Friday, July 24, 2015

Components of a high functioning PLC

Based on the research and our experience here is how I believe a high functioning PLC operates:

  • Analyze and unpack the state standards into manageable topics or what we like to call "I Can Statements." These precise topics range in number from 12-24 in total.  Anymore than this will be unmanageable when you begin to develop assessments, rubrics, and analyze the data. 
  • Develop a scope and sequence as to when you will cover the material found within each standard.  The scope and sequence will likely change throughout the year, but the group should at minimum establish guidelines as to when the topic will be taught and assessed.  
  • Begin developing assessments that target each of these I Can Statements.  Robert Marzano believes that we should assess each of these topics at least three times to gauge a student's level of mastery. 

  • After the assessment for an I Can Statement has been created we should then move to the development of a rubric that will measure mastery of the topic. 
  • As the team begins to develop rubrics, a very important conversation about proficiency levels should occur. Most of the research suggests a scale with at least four levels. 
  • Administer the assessment together and analyze the student data.  Begin developing student groupings based on the proficiency scales to establish intervention and enrichment activities.
  • Change instruction based on the results from the data collected.  Reassess and chart progress towards proficiency.  

I may have missed some steps, but these are the key components of a high functioning PLC in my mind.  


Monday, July 13, 2015

Individualized learning for adults

We continue to develop a culture of individualized learning for our teachers.  Below is our latest rendition of what we call the professional learning plan.  Teachers will choose their professional learning that is aligned to improving student engagement.  Teachers will decide what they will focus on for the upcoming year and align it to one of the following domains: movement, student groupings, technology use, hands-on activities, and quality teacher to student relationships. As a PLC, teachers will complete the document below and develop their goal. Within the third document below you can see there is a considerable amount of time devoted to this plan.

How is your district making professional learning more meaningful for teachers?

Here is a link to the documents: Professional Learning Plan

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Does wealth bring happiness?

The past month has been a whirlwind.  I had the opportunity to spend 9 days traveling through the country of Peru with 30 of our students.  It was a wonderful experience and the kids were great! It was eye opening and something I will never forget.  I am grateful for this opportunity.

As we traveled from Lima to the highlands within Peru I began to wonder about the overall happiness of the Peruvian people.  Does wealth bring happiness? I think we often judge happiness in America by the amount of material wealth a person has obtained.  I personally know some very unhappy people that have an overabundance of material wealth.  The level of poverty is extreme in many areas within the country of Peru, but the people seemed very happy. I felt comfortable and very safe throughout our journey.  This experience has made me appreciate our way of life and it has broadened my thinking.

If you are interested in reading about our journey you can check out Mr. Leier's Blog or view my Instragram pictures.