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PLCs for Singletons and Teachers in Small Schools
 

PLCs for Singletons and Teachers in Small Schools

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This slide deck will serve as a conversation starter in Bill Ferriter's PLCs for Singletons and Teachers in Small Schools presentations during the summer of 2011.

This slide deck will serve as a conversation starter in Bill Ferriter's PLCs for Singletons and Teachers in Small Schools presentations during the summer of 2011.

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  • Introduce materials here. Explain that there is a chance we may not get to the action planning template at the end of the packet.
  • This slide is designed just to define singletons for the audience. Some teachers will come thinking that singletons only include the electives and specials teachers mentioned in the first paragraph. The challenges of finding meaningful professional learning partners is just as important for the teachers found in the second paragraph, though. It’s probably important to get this on the table early so that audiences understand that we’re addressing the challenges that both groups face. In our presentation, I think the pieces that Aaron and Adam have added best address the challenges faced by teachers in the second paragraph of this slide. The electronic teaming portion that Bill has added probably best addresses the challenges faced by the teachers in the first paragraph of this slide. That may be a distinction worth making as we work through the presentations.
  • Mike Schmoker in the November 2004 issue of School Administrator. My point in these next few slides is that the PLC framework can easily become collaboration lite in small schools because the focus on learning element so essential is sometimes more difficult to find when teachers of dissimilar content are teamed together. _______________________ This slide will make a great transition from the previous slide because we can talk about collaboration lite being one of the challenges that is faced by teachers working as singletons in PLCs. I know from my experience, that has almost always been the case—while teachers who are singletons are always on learning teams, the work they do isn’t significant when compared to the work being done by other PLCs.
  • I have combined a couple slides to help with presentation length.  AH   In my mind, we should start with talking about the possibility of changing the structure so teachers are not singletons.    That change won’t be possible for many, but for those it is, it’s important that they understand that the ideal is having teachers teach common classes.    Behaviors lie within a context.     Although this quote is about systems, which does have a broader meaning than structure, the conclusion can also be made about structures. Most people’s behavior will follow the structure that is set up. If it is a structure that promotes isolation, most will not resist that and will go on being isolated.    If we are teaching teachers to come out of isolation and collaborate around common goals and assessment results, yet we don’t change the structure so that they have someone to collaborate with, it is a lot to ask.     Very few people will have the ability to prevail against the structures that exist or don’t exist. Creating structures that promote collaboration won’t guarantee that teachers collaborate but allowing structures that promote isolation will make collaboration extremely difficult. So if we want people within our school to collaborate, we should do our best to design the structures within our school around that goal. For the same reasons that we must provide people norms, protocols, time within the day to collaborate, we need to provide them with a way within the system and someone with whom to collaborate meaningfully.   This quote is found on page 218 in On Common Ground
  • This slide marks the beginning of two possible structural solutions for singletons.    It is Adam and Aaron’s work on having teachers teach multiple subjects so that they can have the opportunity to work in a PLC as close to ideal as possible and creating vertical teams focused on individual skills that transcend grade levels and subject areas. I’m not sure I like the title of this section, though. It needs some polishing.
  •   White Pine Middle School is a hyperlink that should allow you to open the short story about what we did with my school.    My thoughts here are to have a hand out and allow participants to read the story that is currently linked to “White Pine Middle School” and have the groups discuss the advantages of changing the structure.    I would think that this would lead into portions of Adam’s Blog, his approach being to work within the current structure to create meaningful collaboration. What are the strengths of creating teams of teachers who are teaching the same subjects? What are the weaknesses? If this were an approach that you were going to implement in your building, what barriers would you need to overcome?  
  • This slide marks the beginning of structural solution #2: Having singletons work together on vertical teams looking at essential objectives that transcend content areas and grade levels. Vertical and interdisciplinary teams won’t be a new strategy to any member of the audience. Explain, however, that vertical and interdisciplinary teams often falter because there is no clear structure placed around their work. In order to be successful, school and teacher leaders must create this structure. (I moved these slides because of our discussion that it might be better start with elementary and then move into secondary.  Adam, feel free to edit any of this out if you feel it is redundant to the process you outline in the slide above  AH2/24/11)   The process of vertical alignment can actually be easier in a small school, just because there are fewer people to involve in the conversation. The teams also seem to get a broader perspective of what should be learned at each of the levels.    In my experience, I have observed that teams are formed k-2 and 3-5 in schools where there is only one teacher per grade level, but don’t necessarily need to. It is just as important to develop Essential Outcomes in smaller elementary schools as it is to develop them in larger high schools. Vertical Teams should work together to determine what knowledge and skills are essential at each of the grade levels.
  •   White Pine Middle School is a hyperlink that should allow you to open the short story about what we did with my school.    My thoughts here are to have a hand out and allow participants to read the story that is currently linked to “White Pine Middle School” and have the groups discuss the advantages of changing the structure.    I would think that this would lead into portions of Adam’s Blog, his approach being to work within the current structure to create meaningful collaboration. What are the strengths of creating teams of teachers who are teaching the same subjects? What are the weaknesses? If this were an approach that you were going to implement in your building, what barriers would you need to overcome?  
  • It would be interesting to talk about how to tie individual questions from assessments to individual skills so that tracking student performance at the skill level is possible.   Note to Bill:  See if you can grab the samples from the Teacher as Assessment Leader in here.  Could be a good addition.
  • A benefit to having vertical teams work in this way is that there is often a more vested interest in ensuring that your colleagues succeed in having their students learn the essential outcomes. If you are a 4 th grade teacher, wouldn’t it be nice if the third grade teacher was successful with all of her/his students, because every one of them will be your students next year. Note: I focused on literacy, because I think it is the easiest place for people to start. Once they have a few “wins” they will hopefully be able to transfer the idea of skills assessments into the other subject areas. If teams do pre-assessments and post assessments, the PLC process can take place to help each grade level reach their learning targets. I plan on explaining that through the discussion about the pre-assessment data, teams will be able set goals and to decide upon some common strategies. The strategies that the 3 rd and 4 th grade teachers in these vertical teams would chose to work on to improve the skill of writing for “ideas” could be the same.
  • This an example of a rubric created by a K-2 team in Bluff Elementary in Bluff, Utah. It would be important to point out that the learning targets or expectations would be different for a kindergartner vs. a first grader, but the assessment and rubric can be the same because it is focused on building specific skills that are not exclusive to one grade level.    Teachers can have rich discussion around helping their students reach the levels that they deem are proficiency and beyond even though they are not teaching the same class.
  • Small group discussion for four minutes.   Sample responses could include:  Making and defending an argument. Relating the past to the present. Synthesizing information. Critically reading and analyzing primary sources. Note that these skills are applicable to students in social studies courses no matter what the content is. Even though the content of these courses are vastly different and are still essential, the team must agree to collaboratively focus on these learning goals that are common among them.
  • Responses might include :   Examining literature and research on the skill of analysis. Building shared knowledge about the process of helping students understand primary sources. Consult with English teachers and Reading specialists regarding methods of instruction. Formulate a series of common assessments designed to measure students’ progress on the skill.
  • From here, the team go literally go a dozen different directions.    The team may develop a common assessment where students read the same primary source document that is unfamiliar to them and respond to a series of multiple choice questions that are carefully crafted.    This would be an approach similar to what students see on the ACT or state exit exams. Or, the team may read different primary source documents depending upon the content of the course and then are asked to respond to prompts in writing such as “Identify the author’s thesis,” “What historical events are occurring at the time of this writing that could possibly influence the author’s opinion?” or “Contrast the author’s viewpoint with your own.”    Of course, if this approach were chosen, writing rubrics and other tools used to model excellent responses from students would also need to be developed and used. The point of the common assessment would be to measure students’ learning over time. A similar (not the same) common assessment would be given several times through the semester designed to measure students’ improvement on the common skill identified. NOTE: I’d like to include as handouts pages 145-153 in “The Teacher as Assessment Leader.” There is not nearly enough time in the presentation to go into depth on this whole process.    However, these pages from the book give a case study along with data that model how the process works. What are your thoughts?
  • The main point that we want to emphasize in this portion of the session is that while vertical teams and teams built with teachers teaching multiple subjects in-house are probably more practical to tackle simply because they resemble the kinds of PLCs that we’re most comfortable with, there will be times when singleton teachers want to learn from others teaching the same subjects that they are. While this may be impossible in a small school or for teachers who teach unique subjects in a big school, digital tools enable teachers to find partners no matter what subjects they teach.
  •  
  • One of the greatest challenges in any professional learning community is finding meaningful learning partnerships for the singeltons in a building. And while many singletons choose to collaborate with in-house learning teams studying content connected to their areas of personal and professional interest or work to offer targeted support to teams on an as needed basis, these kinds of content-neutral learning arrangements aren’t always the perfect tools for ensuring that every teacher has meaningful opportunities for continued growth in their fields. The good news—as Clay Shirky explains in this quote from his latest book, Cognitive Surplus—is that digital tools have lowered the barriers for people interested in joining together with other like minds, regardless of where they are located. That means Latin teachers, band directors, media specialists, foreign language teachers, and special educators can partner with peers in electronic spaces with very little effort and almost no cost.
  • Perhaps the single greatest barrier, however, to seeing electronic teaming embraced by singletons is the level of digital proficiency possessed by many teachers. Often uncomfortable with new tools and spaces, teachers can be intimidated by the thought of using digital tools to build networks of co-learners. That’s why Twitter is such a logical starting point for any efforts by singletons interested in joining together with content-specific peers. Known as a microblogging service, Twitter users share short, 140-character messages with one another. Sometimes, those messages include links to external resources—websites, blog entries, interesting videos, pictures. Other times, those messages contain questions for peers or are a part of an ongoing conversation with a group of colleagues. Regardless of the content, Twitter messages cannot exceed 140 characters—or the length of one well written sentence. That makes participating pretty simple—which is the first step towards encouraging additional participation.
  • The first tutorial presents a general overview of what Twitter looks like in action. This is important because while most people have heard of Twitter, few have actually used it for learning. Their perceptions of what happens there, then, are often inaccurate. The second tutorial is designed to show how easy it is to share resources in Twitter. It is designed to make the point that Twitter is an easy tool to use.
  • Remember that the real value in Twitter for singletons is that it is finally possible—if you’re willing to work a bit—to find peers in the same content area, no matter what you’re teaching. And while the process of finding peers whose ideas are worth following can be intimidating to new Twitter users, it can be made easier by exploring several growing directories of Twitter users that are organized by grade level, professional interests, and content areas. Outside of using the Twitter search options to find interesting users to explore, two of the most popular services are TweepML (http://www.tweepml.org) and WeFollow (http://wefollow.com). It’s important to remember good search practices when using services like We Follow and TweepML. Try several different terms when looking for singletons working in the same field as you. While generic terms like “dance” may turn up everything from belly dancers to professional ballerinas, more specific terms like “dance teacher” are likely to turn up practitioners that you can learn from. It’s also important to remember that because Twitter is constantly growing—300,000 new users signed up every day in the Fall of 2010—and because Twitter is still a new tool to many educators—it’s a good idea to return to these lists every now and then to see if there are new singletons worth adding to your digital learning network.
  • One of the biggest misconceptions that teachers hold about Twitter is that it is just a place where people are sharing mundane facts about their everyday lives. In reality—and often led by educators—Twitter users are actually organizing themselves into groups of likeminded thinkers who engage in regular, ongoing conversations and track each other’s messages through the use of hashtags, which are short identifiers added to the end of posts that enable easy searching in Twitter. While following Twitter hashtags being used by other professionals in your field can be a great source for finding new tools, strategies and instructional practices that might improve your instruction, following Twitter hashtags is also a great way to find peers that you can learn with. After all, everyone using hashtags shares a common interest with one another. Let’s take a look at how hashtags work in action.
  • This tutorial is designed to introduce users to Twitter hashtags—which are incredibly valuable for singletons that are looking for partners to learn with. They are, however, going to be a new concept to most audience members.
  • While Twitter is one of the best places for singletons interested in finding peers and joining together into electronic learning teams because it is so approachable and easy to use, it’s not the only online tool enabling connections between isolated peers. In fact, while many educators like the short, easy to consume messages enabled by Twitter, meaningful professional growth is dependent on forums that enable more significant reflection and interactions between peers. For many singletons, finding colleagues interested in deeper, richer, meaningful conversations starts by searching out developing communities being hosted by services like Facebook, Ning and LinkedIn. Each of these tools enables a broader range of digital interactions. Users can start threaded conversations around important pedagogical concepts. They can create and share video content with one another, join together in synchronous Webinars with experts to study new practices, and begin to create warehouses of best practices to share with one another. One of the best examples of how these tools can be used for the continual growth of singletons is the Music PLN Ning. Let’s see how it’s being used to bring together some of the most isolated professionals in our buildings.
  • The main point of this tutorial is to show audiences that singletons can use digital tools to create more meaningful, ongoing collaborative spaces that better resemble the work that traditional PLCs do. This introduces probably the best example of singletons joining together in digital spaces—a group of music teachers who have sought one another out to have ongoing conversations about teaching and learning.
  • The most effective professional learning communities hold fast to several key practices. They identify essential outcomes with one another. They study instructional practices together. They develop common assessments and reflect on student learning data together. All of these behaviors should be expected of every professional learning team, including those who join together in electronic spaces. While there are dozens of digital tools that can be used to support these kinds of behaviors, one of the best is Wiggio. What makes Wiggio unique is that it enables several different kinds of interactions between members of collaborative groups. Let’s take a closer look at Wiggio. Use the Singletons planning group as a sample of what is possible. Emphasize that the neat part of Wiggio is that you can have synchronous or asynchronous conversations in Wiggio. Also, you can collaborate around documents together. While there are lots of tools that do this work there aren’t any tools that do all of this work in one place. Final thoughts: Be prepared to be persistent, though! There is always the possibility that free services like Wiggio will go out of business—or that newer services will make digital collaboration even easier that Wiggio does. That means you’ve got to be ready and willing to switch services if needed.
  • This link connects to a bunch of tutorials that explain what’s possible with Wiggio. They are designed to show users again that—once you’ve tracked down potential partners to learn from in places like Twitter—you can do far more with digital tools than just the basic “collaboration lite” that Twitter enables. The chances are that there won’t be time in our sessions to introduce users to all of these videos, but presenters can definitely sign in to our Wiggio site to talk about what we’ve done with it and what kinds of functionality it enables.
  • Background: District administrators need to establish a high level of clarity over key principles such as implementation, monitoring, and support.
  • Structuring the work of singletons in PLCs requires systematic planning on the part of district leaders. All too often, their work is an afterthought—and as a result, singletons feel left out of the PLC process. Addressing that sense of “being left out” starts with an actual plan for what singleton PLCs will look like. Of course, a plan isn’t enough on its own. Once district leaders answer these questions, they’ve got to put structures in place to support the behaviors they’re trying to create.
  • These questions are important for thinking through the parameters that district-wide and/or singleton learning teams should be asked to work under. Providing these basic requirements for teams will provide enough structure to ensure that singleton PLCs or PLCs in small schools are avoiding the trap of collaboration lite. More importantly, many of the teams may not naturally produce these things if they’re not required. It’s the loose-tight leadership thing. Without providing any structure for learning teams, their work won’t move forward without frustration. Providing too much structure, however, takes away the real value of teacher collaboration----which is motivating teachers to learn together.
  • District leaders have an obligation to provide time and support—even to singleton teachers working in a PLC. Until district leaders think through these three questions, they won’t be able to create the conditions—the structures—necessary for effective collaboration to happen. The first question is possibly the most difficult to answer—and it requires the most significant commitment from district level leaders. The fact of the matter is that creating time for PLCs to meet—including singleton PLCs—is a basic responsibility of district leadership. If you’re not willing to think through an effective solution to that question, you’re failing in your responsibilities. The second question is also important—are digital tools necessary for enabling electronic teaming? If so, does every singleton teacher have access to those digital tools? Will singleton teachers need extra time and/or professional development in studying skills instead of content? If so, who is going to provide that professional development? When will it happen? The fact of the matter is that district level leaders often overlook their responsibilities when supporting singleton PLCs. It’s like the soccer coach who never works with the goalies because he doesn’t know how. That’s not okay.
  • Background: District administrators need to establish a high level of clarity over key principles such as implementation, monitoring, and support.
  • Background: Schaumburg School District 54 Northwest suburb of Chicago. Key Concepts: District administrators have... ...established clear expectations for collaboration in each of their music and art district wide PLCs.  ...articulated the expectations for each district wide PLC in terms of what each team is expected to produce (common assessments, course outlines, etc.) as well as how they will communicate their progress (minutes) ...established a district administrator that serves as the leader of the district wide PLCs ... worked with their teacher's union to ensure time for collaboration during early release days as well as during the school day.  Therefore, the principal has the ability to schedule a PLC meeting during the day if any  team needs additional time for collaboration or is working on a special project. 
  • Background: Wake County School District  Raleigh, NC. Key Concepts: * The administrative team has taken a major step in establishing and developing PLCs in their school district by working with the Board and adopting Board policy around PLC principles.   School Policy has established... ... that implementation of PLC principles that is critical to the work of every principal and School Improvement Leadership team. ... the general structure of every PLT.   "It should include defining the professional learning teams that will operate for the year, assigning staff members to teams and scheduling meetings for the teams."    3. ... the artifacts that need to be produced in order to monitor and communicate the progress of PLTs. "The Implementation Plan should include processes for establishing norms, meeting agendas, meeting minutes, and a method to make those items available to staff members. Information will be made available to the school community using a variety of media, such as, newsletters, school messenger, including the school website." 4. ... the amount of time each PLT is required to meet.  (Since the district has eliminated late starts, each administrator needs to find creative ways of ensuring time for teachers to collaborate.)
  • This policy was particularly valuable to singleton teachers and to teachers working in small schools. For singleton teachers, it meant being able to find peers teaching the same subjects in area schools to collaborate with on the clock instead of after school. For administrators in small schools, it meant being able to do some of the creative structuring that White Pine Middle was able to do because it provided a built in weekly time for teachers to meet. The policy was quickly eliminated, however, when a new school board was elected. Because parents hadn’t been fully educated about the important role that PLCs played in student achievement, the policy was not valued by the general public. In fact, the dismissals were called “Wacky Wednesdays” and were widely criticized. The lesson to learn is that creating time for collaboration on the clock makes sense, but it won’t be well received unless education of the parent community is an area of major focus.
  • NOTE: I recommend that we send S.T. the ppt. with only one video slide.  This should give everyone the ability to cut a video and not have the audience expect five. Background: St. Mary's County Public Schools Leonardtown, MD.  (Near Washington DC) Key Concepts: District administrators have... ... articulated the importance of collaboration within a school and across the district by establishing traditional and district wide PLCs. ... implemented the technology that will help PLCs gather the data as well as communicate across the district. (Video #1) ... established what each PLC is expected to produce. (video #2) Videos Video #3 - Dr. Maher describes the necessary components to ensure success in terms of administrative support. Video #4 - Dr. Maher details their PLC journey and the next steps. Video #5 - The gratifying aspect of establishing a district wide PLC.  
  • NOTE: I recommend that we send S.T. the ppt. with only one video slide.  This should give everyone the ability to cut a video and not have the audience expect five. Dr. Jeff Maher  Director of Professional and Organizational Development
  • NOTE: I recommend that we send S.T. the ppt. with only one video slide.  This should give everyone the ability to cut a video and not have the audience expect five. Dr. Jeff Maher  Director of Professional and Organizational Development
  • NOTE: I recommend that we send S.T. the ppt. with only one video slide.  This should give everyone the ability to cut a video and not have the audience expect five. Dr. Jeff Maher  Director of Professional and Organizational Development

PLCs for Singletons and Teachers in Small Schools PLCs for Singletons and Teachers in Small Schools Presentation Transcript

  • Small Schools and Singletons Structuring Meaningful Professional Learning Teams for Every Teacher William M. Ferriter http://wferriter.posterous.com
  •  
  • Session Outcomes
    • To frame the specific challenges that small schools and singleton teachers face in PLCs
    • To explore three possible solutions for overcoming these challenges: Skill-based teams , vertical teams , and electronic teams .
    • To develop the beginnings of an action plan for incorporating singletons into the PLC process
  • Who ARE Singletons? One of the greatest challenges in any PLC is finding meaningful learning partnerships for the singletons —art teachers, band directors, media specialists, foreign language teachers—in a building. Teachers working in small schools or unique subject areas often struggle to find partners, too. When you’ve only got one physics—or third grade, or biology—teacher, who can he or she learn with?
  • Checking In As a small school or singleton teacher, what challenges do you currently face in collaborating in a meaningful way? Chart your responses at your tables.
  • Collaboration Lite
      • “ Mere collegiality won’t cut it. Even discussions about curricular issues or popular strategies can feel good but go nowhere. The right image to embrace is of a group of teachers who meet regularly to share, refine, and assess the impact of lessons and strategies continuously to help increasing numbers of students learn at higher levels.”
      • — Schmoker, 2004
  • The Dilemma of Small Schools and Singletons
      • With few if any common-content teachers, how do we collaborate among ourselves to become members of true professional learning communities?
      • Our focus on learning must be reduced to common denominators so that meaningful collaboration can occur.
  • Rethinking Structures for Singletons In many schools the structure is set up in opposition to collaboration and most people will not work in opposition to the structure.   “ The truth is that the system changes individuals more often than individuals change the system.”                 — Fullan, 2005
  • Teachers Teaching Similar Subjects
  • Rethinking Structures for Singletons
      • Answer the following questions while reading about White Pine Middle School’s work to change structures:
      • What are the strengths of creating teams of teachers who are teaching the same subjects? What are the weaknesses ?
      • If this were an approach that you were going to implement in your building, what barriers would you need to overcome?
    Addendum, Page 1
  • Vertical and Interdisciplinary Teams
  • Rethinking Structures for Singletons
      • Answer the following questions while reading about White Pine High School’s work to change structures:
      • What are the strengths of creating teams of teachers who are teaching the same subjects? What are the weaknesses ?
      • If this were an approach that you were going to implement in your building, what barriers would you need to overcome?
    Addendum, Page 2
  • A Process for Vertical and Interdisciplinary Teams
      • 1. Organize teams based on what learning goals teachers have
      • in common .
      • 2. Focus on those issues that are common rather than those that are not.
      • 3. Identify the most important
      • common outcome .
  • A Process for Vertical and Interdisciplinary Teams
      • 4. Develop a method of assessment,
      • a rubric, and anchors.
      • 5. Calibrate scoring and
      • evaluate results.
      • 6. Come back to the table with
      • common strategies designed to
      • improve performance.
  • Here’s What’s Different Although the unit assessments are not exactly “common” from one grade level to the next, the skills often are. By providing student performance targets in each grade level within an essential skill, vertical teams can have rich collaboration about student learning.
  • Practice in Action Working together, kindergarten, first-grade, and second-grade teachers could develop a shared rubric defining the elements of a good sentence that is used by all teachers at all grade levels. The skills are common even when the task isn’t . Session Handouts, Page 6
  •  
  • Practice in Action
      • Imagine that you are working as a member of a high school social studies team composed of world history, U.S. history, and government teachers.
      • What could some common outcomes for your learning team be?
  • Practice in Action
      • If your imaginary learning team decided to focus on critically reading and analyzing primary sources as its most important common outcome, what would your next steps be?
  • Practice in Action
        • Do all students take the exact same assessment?
        • Is there a different primary source for each content area?
        • Is the common assessment multiple choice or constructed response?
        • (There are no right or wrong answers!)
  • Synchronous and Asynchronous Tools for Singletons Note: All tutorials and materials for this portion of the presentation can be found online at: http://bit.ly/twitterforsingletons
  • Rethinking Structures for Singletons
      • Answer the following questions while reading about Cody Mothershead’s work to connect with peers electronically:
      • What are the strengths of creating teams of teachers who are teaching the same subjects? What are the weaknesses ?
      • If this were an approach that you were going to implement in your building, what barriers would you need to overcome?
    Addendum, Page 3
  • Lowering Barriers “ Now the barriers are low enough that any of us can publicly seek and join with like-minded souls . The means for harnessing our cognitive surplus are the new tools that we have been given, tools that both enable and reward participation.” — Shirky, 2010
  • Twitter As an Electronic Starting Point “ I struggle to find time for PD in my already crowded day. With Twitter , I can learn easily and from anywhere. Whenever I have a few minutes to spare — between classes, on lunch duty, waiting for flights at the airport, just before going to bed — I’m checking the messages posted by my Twitter network.” — Bill Ferriter
  • Exploring Twitter Tutorial 1: The Twitter Homepage http://screenr.com/FJq (1:42) Tutorial 2: Posting Messages to Twitter http://screenr.com/oJq (3:23)
  • Finding Potential Partners in Twitter “ ‘ Where do I even begin ?’ educators new to Twitter wonder…. What resources can help me find teachers and principals with the same interests and passions as mine?” — Ferriter, Ramsden, & Sheninger, 2011 Session Handouts, Page 27
  • Finding Potential Partners in Twitter Tutorial 3: Finding Peers to Learn With http://screenr.com/sQq (3:19)
  • Following Twitter Hashtags One of the best ways to connect with potential colleagues is to explore ongoing Twitter conversations organized by hashtags —short identifiers starting with “#” that users add to the end of specific posts to sort them into easily searchable categories.
  • Following Twitter Hashtags Tutorial 4: Using Hashtags to Find Peers http://screenr.com/0Qq (4:23)
  • Sources for Extended Conversations “ There is no one right way to build—or right collection of tools for developing — a 21 st century PLN. Most educators start their own learning networks by finding peers in Twitter, Facebook, Ning, Diigo, and LinkedIn.” — Ferriter, Ramsden, & Sheninger, 2011
  • Sources for Extended Conversations Tutorial 5: Extended Conversations in Digital Forums http://screenr.com/qQq (4:34)
  • Tools for Developing Teams “ The core work of electronic learning teams is the same as the core work of teams who meet in person: investigating practice, developing common assessments, looking at student learning data. “ Digital tools just make it possible for that work to be done from remote locations.” — Bill Ferriter
  • Tools for Developing Teams Tutorial 6: Tools for Developing Teams http://bit.ly/hYv1ZP (Several videos here)
  • The Role of the Central Office in Supporting PLCs for Singletons
  • Three Key Ideas
      • Why should district administrators be involved in the development of districtwide PLCs?
      • What should administrators know about the development and implementation of nontraditional PLCs?
      • How do schools bring it all together?
  • Leadership Matters “ When district leaders are carrying out their leadership responsibilities effectively, student achievement across the district is positively affected.” — Marzano & Waters, 2009
  • Leadership Matters “ Even the best initiatives will fail without leadership focus and deep implementation.” — Reeves, 2010
  • Leadership Matters “ One of the great ironies in education is that it takes strong and effective educational leaders to create truly empowered people who are capable of sustaining improvement after the leader has gone.” — Eaker, DuFour, & DuFour, 2007
  • What Should Administrators Know About the Development and Implementation of Nontraditional PLCs?
  • Guiding Questions: Philosophy 1. During the initial stages of implementation, which teachers will be involved in vertical versus districtwide teams? 2. What role will district versus building leaders play in organizing, leading, and monitoring districtwide PLCs?
  • Guiding Questions: Parameters 3. What priorities should district PLCs align their goals and efforts with? 4. What artifacts will districtwide PLCs need to produce? 5. How will you evaluate the effectiveness of your districtwide PLCs?
  • Guiding Questions: Support 6. How often/when are teachers expected to meet? 7 . What tools will be available to support teacher collaboration? 8. Who will serve as the lead administrator or district resource person?
  • How Do Schools Bring It All Together?
  • Practice Into Action In the Schaumberg School District 54, singleton teachers are expected to collaborate with teachers in their schools and around the district. Location: Schaumburg, IL Number of Schools: 27 elementary and junior high schools Student Enrollment: 14,231
  • Schaumburg School District 54
      • Goals, parameters, and results :
        • The goal is to ensure that teachers are having meaningful dialogue focused on specific outcomes.
        • The focus is on band and art teachers.
        • Teachers are expected to complete six common assessments and submit meeting minutes on a regular basis.
  • Schaumburg School District 54
      • Time for collaboration and support :
        • Early release Wednesdays (90 minutes) and institute days
        • Contractual stipulations : The school principal could designate 90 minutes per week.
        • A district administrator serves as the group leader.
  • Music Common Assessment Session Handouts, Page 16
  • Practice Into Action
      • In the Wake County Public Schools, the Board of Education has required that every school develop a Professional Learning Team Implementation Plan and schedule.
    Location: Raleigh, NC Number of Schools: 163 elementary, middle, and high schools Student Enrollment: 139,599
  • PLT Action Record Session Handouts, Page 18
  • Wake County Public Schools Time and Support Understanding the importance of providing regular time for collaboration, the school board passed an early dismissal policy in the fall of 2009. Under this policy, all schools dismissed 1 hour early on Wednesdays to create time for PLCs to meet.
  • Practice Into Action St. Mary’s County Public Schools values data as a tool for making instructional decisions. The district also values collaboration across schools and content areas. Location: Leonardtown, MD Number of Schools: 27 elementary, middle, and high schools Student Enrollment: 17,217
  • St. Mary’s County Schools Video 1: Technology http://bit.ly/stmarystech Dr. Jeff Maher—director of Professional and Organizational Development—talks about the role that technology plays in efforts to support singleton teachers.
  • St. Mary’s County Schools Video 2: Artifacts http://bit.ly/stmarysartifacts Dr. Jeff Maher—director of Professional and Organizational Development—talks about the role that artifacts play in efforts to support singleton teachers.
  • Monthly Action Plan
  • Additional Sources of Help Small schools and singletons should also look to their local universities and regional education centers for support in finding collaborative partners. You can also find support from: National Rural Education Association http://www.nrea.net/ Center for the Study of Rural/Small Schools http://cssrs.ou.edu/
  • This Session Developed Collaboratively By:
    • Bill Ferriter
    • Solution Tree Author
    • [email_address]
    • (North Carolina)
    • Hector Garcia
    • Solution Tree Associate
    • [email_address]
    • (Illinois)
    Aaron Hansen Solution Tree Associate [email_address] (Nevada) Adam Young Solution Tree Associate [email_address] (Nevada)
  • The Tempered Radical http://snipurl.com/temperedradical Twitter Username: @plugusin Email: [email_address] Bill Ferriter has about a dozen titles—Solution Tree PLC author and associate, ASCD columnist, senior fellow of the Teacher Leaders Network—but he checks them all at the door each morning when he walks into his sixth-grade classroom ! Bill Ferriter
  • Bill Ferriter Author and Teacher
  • Thank You! To schedule professional development, contact Solution Tree at (800) 733-6786 .