thing you can try this week…” And create a one-sentence action item.
  • More information: Include details on where they can go to learn more. This could include who to contact for support or a place to go on the school website for tech tips. You could even include an optional lunch and learn where they talk with colleagues about their ideas.

How can you make your own?

There are lots of tools that help you make engaging graphics and printable posters. Regular readers of the blog know that I love Adobe Spark and have done some work with their team. You can use Spark Post to make posters and they have lots of templates for you to try out. Another option is Canva, which also has designs you can use. For both of these, you can customize the colors to match your school colors or add images like a logo.

The Potty PD posters I make for Easy EdTech Club members each month are made with Google Slides. I chose this tool because you can edit it quickly, change the fonts and colors to match your school branding, and share it in a digital format. There is also the option to download it as a PDF for easy printing.

One big reminder: Don’t overthink your design. Choose a template you can revisit each month. This way when people see it, they automatically know that it is full of useful information. This will save you time and help people know right away what the poster is going to be about even if they are too far away to read it at that moment.

Learn strategies for making your own Potty PD, where you can find some ready-to-use posters, and why this might be something you’d like to start (or continue doing) this school year.

So should you start?

If you’re considering using these types of posters, here are four reasons you might want to start.

Introduce something new

This is a low-stakes way to introduce an idea when you might not have time to allocate into a deeper dive. This can be a great way to see who is interested in something new. And it can help you decide if you want to revisit a topic for more formal or even informal professional learning.

Spark discussion

Whether it piqued their interest or they tried it out themselves, a poster can help your colleagues gather a bit of information on a new topic. You might share or point out a poster quickly to kick off a meeting or provide time for anyone to ask questions.

Highlight a success story

If you share a new poster each month, you can highlight any stories where someone tried out a tip or idea. This can help others find a person to go to who might have a tip or suggestion. It can also act as a reminder that these posters are designed to share some new ideas.

Digital option

Instead of just paper, you can attach these posters to an email. Or you can copy and paste the text into the body of an email. You might also decide to take something you typically share in a digital format and create a quick poster to act as a complimentary visual.

If you’ve heard the term Potty PD in the past, or are learning about the concept for the first time today, I’d love to hear what you think! Share on social media by tagging me at @ClassTechTips on Instagram or Twitter. Or if this blog post came through your email in one of my weekly newsletters, you can always hit reply and email me there, too.

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Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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