Most educators would agree that we are better together. But working as a team can be challenging. While conflict might be inevitable, it doesn't have to be destructive. Michael Beywitz in the ALLTHINGSPLC BLOG, shares some tips and strategies for dealing with conflicts prductively. Read it HERE
For Your Practice
Harness the power of collaborating with colleagues by bringing student work to the table. Check out : "Critical Friends: Looking at Student Work" to see if a critical friends experience might be something you would like to try. Watch it HERE
For Your Students
If we build it they will come.
This phrase is useful when talking about the film "Field of Dreams" and when discussing student group work and collaboration. If we expect students to be great collaborators, we must be explicit in our teaching of collaboration. Building powerful collaborative skills is as essential to student success as teaching students how to read.
In "Teaching Group Work: Building Student Collaboration and Agency," you get a two-for-one resource (a short video and an article!) on the power and importance of intentionally teaching students how to collaborate. Along with teaching students the collaborative skills they need, it is imperative that teachers provide students with challenges that merit group work. As one teacher in the video shared, "A good group work problem has to be so big that you need your partner(s)." Watch and read it HERE
Gather a group of 15 educators to discuss differentiation and in all likelihood you will hear 15 different interpretations of how best to implement it.
Kim Marshall, of Marshall Memo fame, offers food for thought in his article, "Rethinking Differentiation - Using Teachers' Time Most Effectively."
Read it HERE
For your practice
This video, "Making Learning Personalized and Customized" features Sean McComb, a secondary ELA teacher, who shares his experiences and thinking about using the workshop model with his students.
The video demonstrates how a lesson can be designed to be standards based, differentiated and student self-directed while simultaneously enabling the teacher to work with small groups of students as well as individual students.
Sean addresses concerns about about student engagement and small group instruction: "So there is always the question, 'If I'm not with them, are they on task?' But at the same time, even though we're in whole group, are they on task? Are they authentically engaged? Right now I am erring on the side of giving students choice and trust and ownership in what they are learning....it's more likely to produce more authentic engagement than my decisions around task and time. More might get done but what value is that? Does that leave students wanting to learn more?"
Watch Sean and his students HERE
For your students
Ableism - What is it and what do we do about it?
Our district's move to more co-taught inclusive classrooms has provided opportunities for teachers to address ableism with their students . Ableism, according to Urban Dictionary, is "the discrimination or prejudice against people who have disabilities. Ableism can take the form of ideas and assumptions, stereotypes, attitudes and practices, physical barriers in the environment, or larger scale oppression. It is oftentimes unintentional and most people are completely unaware of the impact of their words or actions."
"Standing up for our Students in the New Year" from Middle Web blog provides a model for how to talk with students about ableism and social justice. Read it HERE
Welcome to THE SPARK - our seasonal blog on inspired learning
You will find resources for: