Three simple letters
One short little word
“For what purpose?”
“Help me understand!”
“For what reason?”
Why . . .
Never confused with my cousins
The other 4 W’s and the H
Who? What? Where? When? and How?
One little word that asks you to DIG deeper!
Requires time to reflect
Requires student work!
An amazing question: Why?
In order to have life-long learners, we must ensure that curiosity is front and center for our students. Students should be asking questions (and seeking answers) every day. (Ask and answer questions – CCR.RLK.1. Standard) Multiple questions. Every day. Wonderopolis may be a source of more student choice and voice in the topics explored. However, even during reading and writing workshop students need to be asking questions. Questions are a source of learning if one is confused, one is clarifying, one is making connections to real life. In student-centered classrooms, student questions should be as necessary as breathing if students are doing the work!
Why this instruction?
The instruction should support high levels of student learning. The use of scaffolds can ease the transition to more difficult strategies or materials, but the ultimate goal is that students will be able to independently DO the WORK! That means they need just in time instruction, that meets their needs, that increases in complexity and has student work and practice at the heart. No boring monologues, no arts and craft instruction, no mindless worksheets. Real questions generated by the students that they can and do answer.
Why this assessment?
Assessment that measures learning, moves students forward, and informs instruction has to be a part of the instructional cycle that has students at the heart or center. Educators must move beyond the “I have to use these assessments” to the ones that are pedagogically sound, that matter to students and provide clear evidence of student learning. That takes teacher advocacy and teacher depth of knowledge of instruction, assessment and curricula. There are no easy shortcuts in education and creating specific, engaging, real-world tasks are not easy but are so necessary for student learning.
The #1 Why: The Ultimate Goal
Not mere regurgitation
But taking ideas,
With the goals of
Shaping the World!
And their own Futures!
How do you use “WHY”?
Why do you do what you do?
Additional posts at Reflections on the Teche
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsey for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.
What is professional development?
Does your answer include a focus on student needs to drive decision-making, and student learning as the basis on which professional development is planned, implemented and evaluated? If your answer also includes a focus on Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, please keep reading. Leadership is also an important principle of professional development, whether it be the instructional leadership of the principal or the teachers within the building. Simultaneity is another important principle to continue as no one action in school improvement occurs in a vacuum. Participative Decision Making would be a final principal for ongoing sustained professional development designed to improve student learning.
Do those principles sound familiar?
In Iowa, they form the chevron at the top of the Iowa Professional Development graphic pictured here.
What are the core beliefs in this model?
o All students can learn.
o The purpose of professional development is to increase student achievement.
o Professional development should be collective learning by all teachers and administrators with an emphasis on improving instruction.
The cycle of professional development includes many familiar steps:
- Collecting/Analyzing Student Data
- Goal Setting and Student Learning
- Selecting Content
- Designing a Process for Professional Development
- and a mini-cycle that includes Training/learning opportunities; Collaboration/implementation; and Ongoing Data Collection/formative assessment
Cycles – Training/Learning, Collaboration, Formative Assessment . . . . .
With a focus on tight alignment between curriculum, instruction, and assessment, this model parallels many Professional Learning Community cycles including the functions of data teams. The “name of the organizing framework” is not nearly as important as checking to ensure that all elements are present within any professional learning group! Leadership needs to focus on how and when collaborative time can be provided so teachers can work together. The training includes modelling and gradual release of responsibility as the participants take over the leadership role.
Additional ideas from the Iowa Professional Development Model include:
To be able to transfer new learning into the classroom, teachers need multiple opportunities to see demonstrations, plan together, work out problems, rehearse new lessons, develop materials, engage in peer coaching, and observe each other.
Often, learning opportunities need to be interspersed with classroom practice so that questions that arise from early implementation efforts can be responded to in a timely manner.
. . participants are provided with multiple demonstrations of the teaching strategies within the model . . .[and] multiple
opportunities to practice the teaching behaviors. . .
Professional development must be designed to be sustained over time. The initiative must be designed to last until implementation data indicate that the teachers are implementing accurately and frequently and student performance goals are met. (Joyce and Showers, 1983, 2002; NSDC, 2001; Odden, et al., 2002; Wallace, LeMahieu, and Bickel, 1990.) https://www.educateiowa.gov/sites/files/ed/documents/IPDM_Guide.pdf