About Amy Brennan

Amy is the director of elementary education, pre-k through 6th grade for a Long Island public school district. Prior to serving as the director of elementary education, Amy was a literacy coach, reading specialist and special educator ranging in grades early childhood, pre-k, elementary and up to 8th grade.

My One Little Word for 2017 –Stretch

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As I welcomed in 2017, I reflected back on my One Little Word for 2016 – gratitude. It was the perfect word for 2016 and although I will choose a new One Little Word for 2017 I will still carry around my 2016 word, gratitude.  This is a word I cherished through the year and still feel the need to keep close. It has become part of me and so I will keep gratitude and add One Little Word for 2017 – stretch.  I begin this year with a stretch both literally and figuratively. I am committing to stretch myself in order to grow.

A stretch will present some discomfort, but I know this is necessary for growth. The discomfort includes some fear; fear of the unknown and fear of making mistakes or failing altogether. So I will stretch both professionally and personally for 2017 as I take on some new challenges as an educator and in the practice of yoga. With each stretch in yoga and each stretch in my professional growth I will embrace the discomfort that comes with the stretch as I know ultimately it will lead to a better and stronger version of me.

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Summer Learning, Had me a Blast, Summer Learning Happened so Fast

 

Disclosure: This post was written in September 2015, I never hit the “publish” button, but as I begin to think about and plan ongoing professional development during this school year and for next summer I feel this urgency to finally hit publish.

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It is has been a while since my last post and just as I am reflecting on my summer I scroll through the many blog posts I have drafted and not yet published.  I am beginning to feel overwhelmed by this, yet I know hitting the “publish” button just once will help me to get one step closer to completing my numerous drafts.

Last night finally I was out to dinner with my husband and friends, as we stepped out of the car for the valet parking the cold air hit me, it was then that I realized summer is over. I looked out at the marina, the boats and the water and then I felt the air again, it was cold. A sudden sadness came over me.  The summer ended, the warm sun, the beach, the sand the salt air, it was over. Later as I sat at my computer,  I realized not only did my personal summer go so fast, but so did my professional summer.  Starting a new position in July and several professional learning opportunities helped the summer months fly by for me.  This realization pressed against me and I felt the urgency to write this post about my summer learning.  Perhaps this will help me to embrace the beautiful fall, the pumpkins, the leaves changing and the most exciting part of fall- when children arrive back at school.

Long Island Connected Leadership Institute 

This was a great opportunity led by Dr. Bill Brennan, this day was about sharing the power of being a connected educator with teams from our schools on Long Island. For me this was a day with colleagues and friends from the district I was departing from and an opportunity to learn alongside so many other educational leaders taking part in this institute.  The big takeaway: there are endless possibilities when you become a connected educator and this knowledge and understanding needs to continue to spread so that it will have a positive impact on learning for ourselves and most of all our students.

EdCamplLdr The Hamptons

The Hamptons, who would not want to be in the Hampton on a mid-July day?  I can tell you the turn out for Edcamp Leadership New York in the Hamptons was impressive.  On this day I felt proud to be a part of the whole experience, but I really and truly felt proud to be an educator on Long Island.  I remember the excitement in Dennis Shrug‘s voice when he first explained to me his vision in bringing EdCampLdr to NY.  It is that energy and passion that drove so may Long Island educators to Dennis’ Hampton Bays Middle School.  Similar to a great night out at dinner, you often hear comments about the ambiance of the restaurant, the people you share your meal with, the restaurant staff and of course the food.  For us that day at EdCampLdr, it was the impressive school building that fostered intellectual curiosity in its design, the people who we talked with in different sessions, the people we sat and had lunch with, and finally those who shared at the end of the day smackdown.  The big takeaway: there is so much to learn from fellow Long Island educators any opportunity that brings together dedicated educators is well worth the time.

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and Columbia University Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Institute in American History and Content Literacy

This was my second summer attending this institute, in this case however I had the extreme honor of participating along with Jasmine Junsey as a peer leader.  The partnership between Colonial Williamsburg and Teachers College Reading and Writing Project was possible through a very generous donor from Long Island and I am forever thankful for her generosity and the impact it has had on so many educators and students.  Taking part in the planning along with Jasmine, I learned from Emily Butler Smith, Tab BroylesAndy Engels, Jodi Norman and Erin Sloan in deeper and more profound ways than I had the summer before as a participant.  To say that this experience changed me as an educator is an understatement.  Since the first day I put my feet down on the ground in Colonial Williamsburg that first summer, my mindset around the teaching of social studies has forever changed.  The big takeaway:  in learning social studies and content literacy it is all about the thinking.  The habits of mind that we instill in our students, those are the skills that carry over to any content in social studies, or any content in general.  When it comes to learning, it is all about the thinking.

Summer Learning Collaborative

In a new position as the Director of Elementary Education, I was fortunate to be handed this incredible idea.  The district ran a summer reading program the year before and this year in addition to the students learning, the new vision involved many learners; students, graduate students, district teachers and parents.  This idea was like a dream for me, it  connected with my passion around learning in the company of others — I could not wait to begin planning.  I felt as if I won the Golden Ticket!

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I planned along with Dr. Erica Pecorale the district’s literacy professional developer and Director of Teacher Education for Long Island University at the Riverhead Campus, she shared the vision of the summer learning plan.  This plan brought together a public school district, a university, professional texts, and most importantly the people behind them; the  students, the parents, the teachers and the authors.   As we planned with  Jennifer Hayhurst, Literacy Coach  our ideas came together and grew as I learned in greater depths about the true power of collaboration and what can happen when people who share passions come together to advance learning for all, children and adults alike.  We spent endless hours on Google Hangouts planning our 3 weeks to ensure that students, teachers and parents would be involved in a learning experience that would connect them through ideas around shared texts. We blended district teachers with graduate students working in their literacy practicuum and gave them opportunities for peer coaching in classrooms with students.  We blended collaboration and reflection time outside of the classroom.  We brought in Stacey Shubitz and Barb Golub to engage teachers and graduate students in thinking and learning around conferring and toolkits for reading and writing workshop.  We purchased books (Jen Serravallo’s The Reading Strategies Book and Tanny McGregor’s book Comprehension Connections ) for teachers and studied those books together and practiced these strategies in classrooms each day.  We shared these practices with parents over the course of three parent and child workshops.  We were learning in the company of others and all of us grew in our thinking around critical ideas in advancing literacy learning for all students.

As a new administrator in this district, this was an opportunity to learn alongside so many amazing educators, to get to know teachers, parents and students as learners.  The big takeaway:  when you pull together partners in education and spread the idea of learning and collaboration and commit to this, everyone wins!

A Grandmother’s Advice on Word Choice

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“Hate is a very strong word Amy, make a better choice. Try this —I strongly dislike that.”  My grandmother often said this to me when I was young and I passed judgment on things that I did not like.  Choosing to use the word hate, the word so many adolescents use carelessly, that was my preference at that young age.  I know better now.  I know now that my grandmother was teaching me something about carefully considering the impact of a word.

As I look back now, especially when I think about the context of teaching writing, I realize my grandmother was teaching me the importance of word choice.  It is interesting how I still use this skill, so many years later.  Almost each time I consider a word I can hear my grandmother’s voice.

Choice is a basic tenet in writing workshop, students choose their topics and students choose their words.  Word choice is a skill we practice with students to improve the overall quality of writing.  In the story of my grandmother, she was really teaching me about gradients in word meaning and the impact of words.  Both are very important when communicating in speaking or writing.

In this age of everything being “awesome” and “great” both of which I am guilty of over using and using when perhaps something doesn’t really reach those levels, this is complicated.  Students aren’t really hearing, using and understanding the gradients of words and their meanings.  Precision in choosing words has the ability to raise the level of writing, yet it can be challenging to make these choices especially when students have not really spent time living in the meaning of words and their various connotations.

There are many ways to explore gradients of words with students, it could be depicted as a gradient as this image below. 20151227_113333

To help students think about word choice, gradients like the one above can be helpful, this provides a visual in seeing how that word compares to other words in the gradient.  Growing vocabulary knowledge results here because we are able to use known words as the “velcro” for students to attach the new words.  Word walls, word thermometers, word sandwichs and paint chips are often used in classrooms to help students learn and choose words to use writing.

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If you are looking for something new to try with your class that engages both the brain and the body you might like activity.  I learned this from Erin Sloan while I was at the Institute in American History & Content Literacy: A Collaboration Between the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.   Last summer I shared it with a group of teachers during professional development.  This is a favorite of mine because it engages the mind, integrates gross motor movements and it creates smiles and laughter.  All of which are contribute to learning that lasts.

1) Divide a group into two and line them up, facing each other.

2) Stand in the middle, at the front of the two rows, ask them to face each other. Tell the participants on your left that they are “partner a” and tell the participants on your right that they are”partner b”.

3) Walk over to each partner a and say a word to each partner a.

4) Partner a and b walk towards each other and partner a has to say the word hello with the tone and expression that the word would hold.

5) Partner b has to guess what the word is based on the way the person said hello and the manner in which they walked by.

6) Check to see if the word they said was correct, if so talk about why and if not, talk about the word meaning and how the word would sound.

6) Repeat steps 1-6 with partner b receiving and acting out the word

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Take Aways and Reflection from #CELI15

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Dr. Bill Brennan shared this poem as he opened CELI15. Immediately this poem resonated with me, I looked around the auditorium and I could feel the energy, passion and dedication to students and learning. Sure, I have seen this in other educational gatherings, but CELI15 was different, these educators were all connected educators gathering on Long Island. I could feel the future so close in front of us and immediately I felt assured that we are in fact in good hands. These innovative educators had energy and clarity and I was joining in and sitting at the table with them to engage in forward thinking and innovation in the spirit of increasing student engagement and achievement. Connect. Share. Learn. These three words on listed on the website for Long Island Connected Educators Summit, this promise was one that was more than fulfilled on this day. This learning experience was so different from anything I have experienced in my professional development so far. I left with so many ideas about how I can grow in my own professional development as well as the professional development that I facilitate.

“In writing and speaking, three is more satisfying than any other number.”

-Carmine Gallo Talk Like TED

As I have been reflecting on this day and attempting to formulate some clarity in written expression I came across this quote from Carmine Gallo and then it occurred to me – Connect. Share. Learn. Three words.The rule of three can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece where three words were used to convey an idea. Carmine Gallo points out in his book numerous examples of how the rule of three is ever present in our world throughout history ranging from life liberty and happiness to the Three Little Pigs, three primary colors and Newton’s three laws. In fact there are so many threes in nature and in literature this could go on for a while and I might never get to my three take aways from CELI15.

The number three is all around us and so in the spirit of three I will name my three take-aways from CELI15 – which is long overdue since this was on March 28th! Better late than never, and truthfully it was challenging to only name three takeaways from such an inspiring day.

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Just as teachers are guides on the side, Dr. Bill Brennan and Tony Sinanis did an amazing job of facilitating the conversations throughout the day from the opening to the closing. These two individuals are authentic leaders, who spoke honestly and inspired the Long Island educators who gathered on this last Saturday in March. Impressive to say the least!

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Professional development does not have to cost a lot in order for you to learn a lot. In fact it can be FREE!  Each session I attended was created by an educator or educators who cared enough to share their ideas. There were two morning sessions and one afternoon session. As I was presenting at the first session that narrowed my choices and I found myself wishing each session was recorded and blasted out on YouTube so I could watch and learn later, in a way that I can check out Storify after a chat that I cannot attend. I do admit it is not the same as interacting in the discussion live, but it could help to share ideas further. I greatly appreciated reading the #CELI15 Tweets that came out of the day. The sessions I did attend were conversations that inspired and gave me cause to reflect.

 I attended Tony Sinasis‘ session, “Transparency: Keys to Building Trust and Social Capital.” I had to admit to him that I was in fact stalking his Twitter #Catiague and working at my school to tell our story. In truth, I learned so much more from him in this session because he was friendly and so willing to share how he told the story of his school and built trust among his community through using social media. Ideas that Tony shared I know will serve me well as I engage in leadership roles in education. It is no surprise that Tony received the honor of being designated as 2014 Principal of the Year in NY.  Quite an amazing leader to learn from.

The next session I attended was part of the “unconference” developed during lunch on a whiteboard, it started blank and soon filled up with many more sessions to attend. Again, difficult choices to make. The literacy based topics really were pulling me, “Reflective Writing” and “Literacy Lovers,” how could I choose?  In the end, I opted to go outside of my literacy comfort zone and attended “Making Thinking Visible” presented by Louisa Cataldo and Tina Guarnashelli. They shared with us Peardeck as well as a learning experience from attending  Project Zero Summer Institute at Harvard. I purchased the book they recommended, Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners by Ron Ritchhart. I started reading the book and so my learning that began at this session continues. I am grateful to Louisa and Tina as they have sent me on a continued learning journey. This brings me joy.

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I can push myself out of my comfort zone and share good ideas. At first I heard about this event through Carol Varsolona– a year earlier in fact. I was not able to attend CELI14 due to another commitment, however when I saw CELI15 being shared on Twitter and I realized many educators I follow on Twitter and chat with on Voxer (Talks with Teachers)  were going, I signed up right away. I learned so much from them in the connected sense through social media, I couldn’t wait to meet them and learn from them in person.

At some point I came across the call for proposals and suggested to my in district colleague Jeanne-Marie Mazzaferro that we submit a proposal. We just wrote and were facilitating an in district collegial circle titled “Making Social Studies “Social” for the 21st Century Student.” We were using technology and social media such as Twitter, Voxer, and Google Apps, to share all that we learned through the process with other educators seemed like a next step. We submitted our proposal and were more than excited when it was accepted.  We were going to be sitting at the table with these innovative, connected educators on Long Island and we could not wait to learn and share our story of learning. Here is the link to the description of our session. The QR below or this link will provide you with a view of our presentation as well as the participant folder we shared with the educators who joined us as we shared how our waves of learning spread.

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Connect. Learn. Share. The three words I first saw on the website for Long Island Connected Educators’ Summit (#CELI14, #CELI15), now there was a fourth word, ACT. Now is the time to ACT.  Once we have connected, we are always learning and sharing, but we need to also act. In reflecting on my experience this day, that was my first call to “ACT.” I believe that it is worthy to spend time sharing and spreading what you are passionate about, especially in learning when it can help others. This post is yet another “ACT” and although it took long for me to publish it, it is finally published. I could have continued to deliberate my reflections and revise and revise for several more weeks.  I could probably revise until CELI16, but I will take the advice of Sheryl Sandberg and Facebook, “Done is better than perfect.” I thought by tying in the idea of the rule of three I could somehow keep my reflection short, things don’t always go as planned.  We are all works in progress and while I continue to connect, learn, share and act I will no doubt continue to revise. For now, this post is done and that is better than perfect.

Choice Words, Opening Minds- Peter Johnston Spoke to Me

The Two Writing Teachers March Slice of Life Challenge ended a few days ago, I am reserving my reflection on that amazing learning experience until I complete this series that I started to reflect on several days of professional learning.

This post is part of the series I planned and explained here in a prior post:

  1. Professional Development with Maggie Beattie Roberts from Teachers College Reading and Writing Project 
  2. Comsewogue School District Google Leadership Symposium
  3. Peter Johnston Conference
  4. Long Island Connected Educators’ Summit #CELI

Peter Johnston Conference

This was the second time I saw Peter Johnston present, the venues were very different.  When he presented at TCRWP it was in a larger, auditorium style room and this time at ES-Boces the room was small, the setting was more personal.  Even better I was with my two closest school friends and favorite reading specialists, Danielle Jacobs and Barbara Marsicano. They were with me when Peter Johnston spoke to me.

His talk related mostly to his more recent book, Opening Minds.  I already read this book but you should know this book, just like his book Choice Words it begs to be read and reread and reread.

Choice Words is a book that changed my life.  This book connects to my life not only as an educator, but also to my life as a mother and wife.  This book gave me time to pause and think about the words I choose when I talk.  I suppose that is just a little obvious from the title Peter Johnston chose for his book, Choice Words.  Funny thing about this though is that it requires constant practice to change my words and make purposeful choices in my words. It requires constant reflection and then thoughtful practice until the words become natural.  I am still working on this each and everyday, especially as a literacy coach—I think about what I will say before a meeting, and I reflect on what I said after the interaction.  Sometimes it works well and other times—I am still learning.

Peter Johnston began his discussion talking about four fundamental needs for humans.  I love how he looks at this as needs for humans, not just mentioning students.  I often think this way in learning, it is not just about how kids learn, it is about how humans learn.  This makes sense to me and although there may be slight differences in adult learners and children learners, essentially we are all human and it turns out our brains work mostly the same—so the generalization works.

Four Fundamental Needs for Humans

  1. A sense of autonomy
  2. A sense of belonging
  3. A sense of competence
  4. A sense of meaningfulness

Of course children and adults need these four fundamental things, it is a great place to begin when thinking about how we establish our reading and writing workshops in our classrooms and how we structure our professional development.

Meeting the Four Needs in Reading and Writing Workshop

1. Students have choice, voice and time in reading and writing workshop.  Students are in control of their own learning and we encourage agency and independence (autonomy).

2. In a reading and writing workshop we establish a community (belonging) where students feel safe to take risks

3. Teachers believe that students are readers and writers (competence).

4.  Students read and write for meaning (meaningfulness), there is a sense of purpose and significance to the way students engage in both reading and writing workshop.

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During the day Johnston referred to several quotes from Lev Vygotsky, and when I think about these quotes it makes me realize how critical it is that we are not just good educators, we are called to something greater, we have to be great.  These two quotes are the quotes that I have always carried with me, but seem to weigh heavier on me now, as I heard them spoke by Peter Johnston and as I read them on his slides.  He held these quotes from Vygotsky up and through his words I know it is not enough to just be good, that is not enough when you truly consider the gravity of these quotes.  I know I will always have to do more, more to reflect and move from good to great.

As I plan upcoming professional development in my building, in classrooms, in our professional learning community and with our staff developer I will hold these four fundamental needs for humans close in my mind.  I will have to move from just good in this area to something more.  Peter Johnston has spoke to me on this day.  The call is greater and I need to be greater.  If children grow into the intellectual life around them, as Vygotsky claims, then children are at the heart of it all and it is for them I must answer this call to be better.  I believe we all must answer this call to be better.

labsite with 106 Vygotsky quote

I am grateful to have others around me who can help me become myself, only better.  I am grateful for the work with my friend and staff developer Maggie Beattie Roberts, my friend and colleague Jeanne-Marie Mazzaferro and my friend and colleague Jenn Hayhurst and so many others who are part of my PLN.  It is through all these other people that I can become myself, only better.  Mostly in moving from good to great, I lean on Dr. Mary Howard, she is a leader in this domain.  Check out her book, Good to Great Teaching, you will see her passion,reflection and her support for teachers and students.

If you want to join me on this quest to move from good to great, answering Peter Johnston’s call and following Dr. Mary Howard’s lead there is a place for you. Jenn Hayhurst and I gather on Twitter to move from Good to Great with amazing educators who week after week show us how to move from good to great. Dr. Mary Howard joins in the chat and has been an amazing resource for all of us, always guiding us on this path.

Check out the #G2Great chat on Thursday nights where I co-moderate with @Hayhurst3 and @Dr.MaryHoward at 8:30 EST.

March 31, 2015 Day 31 Slice of Life Challenge

“God will put you in situations that make you stretch, make you grow, and make you spread your wings. You have too much potential, too much talent, too much more in you to get stuck where you are.” – Joel Osteen.

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As I write this last post from the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge, I find myself reflecting on several ideas. I came across this quote yesterday and it seemed to appear to me at just the right time.  This month long challenge has made me stretch, grow and spread my wings.  Thank you toTara, Stacey, Dana, Betsy, Beth, Anna and all my fellow slicers for reading and commenting on my posts over the last month.  Additionally, there are many family members, friends and colleagues who read my posts as I worked toward this challenge and spread my wings over the last month.  Thank you, just hearing “I read your post…” that made so many of my days and helped to push me along on this challenge.

In addition to this learning experience there were several professional development opportunities I was involved in last week that have also made me stretch grow and spread my wings.  I do believe it is important to give credit and a blog post to each event, because each one elevated my skills and thinking in different ways. I listed out these events in my day 29 post and I plan to write about each one beyond the March Challenge after which I will move to a weekly blogging practice.

I attended the Google Leadership Symposium at Comsewogue School District.  This school implemented one to one devices (Chromebooks) for all high school students in the previous school year.  In this school year they began using Google Classroom, this is being used in various ways from grade 3-12.  The day was organized especially well, it began with a keynote featuring Superintendent Dr. Rella, building administrators and district administrators, teachers and a Google representative, but the most amazing presenters were the students who were involved in the collaborative work around this initiative.  The collaborative nature that was built on trust and ownership was evident throughout the day. Everyone was a learner, and everyone was a teacher.  The collaborative nature of learning was evident, as was the safe learning environment that was established by the trust and the space that was made for practice for students, teachers and administrators.

In the opening keynote, a student shared this “Everyone you will ever meet will know something that you will not.”  The weight of this statement speaks to the learning experiences that I am reflecting on both as a learner and as a facilitator of learning.  This is a quite humbling statement and one that we all should keep in our minds.  We can learn something from everyone, when we open our minds to learning and growth.

We rotated through three different areas, each with different stations and learned from students and teachers as they showed us how they are using chrome books and GAFE (Google Apps for Education).  Students from grades 5-12 demonstrated for us ways that they are learning and using GAFE.  Below are some examples of the stations that we explored and learned from:

  • 5th grade students presented how they use Google classroom for writing while the other half of the class used Google Hang Outs on Air to answer our questions
  • 6th grade students demonstrated to us how they were learning to code Java Script on their Chromebooks
  • Middle School English language learners share how their Chromebooks assist them in their English language learning in an ESL class as well as content area classrooms
  • High School students demonstrated several more examples of how this initiative included collaboration
  • Student Help Desk
  • Workshops for the board/public
  • Technology roadshow
  • Clubs (Chromebook repairs- 7 Chromebooks repaired in 7 minutes)
  • Digital literacy
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Coding
  • Computer Science

Check out the website that the students created along with their teacher to provide support as well as create their own digital footprint and portfolios.  Students, teachers, administrator as well as anyone else can choose topics from the help desk to learn.  Here a student has created a You Tube Video to demonstrate how to organize Google Drive folders.

These students and educators truly inspired me with their collaborative nature and quest for learning.

Student Centered Classroom

March 30, 2015 Day 30 Slice of Life Challenge

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Making Choice and Time a Priority 

Last week our building hosted our staff developer, Maggie Beattie Roberts from Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.  As a TCRWP affiliate school, my building has been very fortunate to work and learn from Maggie for several years.  As a literacy coach I have learned so much from her over these years, she continues to push my thinking and supports my professional development as a coach.  After Maggie’s previous visit we reflected and brainstormed a bit and came up with a plan for these two days she would be with us. This plan provided for choice and time for teachers, similar to the choice and time we believe is essential to running successful reading and writing workshops.

Consistency has been critical in our literacy development as a building and along with consistency that Maggie and I bring to the building is also responsiveness to the building administrator and the teachers. Challenges we face are the size of the building and the number of teachers on a grade level, because it is a building where all the district’s 5th and 6th graders attend. Staff development involves around 18 teachers because we include special education, ESL and reading specialists in our training.  This most recent visit was an extra special treat because we had two days back to back scheduled.  We have been trying to think outside of the box and thought of ways to provide choice and time for teachers in a more individualized manner, meeting the teachers just where they were as we do for students.

This makes total sense of course.  We look at students, we consider their zone of proximal development, then give choice and time in order to develop literacy skills. In working in the same way with teachers we can set up important components that will best support their work as learners in their professional development.  I created a Google form based around topics that Maggie and I thought would meet the building, teacher and student needs.  Teachers received the link for the survey in their email and responded.  Google magic provided me with a response form that I used to create a schedule of study groups and labsites.  The schedule was a bit trickier than usual, but it worked out nicely and everyone received their 1st or 2nd choice.

Groups were set up around the following topics:

  • Test Prep: High Leverage Last Minute Strategies
  • Small Group Work in Writing: Revision in Informational Writing
  • Poetry Anthologies (5th) and The Sounds, Images and Ideas of Poetry (6th)
  • Planning Read-Aloud

Both days were successful and I received a lot of positive feedback from the teachers. So moving ahead I am following up with a new Google form and will plan my follow up work around the building.

This week in our professional learning communities we began our discussions sharing out work from the different groups.  Today two teachers who were part of the planning team around Poetry Anthologies (5th) and The Sounds, Images and Ideas of Poetry (6th) were in our PLC and shared the planning around the upcoming units.  During the planning session with Maggie we worked across the two different grades and curricular calendars.  Planning out an immersion bend for the unit was a great beginning.  We split into partnerships and planned out a poetry shop, a performance day and some centers and curated materials to share.  During PLC today we extended the work that we started with Maggie and teachers  are excited to begin this new upcoming unit.  Today teachers volunteered as the point person for certain responsibilities around the planning, implementation and celebration of this unit.  I am looking forward to watching this unit unfold and to the literacy celebration at the end.

Tomorrow in PLC I am looking forward bridging this work but also sharing out work from the small group sessions since some members of tomorrow’s PLC were in other groups.  For now, I will get that Google form sent out.  Solicit more feedback from teachers in ways that I can extend this work and also plan for the next two days we have Maggie back with us in May!

Time and choice need to be a priority for both students and teachers as we move forward in our teaching and literacy learning.  Forging ahead I will continue to push myself to ensure that teachers have the time and choice that will best support their professional learning and also their students’ literacy learning.

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