Tag Archives: professional development

Strategic Teaming: leadership, voice, our hopes and dreams

We know high-functioning teams have great impact on student learning.  How might we grow in our strategic teaming to commit to the good, hard work it takes to meet the needs of our learners?

Last year during Pre-Planning, we began our intentional work to strengthen faculty teams (see Strategic Teaming: 3 Big Ideas Learning Communities Embrace for details.)

Today, we asked each team to review and discuss the 3 Big Ideas high-functioning teams embrace along with the 4 key questions these same teams routinely ask themselves.

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As we grow in our leadership, teaming, and collaboration, how might we learn more?

In today’s session, we used the first 4:15 and the last 0:45 of Julian Treasure’s How to speak so that people want to listen.

I hope our teams will return to the talk to watch what we skipped.  The big takeaways for me are

  • spreading sunshine and lightness in the world.
  • …authenticity…standing in your own truth.
  • …what would the world be like if we were creating sound consciously and consuming sound consciously and designing all our environments consciously for sound? That would be a world that does sound beautiful, and one where understanding would be the norm, and that is an idea worth spreading.

Strong teams regularly self-assess how well they function within their norms – the hopes and dreams for how they are when together.

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Each team had a quick open discussion of their work, successes, and struggles with last year’s norms.  We strive to strengthen our teaming by setting new norms.Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 7.48.43 PMWe turned to another expert and provocateur by watching the first 5:45 of The Myth of Average: Todd Rose at TEDxSonomaCounty.

 How might we dramatically expand our talent pool?

Each team worked to update their norms and discuss tools they might use to hold to these norms and provide feedback when necessary.

As Marsha Harris and I closed this Pre-Planning session, we wanted to  connect to Tuesday’s Division Meetings.

We hope to model the connectedness, commitment, and collaboration we seek in our teaching teams. Maryellen Berry and Rhonda Mitchell both closed their faculty meetings by showing Android: Monotone as a metaphor and message.

One fear we encounter while forwarding the tenets of professional learning communities is the perceived loss of autonomy.  We wanted to send the message

Be together; not the same.

To reinforce and support Maryellen and Rhonda’s message, Marsha and I showed Android: The Making of “MonoTune.” In the above video, Ji makes it look easy.  It’s not.

When we are in harmony and in unison but we are all distinctly different, that’s when magic happens in the world.

Be together; not the same.


GoogleMobile. “Android: Monotune.” YouTube. YouTube, 15 Feb. 2016. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.

GoogleMobile. “Android: The Making of “Monotune”” YouTube. YouTube, 15 Feb. 2016. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.

Focus on Learning: Observation of Practice (TBT Remix)

What if we add additional feedback loops in our culture?

How and when do adults in our schools receive formative feedback? If I have a question about my practice, how do I and from whom do I seek feedback?

If, as a school, we are studying formative assessment, self-assessment, and peer assessment, how are we practicing? Do I blog, journal, or keep a portfolio of my learning?  What might I want to learn? Are my students learning?

What if we focus on what is happening in classrooms in purposeful and focused ways? What if we model and embrace formative assessment of our practice?

What if we lend another our perspective?

We are going to pilot Observation of Practice this week in 4th Grade.  After reading my reflection of the class we taught together, Arleen and Laura both commented on how helpful it was to see their class from another perspective. We want to know if Observation of Practice will integrate formative assessment and reflection with peer observation.

What if we shift the focus of peer observations from observing our peers to observing the products of their work – the actions of students?

What if we focus on learning?


Job-embedded PD: Observation of Practice – Focus on Learning was originally published on November 18, 2013.

 

Summer Reading 2014 debrief: learner choice and voice (part 1)

We know student-learners need and deserve differentiated learning opportunities.  Don’t all learners?  How do we model learner choice? As a team of 150 learners charged with a responsibility of developing and maintaining a learning community for ourselves and the 650 children that we love and care for, we read and learn over the summer.  As we return to school, how do we share what we’ve learned?

We have planned a two-part summer reading debrief and sharing experience.  Part One has adult learners meet and share what they gleaned from a common read.  Our plan is shown below.  Notes and resources are collaboratively documented using Google docs so that all notes are available to every adult learner.



Here’s a sampling of our collective aspirations:

  • be flexible with everyone in the classroom,
  • know that we’re all on different stages as learners.
  • sequence in a logical order to facilitate understanding for all.
  • select high quality (low floor, high ceiling) tasks that offer many pathways for success.
  • use terminology like “yes and” instead of “no but”.
  • draw to get it on paper.
  • illustrate what they want to say and for comprehension.
  • plan for more prototyping and creating.
  • offer students enough time to think things over.
  • allow the kids to give feedback, there’s always time to make improvements.
  • use I like… I wish…
  • incorporate more nature into learning.
  • make time for students to create and problem solve without much instruction.
  • develop growth-mindset and reflection.
  • continual consciousness of modeling, building respect, patience.

Part Two will be a session in September where each group will share from their common read so that each member of our community has a sense of the salient points from each book.

What if we share what learn with others? How might we leverage communication tools to learn and share? What action(s) will we take based on what we learn?

Job-embedded PD: Observation of Practice – Focus on Learning

What if we add additional feedback loops in our culture?

How and when do adults in our schools receive formative feedback? If I have a question about my practice, how do I and from whom do I seek feedback?

If, as a school, we are studying formative assessment, self-assessment, and peer assessment, how are we practicing? Do I blog, journal, or keep a portfolio of my learning?  What might I want to learn? Are my students learning?

What if we focus on what is happening in classrooms in purposeful and focused ways? What if we model and embrace formative assessment of our practice?

What if we lend another our perspective?

We are going to pilot Observation of Practice this week in 4th Grade.  After reading my reflection of the class we taught together, Arleen and Laura both commented on how helpful it was to see their class from another perspective. We want to know if Observation of Practice will integrate formative assessment and reflection with peer observation.

What if we shift the focus of peer observations from observing our peers to observing the products of their work – the actions of students?

PD in Action: #LL2LU Math Formative Assessment #TrinityLearns with #MVPSchool

This really says it all:

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 5.12.19 PM

Isn’t this what we want from professional development? I learned something yesterday that I can (and do) put into practice today. How often does that happen? Well, it happened twice today.  Stephanie, #MVPSchool’s @TeachingSteph, and Vicki Eyles, #TrinityLearns @EylesMath, joined forces yesterday to design a learning progression and a leveled assessment to lead learners to level up.  The tweet above gives evidence that Stephanie put her learning into action today.  Vicki met me at the door at 7:15 this morning on her way to the office to print the leveled assessment for our 5th graders.  Awesome!

Here’s some of the feedback from the day:

I believe in the process and had time to actually complete an assessment that I can use in my classroom tomorrow. It was so helpful to collaborate with others on the project.

I need to be able to assess my students as they are learning. I always find that students are telling me that they don’t know or understand, and I would love for them to focus on what they know and work from there.

It was very beneficial to learn about the difference between “I can” and “I can’t” statements and learn how to refocus our students. To learn how to word statements that will allow students to focus on the target and to create an assessment that will help communicate with both students and teachers about where students are and where they are going.

So…here’s the story:

What if we build common formative assessments that communicate how to level up, ask targeted questions, and motivate learning? Teachers of 3rd – 6th graders from Trinity and Mount Vernon met yesterday to learn more about Leading Learners to Level Up. Shelley Paul (@lottascales) joined us to co-facilitate and offer perspective from a beginner’s mindset.

We started with the 4-minute overview and “sat in the seat of a learner” as we took the leveled assessment on adding fractions.  With such a small group, we used the fishbowl time to hear multiple perspectives on the learning progression of the adding fractions formative assessment.

The mashup of growth mindset with learning progressions and standards-based feedback was clear to these teacher-learners.  We should write learning progressions to empower our learners to identify their strengths and ask questions to grow.  Using “I can…” statements offers learners the opportunity and the language to identify what they can do and advocate for what they want/need to do next.

Working in grade-level teams, we drafted learning progressions with “I can…” statements for a learning outcome.

LL2LU-Math

Once we drafted a learning progression, we stopped to collaborate and offer feedback.  It was awesome!  We used Post-it Notes and the protocol I like…, I wish…, I wonder/What if… to offer each other positive, constructive, and directed feedback.

LL2LU Feedback

Illustrating the power of social media and connected learning, John Burk (@occam98) immediately added to our learning by replying to the tweet of the above image.

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Feedback on our feedback with, I might add, a new resource for our teachers. Wow!

Once we adjusted our learning progressions based on the feedback, we worked to write  leveled assessments that would offer learners the opportunity to show what they know.  You can see artifacts of the work in the learning plan at the bottom of this post.

Embracing a do the work in the workshop philosophy, we took time to complete these leveled assessments.  Then, the magic happened.  Yes, another round of feedback.  Each teacher-learner took every leveled assessment and worked through it as a learner.  It was a spectacular way to calibrate expectations vertically.  Every assessment was vetted through teachers and admin-learners. Everyone received written feedback as well as face-to-face feedback.  Candid feedback…questioning feedback…growth-oriented feedback.

Intentionally, we paired these teacher-learners by the grade they teach.  Our hope was that our teacher-learners would share best practice, strategies, and bright spots that work in their schools.  We were not disappointed.  Our learning plan called for a session where we would regroup and work as a vertical school team to review, discuss, and calibrate levels in each assessment.  While we did not formally separate into two school teams, there was lots of discussion to calibrate expectations? Finding plateaus and steep jumps in curriculum always happens when vertically aligning these learning progressions and leveled assessments.

As a team of 20, we agreed to meet again in a couple of weeks to discuss how the impact of these learning progressions and leveled assessments.  We also plan to accept the challenge of writing a learning progression and a leveled assessment of one topic to learn more about vertical alignment of curriculum and expectations.  I’ll keep you posted.

Even in the briefest of communications, people develop and share common models that allow them to communicate effectively.  If you don’t share the model, you can’t communicate. If you can’t communicate, you can’t teach, learn, lead, or follow.  (Lichtman, 32 pag.)

________________________

Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

PD Lesson Planning: Progress Report Prototyping

It’s about focus.

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 4.37.20 AMWhen we report progress, formally, do we remember that this report is just one of many parts of a system? Do we focus our efforts on using a progress report to document learning and grow up to this point in time? Do we remember that there are many other parts of the system that give feedback, communicate progress, and communicate learning?

As a community, we have been discussing how we might adjust our methods of communicating learning through our formal progress reports.  You can see some of the steps on our journey by reading the following:

We met today to discuss our next steps in this journey.  Below is a copy of the lesson plan shared with faculty.

We will use a Google site and Google docs to collaboratively write the narrative comments that tell the story of our learners.

Will we embrace this adjustment in the way we report progress?  Will we be able to focus our energy to tell the story of learning? Will we grow in our understanding and use of growth mindset language? Do we see ourselves as young learners in this process? Will we prototype, pratice, and experiment? Will we seek feedback and share our thinking?

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PD experiment: I want to learn… & I can teach… (5 of 4)

I’m not sure what I originally planned when I started this series, PD experiment: I want to learn… & I can teach…, but I’ve learned more than I predicted.  So, I have a 5th post.  It is not enough to go through professional development learning episodes.  Reflection is a necessary responsibility for my growth.  What did I learn? What went well? What would I do differently next time?  What does the feedback from the learners tell me?

We consistently use the same feedback form for all in-house professional development. (Feel free to investigate the form.  It is a copy of the original.  One of the goals is to sort the spreadsheet to have a record of each community member’s participation in our in-house PD for the 2012-13 school year.)

Here’s some of the feedback (view all the feedback) from this particular session:

Beneficial
Applied
Another

Wow! This class was the best EVER ! the program was easy and Jedd was a delightful teacher! I can’t WAIT to have the kids use this for Colonial things that are coming up!

_______________

I enjoyed being able to “play” with activities that could immediately be put into practice in my classroom.  I also enjoyed how we thought about how the activities could be modified for different subjects or ability levels.

_______________

Students write reflections in the art room– I now know I can reinforce this style of writing in art too.

_______________

I thoroughly enjoyed being introduced to new apps and websites from other teachers and seeing how they would use them in the classroom. It was great to see how “fun games” can be applied to everyday classroom instruction. The Smackdown was a helpful session because Marsha would give us an app or website and then everyone else would chime in on one they found useful.

_______________

I enjoyed Sarah’s presentation very much.  She modeled the “lesson” almost as if it was a classroom and even had the teachers participate in a couple of games.  It was great to see how her ideas could be incorporated into our daily activities.

_______________

Kindergarteners need a lot of movement throughout the day.  Rather than doing the “Trinity runaround”, I now have new ways to get them moving.  Not only will I use what I learned to give kids movement breaks throughout the day, we also learned many games and movements that can be used to learn and review content that the kids are learning everyday.

_______________

I’m pleased with the feedback.  Our community members indicate that they are learning.  They indicate that they are able to apply what they are learning.  One teacher sent me a note that she had video to share with me concerning what she learned.

While I’m very pleased with the feedback, I wonder what we might do better next time.

  • I know that we frustrated several by not making the sign-up online.  We can make that change if needed.  I do wonder if part of the experience was gathering at the board to discuss the possibilities.
  • Could we offer sessions that would interest more of our staff?  Isn’t it interesting that we wait for others to offer learning sessions of interest to us?  Did everyone have the opportunity to record something they would like to learn? Could anyone offer a session to meet their own needs and/or the needs of others?
  • Should I be more clear about the meaning of facilitating a learning session?  How many facilitators prepared handouts and PowerPoint presentations?  How many facilitators organized conversations to learn from and with others? How many facilitators felt they had to be “an expert,” and how many felt they would learn from others?

Then I read Bo’s post, PROCESS POST: How are schools planning and designing their pedagogical renovations?. Now, Bo was not writing about the PD at my school.  But, I should reflect on his good (paraphrased) questions.

  • Are we architecting and blueprinting the systemic transformation of which these learning episodes are parts of a whole?
  • How do these learning episodes fit into a master plan that harmonizes the curriculum, instruction, assessment, and learning environments that function together as the ecosystem of our school’s teaching and learning core?
  • Is it enough to have community members enrolling in such courses and enhancing their individual practices?

Which led me back to Grant’s post, Three Foundational Questions Schools Must Ask.

  • What are the essential learning outcomes or qualities of your students when they graduate?
  • What is the desired relationship at your school between students, teachers, and knowledge?
  • What is the differentiated value that your school offers to your clients?

As a community, have we identified the essential learning outcomes for our adult-learners? Are these ongoing learning experiences and the overarching methodology transferable (and transferring) to classrooms for young learners? How can I be more strategic and purposeful about content as well as process?

As with all good learning experiences, I’m left with more questions than answers.