Category Archives: Presentations

Introducing Common Core Reading Skills to Teachers [ACTIVITY]

In April, I’ll be delivering a two-day training session in California that is designed to introduce science and social studies teachers to the role that they can play in implementing the Common Core.

My goal is to help skeptical teachers better understand the kinds of literacy skills that the Common Core expects students to master and then to identify activities that can be easily integrated into the work that they are already doing in their classrooms.  Given my extensive background as a middle grades language arts teacher and my current position as a middle grades science teacher, I’m having a ton of fun pulling materials together for this workshop.

If you are working to help teachers better understand the Common Core, you might be interested in the activity that I plan to open my workshop with:

http://bit.ly/CCSSNationalStandardsActivity

In it, participants wrestle with whether or not national standards are a good idea for America by exploring a New York Times Room for Debate segment that spotlights several different perspectives on the issue.  While reading, participants are asked to complete four different tasks ranging from finding common arguments in the positions of different authors and identifying tangible evidence used to defend those arguments to spotting gaps in the logic of each author and summarizing what they’ve learned.

All of the tasks are tied directly to one of the Common Core Literacy in History/Social Studies standards, making them perfect for introducing teachers to the core behaviors that students should be mastering as readers of nonfiction content.  Better yet, all of the tasks are likely to be approachable to science and social studies teachers because this is the kind of work that we’ve done informally with our students for years.  My hope is that once participants see a tangible example of a Common Core lesson in action, they will be FAR less intimidated by the thought of incorporating more literacy work into their daily planning.

If you decide to use this with your teachers, I’d LOVE to hear how it works.  More importantly, I’d love to hear how you modify it to make it better.

____________________

 Related Radical Reads:

Teaching Nonfiction Reading Skills in the Science Classroom

Teaching Innovation with the Curiosity Box

More on Teaching Innovation with the Curiosity Box

Presentation Materials: Solution Tree #atplc Institute

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

Download Session Materials

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

Download Session Materials

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

Download Session Materials

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.

You can also find my PLC related posts on the Radical here and download a TON of free handouts from my PLC books here and here

#enjoy

___________________

Related Radical Reads:

The Power of PLCs

Five Resources for School Leaders Starting PLCs from Scratch

These are OUR Kids

Presentation Materials: Solution Tree #atplc Institute

Over the two weeks, I’ll be working alongside the super motivated educators at Solution Tree’s PLC Institute in Minneapolis and Pasadena.  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

Download Session Materials

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.

Plug Us In:  Using Digital Tools to Facilitate the Work of PLCs

Download Session Materials

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

Download Session Materials

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.

You can also find my PLC related posts on the Radical here and download a TON of free handouts from my PLC books here and here

#enjoy

___________________

Related Radical Reads:

The Power of PLCs

Five Resources for School Leaders Starting PLCs from Scratch

These are OUR Kids

2013 Thinking and Learning Conference – Day 4 Materials

Here are my session materials for day four of the 2013 Thinking and Learning Conference in Melbourne.  Hope you find them useful:

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 reins over to them?” Dean’s challenge resonated with author and 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.

Writing Student Friendly Learning Targets

Instructional experts from Bob Marzano and Judith Chappuis to Rick Stiggins and Larry Ainsworth have argued something that good teachers have known for years: Involving students in assessing their own mastery of classroom content has a direct impact on mastery and achievement. The challenge, though, is that standards documents are often intimidating to parents, students AND teachers! This presentation is designed to show teachers how to tackle this challenge, breaking state standards into learning targets that can be easily understood by the parents and students of your classrooms.

Is Learning Really Easier Today?

One of the most popular misconceptions about life in the 21st century is that learning is automatically easier simply because the Internet makes ideas and information easier to access. The truth is that having access to more information doesn’t automatically mean having access to better information – or knowing how to access information efficiently. In this presentation, participants are introduced to the key challenges of managing information in a world where content is easy to come by.

 

2013 Thinking and Learning Conference – Day 3 Materials

Here are my session materials for day three of the 2013 Thinking and Learning Conference in Melbourne.  Hope you find them useful:

Enhancing and Amplifying Pedagogy with Digital Tools

Caught in the grips of change that is at once urgent and poorly understood, educators interested in creating 21st century learning environments often lose sight of the fact that there is nothing inherently magical or revolutionary about technology. Technology is only magical and revolutionary when accomplished teachers find ways to make learning more efficient and effective with new digital tools and services. In this session, participants are introduced to a process for making choices about the role that technology can and should play in their classrooms and schools.

Why Twitter Matters

Exploding on the social media scene in July of 2006, Twitter – a microblogging service that allows users to publicly share and follow short, 140-character messages with one another – has rapidly become one of the most popular online destinations on the Web. Sadly – thanks to a sea of politicians posting naughty pictures and celebrities pumping their own egos – Twitter is often poorly understood. In this session, designed for Twitter beginners, participants are shown just how important Twitter can be to professional educators.

Kids, Blogs and Causes

No matter how old they are, our students WANT to make a difference in their world. Using digital tools to raise awareness about important issues – a process known as clicktivism – is a great strategy for tapping into that desire to get involved and a great way to incorporate traditional academic skills into real-world activities that resonate with kids. In this session, participants are introduced to the role that blogs can play in classrooms committed to causes AND the curriculum.