In reading “Learning By Doing” I found several interesting things that sparked my interest. First of all, I love the Celebrating Success piece of teaching. We do not do this enough. The goal should be to find each staff member’s gift and recognize that, whether it be in or out of the classroom. Kudos are a beautiful thing! Secondly, I love the “Keep, Drop and Create” thought process for planning curriculum. It forces us, as a collaborative team to reflect on what works, was doesn’t and what work we need to do in this time of change to truly challenge our students. The one obstacle with this is having the time to “create and innovate.”
From Learning by Doing-
Our deepest insights and understandings come from action, followed by reflection and the search for improvement.
Developing a collective capacity for improvement (and sustainability) requires that the teacher leaders “do the work of school improvement.”
Reflective questions… How do we break away from “business as usual” to create the school we envision?
How do we move forward from mission and vision to action?
What are our collective commitements and how do we hold ourselves and our colleagues accountable (reciprocal accountability)?
Attention to collective commitments is one of the most important strategies in building a PLC.
When we have established these, we must communicate our values and celebrate our successes.
Since attending the conference this summer, we have rolled out the PLC concepts we learned at Landrum, beginning in pre-planning when we established team norms for our Faculty Leadership team.
Next, we established that our PLCs – which we call Team Planning & Learning Groups
(TPLGs) – are made up of grade-level and subject area teachers, usually three or four to a group.
Our Principal Emily Harrison has ensured protected team time for meetings every month.
At the initial team meetings, the TPLG groups were given support and directed to establish their norms. Staff members were then encouraged to set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented and Time-bound – that align with our school and district goals for improvement. We analyzed data and decided to
focus as a school on improving our FCAT Writes scores by implementing five writing “nonnegotiables”
in every classroom.
While many of our TPLGs created their SMART goals based on their own subject area data they wish to see improve, some – even science! — have devoted their goals to improving writing results.
Our TPLGs will continue to meet throughout the school year, learning to develop common formative assessments
to gather data, and ultimately evaluating their effectiveness based on our school’s FCAT results and school grade. Our hope is that working in small, focused groups like this will help each team member learn what they need to be their best selves as educators.
This books lays the foundation we need to build strong professional learning communities. Our Teacher Leaders are invited to read along and collaborate about how best to grow our learning organization. Challenge #1 will be convincing our staff that even though we are already terrific, there may still be some things to learn to improve ourselves as master teachers.
Ms. Harrison, Ms. Loyd, Ms. Stanton and I will attend a workshop at the end of July to learn more about how to make the most of our planning time.
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Alice B. Landrum Middle School
230 Landrum Lane
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082
Main: (904) 547-8410
Fax: (904) 547-8415