Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I'll remember. Involve me, I'll understand.

As a coach, my role includes setting up learning opportunities for teachers. Sometimes that means me going in and modeling for them, sometimes it means co-teaching along side them, and sometimes it simply means providing them with an opportunity to visit in a colleague's classroom.

Earlier in the week, the new 2009-2010 Second Grade team met for a day of planning. That day was a great opportunity to set up expectations and answer questions, but it didn't provide a glimpse into another teacher's classroom.

Because there are several teachers coming from the intermediate school into the primary school, and I know that the biggest difference in ELA is skills block, I wanted to set up an opportunity for them to see inside a primary colleague's classroom. So, I set up a demo in a co-teach classroom for the day after the New Team TDE.

The teachers and I went to watch the co-teach duo, Maria Mallon and Cheryl Dillard because they have an incredible interactive fast paced skills block.
Skills block began with students gathering in the meeting area, they recited their class promise, sang a letter combination song, did a shared reading song, completed a morning message to reinforce punctuation and spelling, and then played a word wall game. The game reinforced rhyming words, homophones, and common spelling patterns, to name a few. Next, they quickly reviewed the playing of a bingo spelling game with the ar, or, er, ur, ir spelling patterns, and set off to play the game with a partner.

The visiting teachers watched this fast paced interactive skills block, asked questions, looked at artifacts, and jotted notes. Then, we debriefed the 30 minute observation. All in all, I think the teachers thought this was a valuable use of their time, and as a coach, an easy way for me to give teachers a glimpse into a strong instructional practice. When they see it, they will remember, and as I work with them in their own classrooms next year, they will understand the impact this practice will have on their student's learning.


Mrs.Mallon & Mrs. Dillard said...

Skills block gives us the chance to fill in the blanks of language arts. The quotes, nouns, homophones, contractions...all stuff they love learning about. They sing, dance, and chant to the learning songs and charts that we review. We want to provide a strong foundation and a love of learning for their future years. You are always welcome in our class! MM

Anonymous said...

I really like what you did here; you not only gave a written example of what you're doing, but a visual example of what the students were doing. It's not as good as me being able to visit someone else's classroom myself, but it is better than me thinking I'm all alone.

I wrote a little bit about this at my blog today, too.

Mark Pennington said...

Terrific teachers. I love the skills block idea because it is so fast-paced. It also provides opportunities for differentiated instruction. Here's one that I developed, working with intermediate teachers as a reading specialist, that differentiates fluency instruction-fast paced and rigorous like your activities: