Saturday, September 12, 2009

Early Release

Last Wednesday was our first Early Release professional development session of the year. That means that we had approximately 80 minutes of dedicated time for quality teacher instruction.
All English Language Arts teachers and their co-teachers attended FAIR, Florida Assessments in Instruction in Reading, training. There was a Kindergarten session led by dayle timmons, a First Grade session led by Rachel Bridges, a Second Grade session led by myself, and a Grade 3,4,5 session led in the computer lab by Jenny Nash. Our 80 minute session focused on the administration of the assessment. A follow up session will be held to focus on analyzing the results, printing the reports, and prescribing instruction in whole groups and small groups based on the results.

All 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th departmentalized Science teachers were led on an outstanding investigation of density of water in different states by "Rick Nye the Science Guy", Rick Pinchot. The group explored the scientific method and discussed the integration of math with science when doing hands-on labs. They also made connections to how the lesson they participated in together correlated with content they teach at 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. The time ended with a discussion on misconceptions and buoyancy as related to density. Scientific minds were certainly at work and the conversations the group had were very meaningful!

Tom Ruark, mathematician extraordinaire, led the 5th grade departmentalized math team in the analysis of student work and alignment to the standards. Comparing work to standards is always an excellent way to ensure student performance.

This first Early Release proved that one size did not fit all and thanks to the diversified leadership at Chets Creek, there were ample leaders to provide separate sessions to meet everyone's needs. I am convinced that just in time delivery and content focus is exactly what is needed in professional development to have engage teachers.

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