The story of Thursday’s professional development session continues here. Yesterday you saw a fun activity with Instructional Strategies Brackets. Today’s post provides a window into “quality” of instruction!
Quality Instructional Practices
- How do teachers improve?
- How do they know what to improve?
- How can teachers be given an opportunity to rethink, reflect, and revise with support?
I have a solution for you . . .but as the author of this wonderful work warns . . .”This is not for the faint of heart!”
What is it? How do we recognize it?
One way: Look for great, good and bad instruction as defined by Mary Howard in her book Great Teaching: Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters. Chapter 1 is available free when you click on the sample tab HERE!
We used the window into classrooms where teachers guide us through a process of evaluating, adjusting, and elevating their teaching. This grade 5 example of an initial teaching sequence (from the free chapter one) began our conversation.
Teacher leadership teams time read the scenario, recorded some examples in columns for “Great, Good, and Bad” and then discussed their thinking with colleagues. Conversations were rich with text examples often cited (close reading!).
We then looked at “What did this teacher define as “Great, Good and Bad” in her initial teaching sequence?” (You will note that we have flipped the form as we want everyone to reread the GREAT column many times.) The teacher columns looked like this and we made sure to note that the learning includes the conversations about the instruction and not an evaluation.
Because the teacher in this scenario was going to use the lesson with another group of students, she wanted to improve it and she had the good fortune to be discussing her lesson with Mary Howard. After reflection the teacher decided to change several things to make her instruction more effective that included:
“Teach vocabulary at a different time.
Check in at mid-point with small groups
Make an interactive anchor chart.
Add sentence starters to thinking and anchor charts
Teach a whole group Mini-Lesson to teach the “form” to everyone and free up more group time
Use a National Geographic magazine for students at lower level to access same work
Record 3-5 details at end of day for reminders the next day”
Follow-Up Teaching Sequence
There is an “after” narrative in the chapter that we asked our folks to read and then discuss what changed for the students and the learning. Here is the teacher’s view of the follow-up instruction.
Please note that this activity was not about “putting the right descriptor in the right column” as the learning focused on “how do you define and describe great” and what changes were implemented in order to improve instruction? As well as, “How do you planfully work to increase the quality of instruction every day in your classroom?”
Focus questions: How are you using the time instructional time that you have? How are you increasing the GREAT Quality Instructional Practices in your classroom?
And remember Chapter 1 of Great Teaching: Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters is available free when you click on the sample tab HERE!
Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy at “Two Writing Teachers” for creating a place for us to share our work.