Over the next few weeks, I’ll be working alongside the super motivated educators at Solution Tree’s PLC Institute in Rogers, Arkansas and Madison, Wisconsin. 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 three different breakout sessions at the Institutes. Here are the materials for each session. Hope you find them useful:
Digital Tools Can Make Differentiation Doable
If schools are truly working to ensure success for every student, learning experiences need to be customized and aligned to student interests, needs, and unique learning styles. The challenge, however, rests in making differentiation manageable. While few teachers doubt the importance of differentiating, many struggle to make customized learning spaces a reality. William M. Ferriter introduces a range of digital tools that can be used to track progress by student and standard, provide structure for differentiated classrooms, and facilitate initial attempts at remediation and enrichment.
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. Participants explore four models for building meaningful professional learning teams for singletons and teachers in small schools: 1) creating vertical teams to study skills that cross content areas, 2) using interdisciplinary teams to address the engagement levels of at-risk students, 3) designing class loads that allow teachers to teach the same subjects, and 4) using electronic tools to pair teachers with peers working in the same subject area.
Our Students Can Assess Themselves*
In the spring of 2012, Canadian educational change expert Dean Shareski issued a simple challenge on his blog: “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?” Shareski’s challenge resonates with William M. Ferriter, who has always been dissatisfied with the grade-driven work in his classroom. He introduces participants to the tangible steps he has taken in response to Shareski’s challenge to integrate opportunities for self-assessment into classrooms.
*NOTE to ROGERS PARTICIPANTS: Bill has added a slide to the presentation that includes a link to a handout that you can use to facilitate a conversation within your school about whether you are creating Bushkraffts or Baljeets. Hope you dig it.
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.