Tag Archives: Good to Great Teaching

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 8 – Increasing Learning


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Today’s story is the final installment in this week’s recounting of a focused professional development opportunity that our literacy team developed and delivered that included Quality Instructional Practices, ELA Iowa Core Standards and Assessment for Learning.  To recap, the first post began with much Anticipation on Day 5.

anticipation

And then based on learning with Dave Burgess, Teach Like a Pirate, I shared the Instructional Strategies Bracket on Day 6 that Dyan Sundermeyer created and used to refocus attention on common strategies in a building.

bracket

On Day 7 I shared the work that we did around Quality Instructional Practices based on scenarios in Chapter 1 of Dr. Mary Howard’s Book.

Good to Great Teaching cover

So for those of you that live and breathe in the world of professional development or coaching, here are a few more details to whet your appetite.

Modeled Grade 5 Scenario 

The scenario you read about yesterday was used on our second day with leadership teams.  The thinking behind the grade 5 scenario was modeled after everyone had a chance to read and reflect (gradual release of responsibility) Then participants had a choice – scenarios from first grade, third grade or even title 1.  Their task was to read the initial scenario and record the “Great, Good and Bad”, reflect on some questions, read the follow-up teaching scenario and consider the deliberate changes made by the teacher to move more actions to “Great”. At that point the teachers and administrators found a partner in the room and talked about the scenario and their understanding of the teaching sequence, student learning, and teacher changes.  (Each scenario was color coded so it was easy to find a partner with the same color pages.)

Deepened Understanding of the Iowa Core ELA Standards

Our PD work continued with looking at two specific ELA standards through the K-5 range and considering these questions. How do they build on the previous grade level learning? What do they require of teachers?  What do they require of students?

  • Anchor Standard RL.3:  Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
  • Anchor Standard RL.7:  Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

Close Reading of the Scenarios

Participants ended the “Standards Learning” portion with an application piece.  Here was their task:

standards in MTSS

The teachers and administrators reread the scenario through the lens of “which standards” and then checked for grade level standards on those color coded documents.  Possible answers for grade 5 include: RL.5.10, W.5.10 and SL.5.1.

Assessment for Learning – Learning Targets

Time was going to be an issue so our plan was to just begin with Learning Targets and provide an opportunity for our participants to work on those before we meet again.  I’m going to stay with the “plan” as time did necessitate some shifting. We had some learning around the big definition of “Assessment for Learning” including Learning Targets and the fact that “clear goals” is .75 Effect Size (Hattie). Clear learning goals are absolutely essential for learning and assessment but we did not go into the difference between “goals” and “targets” at this time.  Here is how the scenarios were used for the third time (close reading).

learning tasks

And the finale learning activity for the session involved watching a video of classroom instruction and in a triad looking for 1) “Great, Good and Bad; 2)Iowa Core ELA Standards and 3) Learning Targets. Can you identify the iterative nature of our work?

How do you have teachers grapple with the HOW – Quality Instruction and the  WHAT – ELA Core Standards simultaneously?

How important is our design of GREAT work?

How do you model GREAT work in your PD?

Professional Development – Always a work in progress . . . Our state model

Iowa PD Model

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 7 Quality Instructional Practices


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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!”

QUALITY?

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!

Good to Great Teaching cover

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.

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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.

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Teacher Reflection

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:

  1. “Teach vocabulary at a different time.

  2. Check in at mid-point with small groups

  3. Make an interactive anchor chart.

  4. Add sentence starters to thinking and anchor charts

  5. Teach a whole group Mini-Lesson to teach the “form” to everyone and free up more group time

  6. Use a National Geographic magazine for students at lower level to access same work

  7. 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.

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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!

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