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You must be logged in to comment.Please use the comments for discussion and to contribute your reviews, perspective and thoughts. Jolly is currently working as an Educational Consultant to establish professional learning communities inschools and in districts.
She has served withnumerous groups as a consultant, including the STEM Initiative, writing units, connecting math, and science, and engineering.
And so,I bring to you this afternoon, especially those of you, how many of you downloaded your material? Thank you so much fordoing that, because I know that Anne’s presentation was built around those handouts. And so, she has a little reservation because she’s had to dance in preparing for the last crowd that did notdownload their handouts.
I can talk Southern, but I’m really trying really hard to make this kind of fit in where I am. Isthere anybody that you cannot see a set of that, really, I mean, the presentation is seriously built around a set of tools that I’m going to introduce you to.
Now what I did in the last group,instead of showing the PowerPoints, I just, you have the PowerPoints. I caneither show the PowerPoints, which you, the copies of the latest ones which you have right here, or I’ll show the tools, which were the handouts that were on the Internet. The first thing that I want togo over with you, actually, I do need to go to the PowerPoints for this, if you ran off the PowerPoints, I’m not sure you have this set. When I found out that I did not have a group of 60 people allday around tables, it necessitated a change in my presentation.
So I changed the PowerPoints, and I added some additional tools, can I see this just a minute, which are online. You know, you may not know, you may have run them off already and may not know that these, you know, there were some different ones upthere. Did you know that your ninth-graders today, you don’t know right now what jobs are going to be available in the workforce when those leave. Your kids have to learnto read, and write, and compute, but they’ve got to learn to learn.
They have to know what kind of, how to keep learning the new skills and things that they need in a digital society for ever-changingoccupations. So the best we can do is prepare them to be able tolearn and address these kinds of things.
Now I call theseprofessional learning teams because, in my paradigm, here’s what that looks like. The teams were the small groups of teachers in a school who met together regularly to study and to learn.
JOLLY: I would call it aspecial learning team, except I worked at a school, I worked at this school, and they called them impact teams.
If you call this professional learning community in yourschool with us, you used that language. The first thing I want to prepare you to do today is, how do you approach, you know, this initiative? It’s going to be how to work with a group ofpeople sitting theater-style to help you understand how to get this initiative up and moving in your schools. By the way, here’sanother non-negotiable with me, and I think it should be with all professional learning communities.
We start out with a group of teachers, and we want them to go from being, you know,isolated teachers to being a team and be real happy about it.
So what I want to go over with you today isthis, that I want to give you some tips, and tools, and information, and all these tools are online, so just keep that in mind, for planning and implementing the teams, for guiding successfulmeetings, for sustaining the progress over time, for monitoring the teams and their work, and, going backwards, because I skipped the first part, no, I didn’t. Then, after you organize, they have to get together, and they have to make some sort of plans about, what are we going to do in these teams?
And how are we going to determine what kind of behaviors that we’re going to use as we work together? How do we teach these teachers to sustain progress over time, and to monitor teams and the work that they do?
You want to know where your teachers are when they start, you want to know where they are when they get, you know, a quarter into this, and so forth, and you want them to know. But you give them this, and this is just a little ten point yes, you know, survey scale, with questions, such as, I’m familiar with the reasons for teacherscollaborating on classroom instruction.
And what this will do for your high school teachers is give them an opportunity to look at some literature, get back together, and then tell each other whythese are important.
In the meantime, you’ll notice that the rest of these deal somewhat with feelings, how they feel now about professional learning teams.
Sometimes these are a little higher initially than they are a month into it, and then they start growing again. Number 12, I put down, we need a realistic wayto work together to meet the needs of special education students. When you do this in your or when you’re leading workshops, feel free to make it fit the situation.
You’re going to need to look at your schools and see what it is that you need to change about the handouts. Now the reason that you would use this when teachers came in is because, you know, we have a consensus a little bit over here that here and here, around number one, whichsays, we need a way to increase student achievement.
Professional learning teams or learning communities or whatever your terminology is is the way that we’re going to get there, because this is aresearch-based outcome. So you can already start setting the stage in their heads for the fact that these teams are going to be valuable.

Now one that seems to be of interest to most teams and it works well toget teachers engaged with the idea of professional learning teams is an activity that I gave you in your handouts, and I break it into two cards. I don’t know if you can see this or not, but let me ask you to just jot down a couple of ideas. If you would want to be on the professional design team, then what you need to do isthink of some things that will facilitate and help teachers, and support teachers, as they work together, you know, in collaboration. Or if you want to be on the sabotage team, then you would worktogether to undermine that initiative. So sometimes that looks like pretty well what you’ve got, you know, in schools attimes.
Now imagine yourself in these two teams, all right, and your own chart paper, and you’re mapping this out with your teams.
They’re already thinking about it orthey may be thinking about things that could happen that would make these teams unsuccessful, if you wanted to sabotage.
If you’re working with administrators, I would leave this particularterminology here just like it is.
I would say, putconditions, and I would change this word to behaviors, in place that would make this not work. So this isgoing to engage them a little bit in thinking about these teams, what might make them work, how could they work, what are they, what needs are they going to meet, and should help you lay thegroundwork for this.
Now the second thing that you need to do then, the teachers really needto know what this is going to look like. First thing I would have them do is say, okay, what do youdo in your team meetings now, in your department meetings? And so, everybody at the table makes a list, even if they’re not in the same department.
Your idea is that you want to tie as much good stuff that they do to these team meetings as you can.
I had second thoughts, went back up with a second set of tools, and I put it up there, so you can find it up there now.
If you want one on another subject area, history, math,something like that, you can e-mail me for that and adapt it as you want to. So if you do this, I didn’t want you to do it without coffee cups, so these are online too.
Now these teachers are, just for the purposes of this skit only, these teachers are middle schoolteachers. Now Maria has also volunteered today to keep the log,because you will need one of those in each of your team meetings. And on the overheads you have a copy of, you will see a slide that says, this is a highly contrived skit.
And what I want you to do as you listen to it is to go through and identify the different team components that you see that you think aremaking this meeting successful or maybe that stand out as being a little different, okay. This team has met about three times already, and they’re focusing onreading in the content area as a cross-middle school curricular thing. SUE: Several weeks ago, we kicked off our learning team by analyzing several types of data for ourstudents.
So we decided to learn how to help our kids understand what they read in their subject area text.
We’re going to start by using a book that has some research-basedideas that may work for us. This gives me a way to diagnose when their comprehension is breaking down, and it gives me ideas forspecific strategies for helping them conquer those problems. While we’re in the process of diagnosing our students’ individual readingproblems, should we go ahead and start using some of these reading strategies in our classrooms? I’ve scanned the book, and there are severalstrategies that I think would help all of my students. JOLLY: Now team members discuss the various strategies that they coulduse with their students, and they agree to begin by using pre-reading strategies.
Do you want me to look for more information on pre reading strategies before our next meetingand come up with additional suggestions for how to use these in our classrooms?
One of our teachers, Miss Duke, conducts workshops onreading comprehension strategies for secondary students. JOLLY: So the team members like that idea, the idea of invitinga fellow teacher to come in and be a resource for them throughout the year. While we are doing that, we will also learn some other ways of helping them to get ready to read a selection from their textbooks.
What if the principal comes in and says, hey, John, what are you doing to help your kids with reading? Hey, did you guys read the copy of last week’s log that we e-mailed to the principal?
JOLLY: Theteam members agree that sharing logs is a good way to build a sense of community within the faculty, and to share ideas and teaching expertise. Hey, speaking of communicating, didyou see that several teachers from other learning teams replied to the log we e-mailed?
The science team even asked us to share some ideas with them for helping their students understand sciencetextbooks.
How are we going to know that the strategies we use really help our students understand what they read?
JOLLY: The team discusses different kinds of evidence that they could collect, and John volunteers to call the reading specialist for some additional ideas and bringthem back to the next team meeting. JOLLY: The team agrees that a webpage would be a valuable resource and that continual learning is an important concept that they can model for their students.

We’re going to focus on two areas, diagnosing specific reading difficulties our students have and working together on some pre-reading strategies. John is going to get somemore information on pre-reading strategies before our next meeting. Kris will draft a checklist to help us get started with assessing our students’ difficulties. I will ask Miss Duke to meet withour team, and I’ll also see if I can observe her using some pre-reading strategies. Maria will talk to the reading specialist and get some ideas on how to tell if we’re making a difference forstudents. What did you see going on in this meeting that you think was different or that helped make it successful?
At this point, you could possibly say to your teachers, in your regular meetings, do you share things, you know. In other words, you want, remember the meetings that you had on, you know, right, think about. Looking at research and seeing what’s working and then trying those strategies is important.
The idea wasthat there’s support there from other team members, and there was a layer of trust. I’ve got some amazing examples of the kinds of trust thatteachers began to have school-wide with one another as this, yes, in the back? But what you’re trying to do here is build teams that have the capacity to do this themselves.
WOMAN: Collaboration within their, I mean, you saw different disciplinesworking together on the same problem.
You could see different disciplines working around on the same focus, and that’s probably collaboration. Now I would like to say something real quickly about that, and we’ll come back to it.
I’m about to set you up with one of the best ways to provide instructional feedback to your whole faculty that you ever had.
And in these logs, at first, they’re going to have the names of the whole team, so thatwhen you hit reply all, it will go to the whole team, your first reply. So you’re going to get to say to them, you know, good job, nice, I like what you did here, had you thought about this-kind ofthing? Later on, when they start to feel a little bit secure and they start sending their logs to the whole school, allthe teachers, then when you hit reply all, guys, who are you replying to? And so, some of you may be in schools that are so large, you never even seeevery teacher every day. And if that’s the case, you can at least have some conversation with them about instruction every day.
And it provides accountability to all of them, because if one teamsees that you thought this was a good idea with this team, you know, they’re probably going to want to do it too.
I’ve even had curriculum directors in thesystem in Scotland County, for example, that had all the logs sent to her, and she replied to every one. And one of the best kindof assessments is to get your kids to tell you, you know, did it work?
Well, I’mgoing to show you in a few minutes how to go about bringing that about, you know, so that setting the stage to help that happen. But what you want to do is have your teachers list just as many as they can, and then you want togive them one of these. But she got one of these last time, and this is our focus on teacher professional learning. If that is not what we’re doing right now in thismeeting, we are not accomplishing what we set out to do.
I would remind your teachers every time, put that card out there, because that’s one way to keep themeetings on track. Then I’d give them that card in a workshop, put it on their tables, and then I would give them this.
Now I don’t have one out to show you, but I cut the strips apart and laminate them, and I, you know,bright-colored paper, and I have a thumbs up and a thumbs down signal. Well, the answer would probably be, the best look, if it fits what you’re doing, is, yes, because they have time to get used to eachother, they work together, they study, they dig into things, and they go deeply. Anotherscenario, high schools on block scheduling, and the learning teams are meeting during planning periods. Well, on a block schedule, you know, upheaval with planning periods, as soon as the blockchanges. If you can possibly do this, all of the science teachers have been meeting together for four years in your school. But if you’ve got as many as eight, big school, you know, divided them up into groups of four, instead of all of the meeting together. Youwon’t keep these groups manageably small, so that everybody can really, really interact. JOLLY: Get them outside their comfort zone, put them with different people, and let them develop newrelationships and begin working in a different way. But there’s nothing wrong with mixing it up, if it suits the focus and what the teachers are going to be working on.

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