PLC

Foster a sense of community for your students.

Building a Learning Community All Year

Categories: PLC, School Improvement

This blog post is based on the book EMPOWER Your Students: Tools to Inspire a Meaningful School Experience.

How do you build community in class?

Sometimes we do activities designed solely for community building, such as filling out bingo boards with each other’s names (“Find a classmate who was born in another state.”), interviewing each other (“What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?”), bringing in pictures or artifacts for show-and-tell, or creating a class handshake. Usually we do these kinds of activities early in the year; we want to ease into the school year and get to know a little bit about who’s in the room before starting our schoolwork. Read more

We Need to Create PLC Dream Teams

Dream Teams: Collaborating for the Success of All

Categories: PLC, School Improvement

“We really need to get together now and make a big push.” —Peter Jones

Up until about ten years ago, most cancer researchers and institutions would work in direct competition with one another, trying to be the first one to come up with life-saving treatments. Undoubtedly, they worked diligently and passionately, every day laboring over one of the most critical challenges in our society, and doing all this in isolation and in direct competition with other individuals committed to the same cause. Yet, this is the way research had always been done, and in many ways, it made sense to some of the world’s most talented individuals and respected institutions. Read more

Reflection for collaborative teams using the Rose, Bud, and Thorn technique

Learning from Our Year as a Team: Reflection Questions for Collaborative Teams

Categories: PLC

At the end of each school year, I like to ask questions to create a “pause and reflect” moment as my children and I eat around the dinner table together. This year, my two oldest children finished their junior and sophomore years in college, and my son finished his sophomore year in high school. The questions ask (1) what they did during the school year that they were most proud of, (2) some areas that they are still working on, and (3) one specific action they need to fix before they head back to school next year. Listening to my adult children this year was amazing, as I witnessed how well they are in tune with plausible growth and stretch areas for the upcoming school year.

This same thought process applies to mathematics collaborative teams and has become a tradition for the teachers I support. Read more

Common assessment is key to improving student learning.

Improving Student Learning: Together, We Can!

Categories: Assessment, PLC, School Improvement

Teaching can be exhausting. You work hard to create meaningful lessons, assessments, and interventions. You manage students in class with varying learning needs, behavior needs, and experiences. You grade papers and answer emails and phone calls. You participate in parent-student conferences, IEP meetings, and serve on committees or leadership teams. You manage duties on campus and fill out report cards. And all with little fanfare for the effort.

And, on top of everything, the hard work can be made more frustrating when high-stakes assessments show consistently poor student performance or little student growth. What is a teacher or school to do? Read more

Decision-making protocols can help you get on the same page

Decision Making: “How Can We Get on the Same Page?”

Categories: PLC, School Improvement

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive when facilitating professional development sessions is “How can we get on the same page?”

Let’s imagine two families, “Family A” and “Family B.” Parents in Family A are on the same page for their children. The children are clear on what is expected of them and learn how to demonstrate respect and responsibility for themselves and to others. Family B’s parents are not on the same page. One parent operates out of power and control, while the other parent tolerates behaviors that are unacceptable to the first. The children are confused and anxious, which often leads to misbehaviors and chaos. Read more