Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Demonstration Lesson

By definition a demonstration is a show or display; the act of presenting something to sight or view; "he gave the customer a demonstration." As I mentioned in my last blog, all WOW Days begin with a Demonstration Lesson. A teacher or coach from the grade level offers to host a lesson in their classroom to show/display how part of their day is conducted. This puts in plain sight the work of the classroom for all other teachers at that grade level to view.

The demonstration content is usually driven by the professional development focus of the day. For example, today part of WOW Day was based on skills-block, therefore Mrs. Mallon offered to host her Kindergarten team during her morning skills-block time. The observers quietly gathered in her room as her students dutifully gathered in the meeting area. The fast paced skills-block lesson full of ritualed activities built on phonemic awareness and phonics ran for 40 action packed minutes. The audience of teachers cheerfully beebopped to several familair tunes tweaked to teach letter sounds, blends, and rhyming words, and feverishly jotted notes as they quickly noticed ideas they wanted to encorporate in their own classrooms. Upon lesson completion, the students excitedly filed out of the room headed toward WOW Day, and the team of teachers converged on the conference room.

The lesson debrief conducted by a teacher leader on the team started with Mrs. Mallon providing a reflection of her lesson. After her reflection, teachers were given the opportunity to dialogue about warm comments...compliments to Mrs. Mallon about things in the lesson that went well and/or ideas that they could borrow from her to implement in their own skills-block. A working hum took over the room as these passionate teachers conferred about this outstanding demonstration. Dialogue then included questions that the teachers had, "When did you begin using letter blends?" "How do you know when to phase an activity out and bring another in?"

This team has built a community of learning, sharing, and collegiality. As an observer, I could clearly see that an atmosphere of trust was at the cornerstone of their work. They are truly committed to growing as a team with their focus on instruction for all kindergarten students. There is no feeling of competitiveness or isolation. Each teacher is there to improve their own practice by learning from the best practices of the group. This collegiality would be the envy of any teacher that feels they are not in a professional learning community.

To see more of Mrs. Mallon's classroom happenings, view her blog at

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