Friday, November 30, 2007

Virtual Boardwalk

In an earlier post, I described the standards-based bulletin board and Boardwalk. Yesterday, the 2nd grade team and I tried a new practice and held a Virtual Boardwalk. Why did I do this? On occasion, we've been strapped for time when physically walking the boards and not every teacher could get up close to the piece of student work we were discussing. The walk sometimes did not yield the deeper conversation and reflection I had hoped. So, I thought, why not try doing it differently.

Several of our coaches had developed a bulletin board focus walk form so teachers could preview the boards before taking the actual Boardwalk with the grade level. So, I stole their form and copied two forms for each 2nd grade ELA teacher. There task before our next meeting was to preview a colleagues board, fill out the questionnaire, and be ready to introduce the board during our Virtual Boardwalk. I also had each of them preview a 1st grade board to generate new ideas of where their work could go.

In the meantime, I snapped pictures of each of their boards. I took one overall picture and one picture of a piece of student's work. I pulled the student's work and commentary off the board to copy and create a packet. The packet would allow the teachers to have the work in front of them for discussion at the meeting. After making the packets and taking the pictures, I pasted the pictures in a Powerpoint in preparation.

For the Virtual Boardwalk held in the administrative conference room, I set up the computer and projector to display the pictures. We walked through each board with the visuals and the teachers introduced their colleagues board. Our dialogue was rich and focused on student work. We also talked about implications to our pacing guide for the next year, and several teachers walked away with new lesson ideas they were going to take immediately back to their classrooms.

In my opinion, this Virtual Boardwalk was a great success. The teachers now have a deeper understanding of the importance of the boards, and will be using the boards to analyze student work which is the main purpose of the board. And, can you get any better than directly impacting student instruction during a short teacher meeting?

1 comment:

dayle said...

I'm not sure people on the outside realize how much our work with bulletin boards deepens our conversation. Debriefing bulletin boards is really another way to bring student work to the board for group discussion. I love that you were willing to take a risk and do something to get to the deeper dialog. Great idea for a teacher meeting! dayle