Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Post Observation Resources

As I complete my observations and post-observations meetings, I'll be putting up resources to this particular post to help teachers follow through on next steps.  So keep coming back to this one!

Unison Reading

Read this excerpt from Cynthia McCallister's Unison Reading book.  Here are some quotes & tips to pique your interest:
  • "The primary purpose of Unison Reading is to promote student agency and autonomy"
  • "[Teachers] follow in to conversations to clarify confusions that cannot be resolved by the students themselves"
  • "Normally when we read in school, we're made to think we should hide our mistakes and act as if we don't understand, even if we're confused. But in Unison Reading, you have a responsibility to the group to bring your mistakes and confusions to the center for discussion. [Learning from our mistakes is] what helps you become smarter and also helps other kids in the group. That's also what makes Unison Reading fun."
  • Check out Page 7 to see a list of prompts you can use in your UR Groups
  • Check out Page 10 to understand what the different codes mean and how to use them to monitor the quality of your UR groups

Professional Development Committee

Here is the Professional Development Activity Calendar.  This calendar is frequently updated.  As a rule of thumb, you should find at least one PD experience for yourself each week.  In general, our lab site visits will be on Mondays and/or Tuesdays with the debriefs of those visits occurring during PD on Tuesdays.  Descriptions are in each of the calendar events.  Click on them to find out more.

If you haven't already done so, please add it to your own list of google calendars.  If you don't use google calendars yet, you should really, really start to do so.  Here's a link to get you started!

Genre Practice

Understanding the purpose and conventions of any text from a poem to a Algebra regents problem to a dichotomous key is necessary for students to be able to have any successful engagement with the text.  In the case of the poem, engagement may look like interpreting theme or analyzing the use of literary device.  For the math problem, students may be asked to write an expression or find a solution.  In using the dichotomous key, students will use the relationships expressed through this diagram to categorize a particular thing or group of things.

Every subject has specific texts that have their own purpose, conventions, and the tasks we pose for students ask them to engage with these varying purposes and conventions in many different ways.  Everytime we ask students to "Read the problem" or "Read the directions" we're actually trying to get them to understand what the purpose of the text is and what they are supposed to do with it (again whether it be a poem, problem, or diagram).

This month, Tara, Emily and Meredith are working together to develop genre practice work in the humanities classrooms.  Look at the calendar above to check out the opportunities to observe and discuss the work in those classes.

Also this month, Emily, Kelly, and myself are working together to help articulate what genre practice looks like in a subject classrooms.  We're working in Noam's room on Tuesday afternoons and are meeting with Noam after school to debrief the visits.  I'm working with Noam in this research residency on Wednesdays and Thursdays to implement strategies for developing genre practice prompts, tasks, and questions in a subject classroom like math.  Also check out the calendar to find out when those meetings will occur.  We'll be sharing out our work with the math team on Tuesdays, as well.