Thursday, August 28, 2014
Working on the Work
Strategic and embedded professional development focused on instructional observation, debriefing, and reflection is a significant part of our learning community. WOW (Working on the Work) Days happen on designated Wednesdays by grade level. A group of grade level teachers spend a whole day focused on their own professional learning and reflection while students circulate through our resources (Art, Media, Music, Character Ed, and Physical Education.) This frees the teacher for learning without having to develop sub plans and the young learners eagerly anticipate this special day of enrichment in the fine arts or planned theme-based unit. It’s a tradition entrenched in our work that gets a huge bang for the buck; one I would recommend for all schools.
Today was 4th grade WOW Day. In the intermediate school we are departmentalized so the ELA teachers spent the day together while their math/science counterparts did the same. The ELA lead, Mrs. Chascin kept her students for the first WOW rotation and hosted a Readers’ Workshop demonstration lesson in her classroom. Mrs. Phillips, the Math lead, did the same and hosted a Math Workshop lesson. As their colleagues observed, they took notes, read student work, listened to students articulate their thinking, and reflected on how their instructional practice aligns with the observed lesson. They then participated in a debrief session to share ideas, ask questions, and clarify learning.
After lunch, the ELA learning leaders focused on Achieves 3000 training, a new online resource our district has purchased this year, and the Math/Science learning leaders focused on Interactive Science Journals. The M/S folks did an article study on the topic, synthesized the information, reflected on their current implementation level, shared examples, asked each other relevant questions, and selected their next steps for implementation. In the truest sense of the word, they participated in a PLC to fine tune their classroom instruction.
I spent my day with the Math/Science team and to say that I was impressed with their collegiality is an understatement. This is the work that ultimately counts; Work that changes classroom practice with real kids in real classrooms with real teachers. There is No Place Like Chets…