Tag Archives: co-learning

Vertical Coordination PD: Divide and conquer – as a team: Feedback and Reflection

Well, there was a shift in Wednesday Professional Development meetings.  So, the Vertical Coordination PD: Divide and conquer – as a team session scheduled for February 20, 2013, actually took place on April 3, 2013.

This Vertical Coordination Workshop had 3 tasks:

  • Group 1:  Is our Social Studies Curriculum ready to go online?
  • Group 2:  Are our geography skills vertically aligned and documented correctly?
  • Group 3:  How do we identify when a student has reached the target level for our developing “I can…” statements?

Faculty were divided into groups to tackle these important questions.

Here’s a summary of what happened or was accomplished:

Group 1 facilitated by Kathy Bruyn at 12:30 and 3:30.  From Kathy:

3’s and Pre-K enjoyed the time together to vertically collaborate.  Both grades are fairly complete on the SS document, but may need more time to work on editing “I can…” statements with their grade levels.

Group 1 12-30

This is the image from the ELD/ULD meeting.  I started with drawing the image from the VELD first and then we just continued it… We had some great discussions!  Everyone felt very encouraged to see the “big picture” after spending so much time with the SS google doc.
K through 6th have noted where they need to add to the SS document and are fairly complete as well!
Group 1 3-30
In the ELD/ULD meeting, we also had a discussion about the 10 standards that the National Council for Social Studies offers and how we might use this language or some of this language in our curriculum maps.
Group 1 I cans
Overall, I think that the work that needed to be done in a vertical environment is complete.  Each grade level needs to work on their section of the document during team meetings in order to edit and finalize some of the work.


Group 2 facilitated by Amanda Thomas at 3:30.  From Amanda:

During our discussion on Wednesday, we had two main objectives.
The first one was to define as a group what the four categories
(exposure, emerging, introduction, and mastery) meant to us.  We created a large sticky note of general phrases that we assigned to each of the four categories (which is currently located in my room).  As a group, we decided that the terms were very confusing and ambiguous.  One of the
conclusions drawn was exposure is a teacher-driven term and emerging is a student-driven term, introductory is a teacher-driven term and mastery is a student-driven term.  What we mean by this is exposing the kids to a new idea or concept is done by the teacher.  Emerging with the information is done by the student (with guidance from the teacher).
So, before we began looking at the chart, we decided to use only three letters on the chart.
  • E = exposure/emerging (the children were exposed informally to an idea or concept)
  • I = introduction  (a formal lesson was used)
  • M = mastery (a formal assessment was given)
Our second objective was to fill out our own grade level as we teach it.  We did not use the current curriculum guide as a reference; we completed the chart using the knowledge that we have of what was actually taught. If the grade level thought there was additional information needed for clarification, they made notes at the bottom of the document.
Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 5.30.27 PM


Group 3 facilitated by Jill Gough and Rhonda Mitchell at 12:30 and 3:30.  

Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 5.41.48 PM_________________________

Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 5.51.31 PM


Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 5.55.14 PM

Whew! Lots of work for one hour.  Some of my favorite quotes from the feedback follow.

“We worked on I Can statements collaboratively, which was awesome at our grade level, but also wonderful to hear grades above and below share common themes and curriculum connections.”

“It is always beneficial to hear what is going on in other grades. Looking at our strands throughout (the visual Kathy made was AWESOME) was very helpful. I think we realized that we are not completely vertically aligned and still have some work to do.”

“It will be helpful for someone to look at our grid and see where the holes are. What are we supposed to be teaching that we’re not? What are our 5th graders supposed to know before they get to us, and what do we do if they don’t? What does 6th grade want us to introduce?”

“Our instruction is so individualized that this seems to be an exercise in futility.  I need to have a much better understanding of what we’re doing and why.  I have a terrible time with goals and mission statements and this seems to fit in the same category.”

“What was helpful today was sitting down and identifying the major sections of our science curriculum: process skills, physical science, ecosystems, and health/wellness. Further discussion and elaboration on these main sections will allow us to develop more targeted learning goals and statements.”

“I am now able to ensure that we are exposing our Kindergartners to the areas that will be introduced in 1st Grade.  I look forward to the next conversation when we can discuss in detail whether or not we are aligned with 1st grade appropriately and if there is something we need to change.”


Here is a copy of all feedback given for this session.

In an email to the faculty, I shared all feedback and the following message.

I thank you for taking the time to offer detailed feedback.  While the Strong Agree to Strongly Disagree Likert Scale ratings are easy to process and visualize, your comments are incredibly helpful and clarifying.  I read and reread your comments; they are rich with details on how to grow.  I am learning. You are teaching me so much!

Vertical Coordination PD: Divide and conquer – as a team

When planning shifts in curriculum, do we all have to work on the same thing? Might we get further faster if we divide and conquer?

This Vertical Coordination Workshop will have 3 tasks:

  • Group 1:  Is our Social Studies Curriculum ready to go online?
  • Group 2:  Are our geography skills vertically aligned and documented correctly?
  • Group 3:  How do we identify when a student has reached the target level for our developing “I can…” statements?

This Wednesday’s professional development time is dedicated to vertical coordination of curriculum.  I want to write “vertical coordination of our Social Studies curriculum,” but that seems to narrow.  As a community, we are focused on Social Studies, but we are continuing to grow, refine, and reflect on, well, everything.

Based on a quick chat with our Faculty Staff Leadership Team (FSLT) curriculum co-chairs, Kathy Bruyn and Caroline Peevy, I drafted the following plan for the hour of vertical coordination planning using a Google doc.

I continue to be struck by the power of collaboration. Kathy, Caroline, and I met to review the plan.  We discovered that we need a 4th facilitator, so we naturally turned to Rhonda Mitchell, Trinity’s Personalized Learning Specialist.  Look at how much the plan improved as Kathy, Caroline, and Rhonda contributed thinking and planning.

Their brilliant thinking and contributions customized the plan to community needs and individualized learning opportunities.  Graphic organizers were developed to organize and share work.  Additional resources were linked for user reference. In my next post, I’ll share the feedback and reflections from this hour of faculty learning.

What if we crowd-sourced more lesson plans and agendas? What if we offered more opportunities for learners to participate in the “plan and structure” for learning episodes? How might we learn and grow through the process of co-designing and co-learning?