I love whimsy and one of the ways I bring a bit of whimsical fun to instructional coaching is by creating and happily sharing PD party favors. Wait. What?! Yes, PD party favors. Let me explain.

First, let’s define what party favors are. Think back to your childhood or the parties you currently throw for your own children. They usually involve sending small gifts and tokens of appreciation home with party-goers to thank guests for attending and provide a lasting reminder of the fun that was had. Think bags of candy, small crafts and my favorite, a gift card for a scoop of ice-cream at the local ice cream shop.

PD party favors are exactly the same thing, but with a twist. Rather than commemorate a party, they commemorate learning. They are small tokens, usually quick and incredibly helpful, given to teachers at the end of a professional development session to document, curate and extend teacher learning. And not only that, they bring lightness and fun to learning and even invite future coaching partnerships, too.

Here are my favorite PD party favors: QR Codes, Bookmarks and Coaching Coupons. Let’s dive into each kind:

QR Codes

This is one of my favorite, and easiest ways, to create a PD party favor for teachers. Based on the content of the session, simply choose a resource to share with teachers that will extend their learning or facilitate transfer to the classroom and link it to a QR code. Here are three examples:
  • Share the Wonderopolis website after a PD session on student inquiry.
  • Share the #WeNeedDiverseTexts hashtag after a session on auditing our classroom libraries.
  • Share a link to your Google folder of resources curated especially for your session.

I like to paste a QR code into a simple, colorful square that I print and pass out at the end of the session like the one below:

Teachers can take it with them and post it on the desk, tack it to a bulletin board or even tape it into their plan book as a tangible reminder of the resources available at their fingertips.


Bookmarks give you the perfect space to capture important information and teaching tips from your professional development session. List important take-aways, add a QR code linked to important resources or even add an image for a bit of design. Here’s a simple bookmark I created to help teachers plan their next word work session as part of their small group instruction:

Now, teachers have a tangible reminder of the important points of the session AND can easily find a resource to support them when they need it. A win-win!

Coaching Coupons:

Coaching coupons are handmade coupons that coaches gift to teachers at the end of a PD session to extend the learning and pave the way for future coaching partnerships. Here’s a simple Google template I personalize and use:

Here are a few potential coaching services to package as a coupon:
  • One new literacy station ready to go with a demonstration lesson for students.
  • One new children’s book for your classroom library.
  • One half-hour of class coverage for extra planning.
  • Help with completing benchmark assessments.
  • A co-teaching cycle to refine guided reading groups.
The best part is that you decide what goes on the coaching coupon to extend teacher learning and support application to the classroom. That means you can give teachers the same coaching coupon based on the session OR you can personalize each one for the particular needs of a teachers classroom.

There you have it! Three ways to bring a bit of whimsy into your professional development with PD party favors. These fun and tangible reminders are just what you need to keep learning forefront in teachers’ minds and offer a concrete reminder of what they might try in the classroom.

If you’d like to dive deeper into the topic AND learn about PD Toolkits, content bursts and more related to designing professional development for teachers, take a look at my on-demand Designing Teacher Learning (aka I Love PD!) series of sessions to level up your PD planning skills!

What ideas do you have for PD party favors? Share your ideas in the comments below!

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