Monday, November 29, 2010

Driving Instruction...

Adding another meeting to a teacher's already busy schedule, typically isn't well received. Needless to say, I was blown away by the lack of flack that I got when I scheduled a standing Tuesday professional development meeting.

Why have these meetings been so successful? I
have been taking a deeper look at the pieces that are in place to make these meetings so meaningful. Here's what I have found. The teachers are set up in learning communities where they can come and share in an environment that isn't intimidating. The assignments are differentiated to meet our teachers where they are as learners and are accessible to everyone. There is time each week to share what has been happening in the classrooms, as well as student evidence to support it. Guidelines have been clearly established and are reviewed by the PLCs at the beginning of each meeting which sets the expectation for the day. All of these things help to create an effective learning environment.

Our current PLC focus is on Formative Assessments. Each week we meet and talk about what we are doing in our classrooms around formative assessments and share out student work samples. Then we learn about a new component of formative assessments, make sense of it on our own terms and how it relates to instruction, then head out to try it out in the classroom. Every week, the teachers come prepared and excited to discuss what they have done in their classrooms. It's truly changing the face of instruction here at Sherwood.