Over the next few days, I’ll be working alongside the super motivated educators at Solution Tree’s PLC Institute in Atlanta. 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 collaboration more efficient and effective.
I’ll be delivering four different breakout sessions at the Institutes. Here are the materials for each session. Hope you find them useful:
How to Use Digital Tools to Support Teachers in a PLC
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. Participants will also discuss ways that tools that facilitate collaboration can be used to make differentiated instruction doable.
Using Digital Tools Quick Guide – A series of tools for facilitating collaboration between teachers.
BYOD Quick Guide – A series of tools for facilitiating learning in a BYOD classroom.
Teaching the iGeneration Quick Guide – A series of tools for facilitating learning with technology.
#kinderchat and @mattBgomez – Oftentimes, participants in this session want to see examples of digital tools being used in primary classrooms. The best source for those examples is the #kinderchat hashtag and Texas Educator Matt Gomez.
For more information on using digital tools to facilitate collaboration or classroom instruction, check out Bill’s newest books —How to Use Digital Tools to Support Teachers in a PLC and Teaching the iGeneration (2nd Edition).
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.
Our Students CAN Assess Themselves
In the spring of 2012, Canadian educational change expert Dean Shareski issued a simple challenge on his blog when he wrote, “So I’m wondering if you’re ready to let your students assess themselves. Not as some experiment where you end up grading them apart but where you really give the reigns over to them?”
Dean’s challenge resonated with Solution Tree author and sixth grade teacher Bill Ferriter, who had always been dissatisfied with the grade-driven work being done in his classroom. This session will introduce participants to the tangible steps that Bill has taken to integrate opportunities for self-assessment into his classroom as a result of Dean’s challenge.
Nicole Ricca has developed a unit overview sheet for Kindergarteners that she is giving away for free on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Read more about Ms. Ricca’s work with unit overview sheets here on her blog.
Download Ms. Ricca’s unit overview template here on her Teachers Pay Teachers page.
We’re Meeting. Now What?!
For many teachers, professional learning team meetings can be nothing short of overwhelming! Not used to making collective decisions, teams struggle to organize their work together and begin to question the benefit of a school’s decision to restructure as a professional learning community. In this session, participants explore the kinds of tangible structures that learning teams must have in place in order to make their meetings successful.
For more information on structuring high functioning Professional Learning Communities, check out Bill’s books — Building a Professional Learning Community at Work – A Guide to the First Year and Making Teamwork Meaningful.
And don’t forget: You can read all of my PLC related posts on the Radical by clicking on this link.
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