Tag Archives: Richard Elmore

Teaming: Deepen Understanding to Strengthen Academic Foundation

How might we learn and grow together? How do we connect ideas and engage in productive, purposeful professional development (aka learning experiences) around common mission, vision, and goals? What if we model what we want to see and experience in our classrooms?

Influenced, inspired, and challenged by our work at Harvard Graduate School of Education’s 2016 session on the Transformative Power of Teacher TeamsMaryellen BerryRhonda MitchellMarsha Harris, and I set common goals for faculty-learners.

We can design and implement a differentiated action plan across our grade to meet all learners where they are.

But, how do we get there?

For a while, we will narrow to a micro-goal.

We can focus on the instructional core, i.e. the relationship between the content, teacher, and learner.

For today’s Pre-Planning session, a specific goal. At the end of this session, every faculty-learner should be able to say

We can engage in purposeful instructional talk concerning reading, writing, and math to focus on the instructional core.

Here’s our learning plan:

8:00 Intro to Purpose
Instructional Core: Relationship between content, teacher, student

Explain Content Groups tasks

8:30 Movement to Content Groups
8:35 Content Groups Develop Mini-Lesson

9:05 Movement back to Grade-Level Teams in the Community Room
9:10 Share Readers’ Workshop Instructional Core ideation
9:20 Q&A and transition
9:25 Share Writers’ Workshop  Instructional Core ideation
9:35 Q&A and transition
9:40 Share Number Talk  Instructional Core ideation
9:50 Q&A and transition
9:55 Closure:  Planning, Reflection, Accountability

We also shared our learning progressions with faculty so they might self-assess and grow together.

Today’s goal:
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Year-long goal:
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When  we focus on the instructional core and make our thinking visible, we open up new opportunities to learn and to impact learning with others.

How might we deepen understanding to strengthen learning?

Connect disconnected pathways with multiple representations

A doodler is connecting neurological pathways with perviously disconnected pathways.  A doodler is concentrating intently, sifting through information, conscious and otherwise, and – much more often than we realize – generating massive insights.  (Brown, 11 pag.)

How might we test this? What if we engage with our curriculum to experience connecting disconnected pathways, to generate insights, to make thinking visible?

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It is the relationship between the teacher, the student, and the content – not the qualities of any one of them by themselves – that determines the nature of instructional practice, and each corner of the instructional core has its own particular role and resources to bring to the instructional process. (City and Elmore, 22 pag.)

What if we make a small shift in our role and resources to bring multiple representations to our practice?

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 7.11.21 PM …, it is the change in the knowledge and skill that the teachers bring to the practice, the type of content to which students gain access, and the role that students play in their own learning that determine what students will know and be able to do. (City and Elmore, 24 pag.)

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These learners need doodling in order to focus more acutely on what’s being said, and they demonstrate better recall when they’re allowed to doodle than when they’re not.  (Brown, 21 pag.)

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Just make a mark and see where it takes you. (Reynolds, n. pag.)


Brown, Sunni. The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently. New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2014. Print.

City, Elizabeth A. Instructional Rounds in Education: A Network Approach to Improving Teaching and Learning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education, 2009. Print.

Reynolds, Peter. The Dot. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2003. Print.