Over the next three days, I’ll be working alongside the super motivated educators at Solution Tree’s PLC Insitute in Charlotte. The goal for most of the participants will be to find ways to polish their collaborative practices in order to help kids learn. Together, teams from individual schools will study everything from the core beliefs that support learning communities to the nuts and bolts of making effective collaboration possible.
I’ll be delivering three different breakout sessions at the Institutes. Here are the materials for each session. Hope you find them useful:
Small Schools and Singletons: Structuring Meaningful Professional Learning Teams for Every Teacher
The PLC concept resonates with most educators, but making collaborative learning work in small schools or for singleton teachers can be challenging. In this session, participants will explore four different models for creating meaningful professional learning teams for singletons and teachers in small schools: The creation of vertical teams studying skills that cross content areas, designing class loads that allow teachers to teach the same subjects, using electronic tools to pair teachers with peers working in the same subject area, and using student work behaviors as an area of focus for nontraditional learning teams.
Participants in this session for singletons may also be interested in the following handouts that Bill created for his second PLC book, Making Teamwork Meaningful:
Building Interdisciplinary Teams – This tool is designed to help singleton teachers identify individual skills that cross content areas that can become the focus for collective inquiry on interdisciplinary teams.
What DO We Want Students to Know and Be Able to Do – This tool is designed to be used by teams of singleton teachers to answer the first key question of a PLC. It should help singleton teams to avoid Collaboration Lite and to spend time focused on Collaboration Right.
Four Tools for Electronic Learning Teams – For many singleton teachers, using digital tools to connect with peers who teach the same subject makes the most collaborative sense. This handout shares four tools that many electronic learning teams are using to do do the real work of learning communities.
Plug Us In: Using Digital Tools to Facilitate the Work of PLCs
For professional learning teams, collaboration can be nothing short of demanding. Developing – and then organizing – collections of shared materials, making important decisions, and communicating with colleagues across grade levels and departments often requires additional time that classroom teachers just don’t have.
As a result, many teachers question whether or not the costs of coordination outweigh the benefits of collaboration in Professional Learning Communities. In this session, full-time classroom teacher and Solution Tree author Bill Ferriter introduces participants to a range of free digital tools that 21st Century learning teams are using to make their collective work more efficient – and therefore, more rewarding.
We’re Meeting. Now What?: A Look Inside a Learning Team
For teachers on novice learning teams, collaborative meetings can be nothing short of overwhelming! Not used to making collective decisions, teachers can struggle to organize their early work together and begin to question the benefit of a school’s decision to restructure as a professional learning community. In this session, full-time classroom teacher and Solution Tree author Bill Ferriter explores the kinds of actions that successful learning teams take to make the most of their time together.
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