Tag Archives: #TrinityLearns

Instructional Core practice #WordsMatter How will we show we CARE?

As part of our school’s Pre-Planning, I facilitated a faculty-teams workshop to continue our work and learning in the Instructional Core.

Here are my notes from the session.

The agenda, shared ahead of the meeting, looked like this:

The slide deck that accompanies this plan looks like this:

We watched 4:05 minutes of Practice is Everything to renew and review our norms around teaming.

How we practice, how we team, makes a difference. The words we choose and use when offering feedback contribute to how our learners author their identity.  As we work to calibrate our expectations, we can also hone and enhance our ability to offer high-quality, positive, actionable feedback that empower learners to reach for their next independent level.

As seen in the slides, I used video timers to pace the teamwork time. What I learned is that the timers held me accountable for the work time promised to teachers.  I was forced to wait, to be patient, and to not rush. So helpful to hold the time for our teachers.

When we focus on learning,
we hold time for learners.

And, just as we carefully plan and hold time for learning, we carefully choose what we notice and note. Words matter; the story you tell impacts how a learner is thought of and seen.

Amanda Thomas (@TrinityMrsT) found and shared the video below. I used it in our session to illustrate the power of story.

As we begin a new school year with new learners, how will we seek a balanced story, describe what we want to see next, and balance our feedback to highlight success?

What story will we notice and note?
What feedback will we offer?
What will we contribute to how  learners author their identity?

How will we show we C.A.R.E.?



Common mission and vision: Be together, not the same

What if we share common mission and vision?  During the 2015-16 school year, we worked together as a team on our SAIS accreditation.  We brainstormed, struggled, and learned together.

As a team, we have completed our professional learning during Pre-Planning.  I had the privilege of attending and participating in all meetings.  (I did not sketch the sessions I helped facilitate.)

Can you see our connectedness, themes, and common language?

August 9: All School Meeting


August 9: Early Elementary Division meeting


August 9: Upper Elementary Division meeting03-Berry-PrePlanning1

August 10: Deepen Understanding to Strengthen Academic Foundation

August 10: Goals, Structures, and Processes

August 11: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion04-Diversity-PrePlanning

August 11: Positive Discipline (a la Dr. Jane Nelsen)05-PositiveDiscipline1 06-PositiveDiscipline2

August 12: Strategic Teaming: Leadership, Voice, Hopes and Dreams

August 15:  Upper Elementary Division Meeting07-Berry-PrePlanning2

August 15: Early Elementary Division meeting08-Mitchell-PrePlanning2

Again… share common mission and vision.

Be together, not the same.

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:
Year-long goal:
Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 8.04.56 PM
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?

#TEDTalkTuesday: community problem solving

How are we engaging learners in community-issues problem solving? This week’s TED talk celebrates our own.

Andrew Hennessy – Turning “Lost” Into “Found”

My school faced a problem: An unruly Lost and Found space filled with multiple examples of the same clothing, namely blue fleece cover-ups. My goal was to reinvent the process for labeling, sorting, storing and returning items that get left behind at my school. The solution involved applying a wear-proof QR code that contains critical information used to help reunite the lost item with the owner.  Teachers use a phone based QR app complete with automated parental notification to make the magic happen.

How might we continue to teach community problem solving? What if we teach and learn more about perseverance?

How might we help our learners choose and collaborate projects that they care about?  What if we join a team of learners to discover how the content of our discipline can be used in the process of finding, working on, and solving problems?

#TrinityLearns integrated studies (week 3)

When we have the opportunity to see what happens in other parts of our community, we begin to connect ideas and experiences.

Alpin Hong and Jun-Ching Lin surprised our 6th graders with visit and a brilliant lesson on harmony, color theory, and superhero theme music.

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It was Fitness Friday in First Grade. How great is it to combine math and fitness? Don’t you just love that two of our PE team lifted the work and learning of both the student-learners and the teacher-learners in 1st Grade?

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If you read #TrinityLearns Community (week 2), you know that we are teaching each other new ways to communicate learning.  Last week many of us learned about the app Pic Stitch which quickly combines multiple images into a collage.  (I asked Amanda Thomas, and Joe asked Jedd Austin.)  Notice how Kathy bright spots Brian’s work with our 2nd Graders.

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This week, Melissa Walker embedded her class’s twitter feed on her Haiku page.  This seems to be spreading through the 5th and 6th grade Haiku pages so that our families have another view of what happens at school. Amanda bright spots Melissa’s work.

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We’ve also seen our young learners making connections between math and science.

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Perhaps two of my favorite tweets – because they helped me connect in person – were from our 3s and Pre-K classrooms.  I could sit down with these young learners at carpool and ask them good questions.  They could describe details about their day, their interests, and their learning. I now know we need a rocket ship to rescue the balloons that got away.  I learn more and more each day about the interests of our learners.

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What will we learn about, for, and with each other as we continue to learn and share?

There were many more beautiful, rich learning experiences for all learners in our community.  A digest of our Tweets from the 3rd week of school is shown below.

#TrinityLearns Community (week 2)

What did you do at school today? Or, better yet, what happened at school today?

There are many days that I know what I did, but I wonder what else happened.  What if we leveraged technology to learn and share, to have a broader and deeper view into the learning episodes in our community?

There are many more voices contributing to the #TrinityLearns stream of information about the learning and celebrations happening daily.  At the end of this post, I’ve archived some of the tweets of the week, but I want to reflect on several that caught my attention.

I know that our 5th graders take the responsibility to raise the flag each morning, but I don’t see it happen.  Can you imagine a better way to learn about Social Studies and our country?Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 6.40.12 PM

We know that our young learners are incredibly curious about technology and learning, but what does that look like?

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How did we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech?

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How do we learn and share? How are we connected? How do we tell  stories of learning? How do we see the entire journey of a child when we experience only a short time with them?

I love my school community.

#TrinityLearns Community (week 1)

It was a busy first week of school getting acquainted with each other, making new friends, and learning together.  We believe in having a strong sense of community, balancing tradition with a forward-thinking philosophy, having a child-centered focus, and personalizing learning where process is equally as important as product.  We have dedicated faculty and staff who love, support, and nurture our young learners.

We learn and share together in many ways.  I learned so much about my school today by reviewing this week’s #TrinityLearns tweets.  The sample below offers a glimpse into our first week of school.

I am always struck by the thoughtfulness of children.  “Keep confidence” was a rule offered by a 1st grader for the class constitution. Wow! I am not sure if I ever had a class where I was offered the opportunity to help set the rules or norms of how we would work together.  If you read through the tweets above, it was a common theme this week at Trinity.

The search for the missing Gingerbread Man became a school-wide event.  Think of the chemistry, collaboration, reading, writing, and community understanding that was explored while creating, searching for, and finding him.  It was a true community celebration.

There is so much to know, observe, and learn.  I see a strong balance of technology and no technology.  I see dedicated adults working with engaged children. I see student choice and student voice. I see personalized learning in many different spaces and environments. I see relationship-building activities for our entire community.

I wonder…what do you see?