Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What's The Plan Stan?

Welcome to Paw Prints the blog. We have a great deal of really exciting work to, and we have lots of great teachers here. One of our big challenges is finding the time to work together and share our ideas.  I see so many great little things happening in our classrooms. The challenge is, how can we share these strategies to leverage our school improvement efforts?

Clearly, we can't wait for more resources and more time. That's just not going to happen at the scale needed. We could wallow in that, but let's not. Wallowing doesn't do anything to move us forward. We do good work here. We need to leverage it to scale up the effect of our good work.

The solution lies in using the time and resources we do have. Our biggest resource is team planning time. In the 170 or so full days of school each year, we have more than 7,650 minutes of team planning time. That's 1,275 hours. I know that time time is already packed with work that teams do with planning, with whole child supports, and with meaningful instructional improvement discussions. I also know that lots of these minutes are consumed by PPT, 504, and RtI meetings.

That's where the payoff lives. If we invest some time in working together to improve our delivery of challenging, engaging, and intentional instruction, then we can reduce the amount of time spent in remediation and the burden of progress monitoring paperwork and meetings.

Using team planning time to develop these PLC's around this work, also makes sense with the new CCT and teacher evaluation process. We all know that one-size-fits-all, sit-and-get PD is dreadful. My goal here is to provide the structure of each team, and each individual teacher to create his or her individual plan and professional goals. Next year, I want more of our PD days to follow the "Unconference" style, which will allow teachers to individualize professional growth.

Our school improvement plan is firmly grounded in consistently providing challenging, engaging, and intentional instruction, and this blog will be one way of sharing our ideas, and communicating our progress. The three-pronged plan includes, McREL instructional strategies, Learning Targets, and Strategies from Teach Like a Champion (TLaC).

Here's my Theory of Action (ToA) for this effort: If I provide teachers with effective teaching strategies that support the delivery of challenging, engaging, and intentional instruction and closely monitor the use of those strategies through walkthroughs and team meetings, then student engagement and student achievement will increase and referrals for both discipline and intervention will decrease.

As a subset, this is the ToA for Learning Targets: If teachers design the right learning target for “Today’s Lesson,” and use it along with their students to aim for and assess understanding, then the most effective teaching and the most meaningful student learning will happen.

In the very near future, I will be around to the team meetings to talk with you about these plans.

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Paw Prints by Timothy B. Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.