PLC-F Agenda: Feb. 17, 2011

Continuing our work from Feb. 3 and Feb. 9.

Playing for a Change

  1. Formative Assessment
  2. The Principal of Change: “You don’t get harmony when everyone sings the same note”
  3. Writing prompt: 
    Describe the journey of your PLC/PLT on establishing the essential learnings for an upcoming unit of instruction/learning?

    1. What are you and your team learning about Essential Learnings?
    2. How do you know that you are learning?
    3. What are we doing for those that are not learning or need more support?
    4. What are we doing to enrich learning for those that have reached a level of success?
  4. Revisiting Our Sentence
  5. Food for Thought:  Stop Sliding Away…

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About Jill Gough

Learner, Love Questions, Problem-finding, Math w/technology. Interests: Collaborating, PLC, Formative assmt
This entry was posted in Agendas PLC-F 10-11 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to PLC-F Agenda: Feb. 17, 2011

  1. Kristen Orsini says:

    What are you and your team learning about Essential Learnings?
    We are learning that ELs are not unique to individual units/chapters but rather cross over between units. For example, being able to ask questions is an essential learning whether it’s in a restaurant or in the metro.

    How do you know that you are learning?
    I feel like we are moving in the direction of some of the more established PLCs with ELs and learning targets. It also just “feels” right.

    What are we doing for those that are not learning or need more support?
    What are we doing to enrich learning for those that have reached a level of success?
    To be honest, I feel like all of our PLC members are more or less on the same page. Ted and I try to walk a fine line between guiding and dictating. We want them to have ownership, but we also try to gently guide them in the direction of what the other Westminster PLCs are doing.

    • tsadtler says:

      To the third question regarding support, I would add that the support comes in the form of the conversations that we are having re: essential learnings. We do not move on from a topic until all needs or concerns are addressed. Fortunately, our team is comfortable expressing unease with a topic. We address it and alter the game plan based on team affect.

      One fear I have is that there are concerns that are going unsaid. An easy way to mitigate that is with a quick poll. However, we are enjoying the forward momentum right now, so I think we’ll finish 1st semester ELs before we do another “temperature check.”

      • Kristen Orsini says:

        Yes, some team members seem to get annoyed with “temperature checks”, but I feel that a couple of people like to stop and reflect before charging ahead, although I am also enjoying our PLT’s forward momentum as opposed to the multi-month rubric development. 🙂

  2. Jennifer Lalley says:

    What are you and your team learning about Essential Learnings?

    (In History PLT we are making essential learnings for US History 7.) We are learning that essential learnings do not create standardized teaching, in fact they leave room for lots of variety in content and style for teachers. We are learning that we have more in common than we thought. I am learning that I have been leaving some things out that are essential. I am learning that in a group with seemingly little in common, we somehow easily come to agreement on EL’s in our discipline.

    How do you know that you are learning?
    In my most recent unit, I used the essential learnings to think about what I was going to cover. It was great to have specific questions to drive lesson planning, and it helped Kevin and I streamline our unit on “Change and Continuity.” Knowing that Fred is covering the same things but in a very different way feels like progress. We have also moved from “this is what I cover” to “what should we cover?”

    What are we doing for those that are not learning or need more support?
    Nothing yet–we need to reach out to those who are distant literally or figuratively from our meetings, but that feels hard. We need support here.

    What are we doing to enrich learning for those that have reached a level of success?
    We want to ask them to be in a PLC next year! We are not-so-subtly discussing this in our group.

    • Bo Adams says:

      Jen and Fred,

      See Kristen’s comment about “being able to ask questions is an essential learning whether it’s in a restaurant or in the metro.” This is so very much like what we talked about at the end of Hist PLC today (Thursday)…differentiating between ELs and learning targets/progressions. Fred even mentioned using notecards as a way to re-organize. Jen mentioned doing the “math/sci” method of sheets on the wall.

      • Kristen Orsini says:

        Jen,

        You wrote, “In my most recent unit, I used the essential learnings to think about what I was going to cover.” I think that is great, and my hope is for the Spanish PLT to write ELs that are independent of a textbook so that it is the ELs that drive the curriculum rather than a textbook.

        Kristen

    • tsadtler says:

      Jen,
      Amen! We are seeing in our ELs a template that could foster infinitely rich learning environments and experiences!

      Would it help the framing of your conversations if you move from “what should we cover” to “what will students learn?”

  3. Sam Gough says:

    1. What are you and your team learning about Essential Learnings?
    I think we are still struggling to write our learning targets as EL’s. Continued
    discussion within the group help us clarify and increase our understanding of
    EL’s.
    2. How do you know that you are learning?
    I hear statements that show a different mentality about the participants
    perception about what our students should be learning. I think we all listen to
    each other and learn from what has worked and not worked for various teachers.
    3. What are we doing for those that are not learning or need more support?
    To be honest, not much. We continue to try to discuss the various aspects of a
    PLC, but often I often feel that little progress is being made with some.
    4. What are we doing to enrich learning for those that have reached a level of
    success?
    I do not feel that any are at that point, although some of the participants might
    disagree.

    • Kristen Orsini says:

      Sam,

      You wrote, “I think we all listen to
      each other and learn from what has worked and not worked for various teachers.” I think it is important that we “learn by doing” and that we learn from our collective mistakes. I sometimes feel like something has to be perfect before I try it out with my class, but as Ted says, “Perfect is the enemy of good.”

      Kristen

  4. Mecia Israel says:

    We are beginning to learn how assessment and essential learnings (ELs) volley and compliment.
    We have created essential learnings and are beginning to create assessment alligned with the ELs. Next, we will revisit the essential learnings to create the learning targets on our ELs.
    For those of us needing support, we can use more advanced teams support of dialogue and ELs to guide us in our direction.
    I look forward to the day when we enrich our assessment plans and ELs with transferrable, soft skills and project based learning across curricula.

    • Bo Adams says:

      Mecia,

      Can you bring to 2/23 PLC-F the ELs and mini-assessments that your team is developing? These would be great artifacts to discuss.

      • Mecia Israel says:

        I will; our next steps are to use the mini assessments to guide us in writing the learning targets under our essential learnings.

    • Kristen Orsini says:

      Mecia,

      I think it is important that we remember that everything we do is a work in progress. Just because we finish the work of creating ELs one year, that does not mean that they remain static. As far as I am concerned, everything we do should be revisited and revised as needed.

      Kristen

      • Lauren says:

        Kristen,

        I could not agree more. As I’ve said before in one of our PLC-F meetings, the 8th PLT noticed almost immediately, upon taking a hard look at the writing ELs we developed last year, that there were significant changes that we would now make. Change is the constant; I think it’s just important that we continue to look, look, look at what we’re calling essential.

  5. boadams1 says:

    Describe the journey of your PLC/PLT on establishing the essential learnings for an upcoming unit of instruction/learning.

    What are you and your team learning about Essential Learnings?
    I believe we are learning about the challenging process of reducing the volume of content, so that we can concentrate much more energy on what learners are actually learning, retaining, and reflecting upon. I believe we are learning that there are MANY ways and methods (wrenches) for establishing ELs. I believe we are learning experientially that ELs must have leverage, endurance, and “next-step” power.

    How do you know that you are learning?
    Informal assessment through participation in the various PLCs. For instance, I saw LD and PD show the 8th grade ELs for the R&J station work. I saw an artifact developing in the way of an assessment plan and strategy for the stations. I have seen math-sci working on an EL wall and establishing scope and sequence of ELs in the two, related departments. I have seen the results of this mornings poll that 8 of 11 are at level 1 and 2, and 3 of 11 are at level 3 and 4. I have heard camp fire stories of facilitators borrowing wrenches from other facilitators – using post-its like other PLCs have used notecards and paper to scope and sequence common learning targets.

    What are we doing for those that are not learning or need more support?
    a. discussing in PLC-F so that we exchange stories, strategies, bright spots and frustrations. With 8 of 11 at a level 1 or 2, we (in my opinion) made the correct choice to keep the PLC-F on this topic of agenda.

    What are we doing to enrich learning for those that have reached a level of success?
    Good question! I may be failing here.

    • jgough says:

      Bo, I have heard it said that questions are the waypoints on the path to wisdom, and failure should be seen as just another opportunity to learn. The challenge is to find ways to work on common ground to support all of our learners. I think that the collection of artifacts will help us learn to plan to differentiate, intervene, and enrich.

      • Kristen Orsini says:

        I am still struggling with the difference between endurance, leverage, and readiness for next level when it comes to ELs. What is the difference? I wanted to have the Spanish PLT formatively assess our ELs based on those 3 qualities, but I don’t fully understand them myself.

      • jgough says:

        Kristen…I went back to my notes and found Doug Reeves’s slide that addresses endurance, leverage, and readiness. His slide has questions that we should ask. Does this help?

        Endurance
        Are students expected to retain the skills/knowledge long after the test is completed?

        Leverage
        Is this skill/knowledge applicable to many disciplines?

        Readiness for the Next Level of Learning
        Is this skill/knowledge preparing students for success in the next grade/course?

      • Lauren says:

        For what it’s worth, I love seeing the artifacts in our PLC-F meetings. Seeing/hearing explanations of tangible examples of what we’re all doing on the path to establishing ELs is probably the most effective thing for me as a new facilitator and as a learner in general.

        I think the artifacts are also a great reminder that what our students need and likely crave more often than we know are examples of others’ work to get them thinking and moving.

      • Kristen Orsini says:

        Thanks for the explanation, Jill. However, Ted and I read that slide the other day and we still didn’t understand what the difference was between the 3. It all sounded the same to us/me. We can talk more about it in person.

    • Kristen Orsini says:

      I take it back, Jill. I just re-read your comment and it is clearer than Reeves explanation. Thanks!

  6. Danelle Dietrich says:

    1. We are continuing to look at our EL’s across grade level. The team created overarching categories that were better umbrellas for the specific ideas covered in 6, 7, and 8. I know we are learning because we now know much more about who teaches what and the type vigor covered. This is where I struggle: how are we helping those who need support? In math we are about to try to help 7th grade teachers feel they can let go of some material because they are trying to do so much; much more than 6th or 8th. We have worked hard to have Science and Math work together because there are so many real world problems in which the subjects go hand in hand yet it is very difficult during this process to have us doing the same kind of work. We work together in the same room so we can ask questions of each other and so we can learn from each other but it is hard to find areas of overlap.

  7. mrslaurendavis says:

    Describe the journey of your PLC/PLT on establishing the essential learnings for an upcoming unit of instruction/learning?

    What are you and your team learning about Essential Learnings?
    We are bring reminded that it takes time to establish EL’s that really mean something to everyone on our team. We’re learning that it’s easy to get started on this journey of establishing EL’s, but harder to figure out where we stand in our progress.

    How do you know that you are learning?
    Through sharing artifacts with each other, we are aware of the work that’s going on in each of our PLT’s. It helps our team to see visible evidence of what’s happening in each group, especially in the way it reveals that we are approaching this task in different ways. As a facilitator, I appreciate these differences.

    What are we doing for those that are not learning or need more support?
    At this point, I feel that I can most help our group by reminding everyone of the “end” we’re going for…because we look more microscopically at EL’s in PLT’s, but then widen our scope as a PLC to uncover more 21st century EL’s, it is easy to become overwhelmed. I would like to help make sure we keep the task manageable at this point, at least until we collectively feel some sense of accomplishment.

    What are we doing to enrich learning for those that have reached a level of success?
    Honestly, at this point, I don’t think we’re doing much more than encouraging each other to carry on. I don’t feel we have yet reached a point where enrichment intervention is needed.

  8. Leslie Ann says:

    The English team , at least for the 7th of which I am a part, had a huge break through as we established our essential learnings for the God Teacher unit (there, I said it). We realized after an hour’s work that we had very diligently established only content understanding and had not touched the more global skills that we are after. The epiphany provided us insight about how easily we gravitated toward the more concrete, while the concrete is truly only a vehicle to the abstract skills we seek. Naming and claiming those skills is much harder work, but it is the work that transcends a single unit and knits the year into a whole experience.

    2. I know that we are learning because of that shift in thinking and the work we have done subsequent to that to name some of those higher order skills and put them I can statements.

    3. Lauren and I have not devised a plan yet to clarify some of the muddying I have been intentionally throwing out there. We have been asking our folks to see some of the more elemental learnings more as learning targets that scaffold toward more global essential learnings…To stop thinking in hidebound, traditional English teacher jargon and see how what we do …and rethink what we do in language that is accessible to all disciplines.

    4. I would love to think we are here, and perhpas some are! We need to do more with informal formative assessment to know better!

    • Bo Adams says:

      Y’all! Look at the COMMON GROUND among us!!!!!!!!! LAL speaks of “We realized after an hour’s work that we had very diligently established only content understanding and had not touched the more global skills that we are after. The epiphany provided us insight about how easily we gravitated toward the more concrete, while the concrete is truly only a vehicle to the abstract skills we seek. Naming and claiming those skills is much harder work, but it is the work that transcends a single unit and knits the year into a whole experience.”

      This is the SAME thing that Kristen said about “Questions” versus “restaurants.” Same thing that happened in Hist PLC – see comment I left in reply to Lalley. Same thing that LD speaks of. Same thing for Mecia and Science. I think it is same discussion that Sam references. Yippee. Common ground for ELs work! Now, for PLC-F does that highlight for us an EL about ELs?

      • Kristen Orsini says:

        Bo,

        I made the comment that in the Spanish PLT, our ELs are becoming more cross-themed. However, the draft of our ELs now seems more compartmentalized by theme/unit. I’m not sure what happened…I think I need to learn more about ELs vs. learning targets/outcomes.

        Kristen

      • Lauren says:

        As a PLC facilitator, I can demonstrate that the establishment of meaningful ELs often begins with a simpler outlining of content skills?

  9. Fred Young says:

    A. What are you and your team learning about Essential Learnings? We are learning that going through the process makes the task easier than one might think. We are also learning that while we thought our individual unspoken and assumed EL’s were “just fine, thank you,” they were incomplete in ways we would not have discovered had we not been collaborating on establishing a common list.
    B. How do you know that you are learning? The common EL’s themselves are more rounded out and we will make immediate changes in instruction and assessment based on them.
    C. What are we doing for those that are not learning or need more support? To be done.
    D. What are we doing to enrich learning for those that have reached a level of success? To be done.

    • Bo Adams says:

      Wow, Fred! What type of adaptations will you make from the ELs and assessment work? It would be great to talk about those as a case study. For instance, “We thought we would do…., but then we realized we would shift and do….”

  10. jgough says:

    We are learning that our Essential Learning are clearer to the learners if we convert them to “I can…” statements. We have also learned that some of our teachers want them written as “The student will…” statements. It is nice to have multiple representations of the same idea. Also, we know that we teach too much. Students request more time to learn and think deeply about the big ideas.

    We have evidence from our assessments that we are getting on the same page about what is essential to learn, how we will measure growth and progress, and how we will intervene and/or enrich the learning of our students on an individual basis. We have anecdotal data from both teachers and students about the impact of having essential learnings in written form and the impact on progress, planning, and assessment.

    For teachers that need more support, we are modeling the process. We discuss what we are learning; we ask for help to problem-solve for the children, and we share what we deem essential. We check on their progress and praise the small steps of growth.

    We are trying to find common ground in our essential learnings to integrate our courses vertically within our team and horizontally within our grade. We challenge ourselves to find connections and common ground to integrate and support learning for our children.

    We challenge ourselves to share the load instead of trying to teach it all. We are supporting each other’s work and are scaffolding the learning for our children.

    • Kristen Orsini says:

      Jill,

      I think it would be valuable for the Facilitators PLC to observe how you/others incorporate your ELs into class so that we can see how you use the EL language with students and at different stages of the learning process (pre and post assessment, for example).

      Kristen

      • jgough says:

        Kristen…I would love to share how we are incorporating our ELs into class. I think that the most influential way has been our common formative assessments with levels. Our learners self-assess their understanding and level themselves. It is a common occurence to hear my students report at the 20 minute mark using the language of the learning target and the level of formative assessment. Yesterday, RU said “I have learned to factor polynomials when the coefficient of a is greater than 1, and I want to know what level 4 looks like”.

  11. Bo Adams says:

    Numerous phrases and sentences stand out to me from the comments – stand outs that would make great artifacts and case studies to discuss from our various PLCs/PLTs. I will book mark this in Diigo and highlight. We need to enlist all the PLC-F team into Diigo for common reading/annotating.

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