If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I love to reflect on PDs and experiences I have as a way to set goals for myself and share the knowledge I learn. I recently went to a PD by Solution Tree with Brig Leane and I want to take some time to write for this purpose. I have been to other PDs by Solution Tree and have also been working with Kelly Harmon, and when she explained Marzano’s belief that every learner asks themselves four questions…how do I feel, am I interested, is this important, and can I do this, I realized why I am so invested in every Solution Tree PD I’ve been to. It is because going into the learning I feel excited because it’s always engaging, I am interested because it’s always relevant, it is important because it is always meaningful to my work with teachers and students, and I can do it because Solution Tree has practices to ensure we walk away with tangible things we can act on.
- The first idea I will implement is a simple one, but was so effective. Brig had us take a small section of our notes and write “Next Steps.” Periodically, he directed us to write in it and then pair up with a partner to share. Intentionally setting goals like this is something I plan to put into my own PDs and something I want to bring to teachers to do in the classroom with their own notes.
- Brig explained the 7 steps of the PLC Process: Define essentials, create SMART goals, use common formative assessments, engage in inter-rater reliability (co-grading), be transparent of results, create extension and intervention plans, and make changes to instruction. I think many PLCs within my district are becoming more proficient at defining essentials, creating goals, and using formative assessments, but I want to help improve the practice of taking results and enacting intervention/extension plans. Furthermore, I want to help instill a culture of anticipating these plans to be proactive not reactive. By helping teachers in a PLC to discover what worked and what didn’t we will break the sequence of just continuing to teach despite lost learners, and instead create a cycle of reflection, intervention, and changes to instruction.
- He also shared a Data Analysis Protocol that I plan to share with my PLC and campus teams as an effective way to analyze common assessments and move forward into intervention and enrichment ideas. I love that it starts with identifying the essential learnings and then asks teachers to discuss strategies used by teammates in an effort to improve one’s practice. This is a vulnerable thing to admit that something didn’t work for you, but did for someone else. I think doing this in a safe environment of a PLC will build trust and collaboration of the team.
Brig also shared some steps for PLCs just starting out. They include forming a guiding coalition, determine collaborative teams and set norms, start small and identify 1-2 essentials, create a shared vision, make time for common planning time, create intervention/extension time, read together, write clear targets with in class tracking, and finally create team products. These may seem like a lot, but I think so many teachers are already doing this, we just need to ensure we are doing them together, not in isolation. At his campus he began his PLC efforts at he explained, “the only thing teachers shared was a parking lot.” This was a powerful realization and although this process is not going to be perfect overnight, it is worth it!!
Lastly, here are a couple cool strategies he shared for teachers:
- The Lineup: I posted about this on my teaching IG, @taplinsteaching. Read and see directions here.
- Vocabulary Strategy: When students turn their test in, ask them to circle any word that is unclear. This is such great formative feedback for teachers and students.
- Revising Norms: I think this one could be used with teacher teams and in the classroom…When using norms, revisit them by asking team members to bring a norm that’s going well and one that can be improved upon.
I am looking forward to the next Solution Tree PD and the new ideas that will come out of it!
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