Friday, January 11, 2013

NHASP Winter Workshop 2013

Collection of my notes and observations from sessions attended at the NHASP Winter Workshop 2013.

Comment: I'll tweet out my thoughts in addition to this blog using hashtag #NHASP. First observation, NHASP still does not seem to have much of an online presence at conferences. Still room to grow here in terms of backchannels, hashtags and other online resources for further feedback, communication and discussion.

Session 1: Common Core Writing Standards: Their Impact on Instruction Across the Curriculum
-Fred Wolff, Institutional Affiliation Consultant
-Huge shift (for some) for core subject teachers to we are all teachers of writing.
-Review of some reading samples, general discussion of reading level and word choice.
-Connection between the text we give students to read and the writing they produce.
-Textbooks used in our schools are not examples of "strong" writing.

-Writing beyond the English Classroom: entire section of CC devoted to writing in science, history, and tech subjects.
-Shift in assessments with true integration of reading and writing. Ability to respond to a question dependent on literacy skills.
-Employment and promotion are often dependent upon writing skills, regardless of career.
-Reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language need to be a shared responsibility within the school.
-Comment: So far, pretty classic description of "problem"... writing needs to be taught across subjects, examples of science class requiring writing in college... hoping we move beyond 20yo+ description of "problem" to some current/new ideas for addressing this. Lack of teaching writing is an over-generalized problem description in my experience in today's schools.
-Question: Does/Should writing today always require a complete sentence? I wonder if the way we communicate has changed from the model of complete sentence = complete thought?

-Importance of students doing a lot of writing and engaging in a many different types of writing across curricular areas.
-Writing in the workplace: Most of what we do is about communicating ideas to other people (engineer).
-Idea of audience is a crucial piece of common core writing. Critical that students have an opportunity to write for an audience other than their teacher.
-Workplace example of producing "error-free" documents.

-CC Writing Standards rewritten:
1. Introduce your topic
2. If you aren't knowledgeable about your topic, do some research!
3. Support your statements with documentation.
4. Provide the readers with any and all facts they need.
5. Order your information in a manner that is logical and easy for the reader to follow.
6. Write clearly so your reader can easily follow your thinking.
7. Connect your thoughts so the reader can see how you move from A to B.
8. Select words that are appropriate for the topic and audience.
9. Conclude with an ending that wraps up the discussion.
10. Use technology.

Comment: Prezi being sold as a great thing. Unfortunately, not talking about the importance of teaching kids how to organize their ideas in Prezi. Otherwise just a distraction, much like the over-use of transitions/sounds with PP.

11. Take time to revise.
12. Choose conventions with care.
13. Edit your work.

-So what is new?
1. Change in balance between fiction and nonfiction.
2. True integration between reading and writing.
3. Incorporation of technology for collaboration
4. Renewed emphasis on conventions of basic language skills.

Types of Writing Content Teachers can Teach and Assign
-summaries, critiques, reports, instructional manuals, analysis papers, audience-based papers, research, compare-contrast, narrative, persuasive, descriptive, opinion based on facts, hypothesizing based on facts
-Modify writing for purpose and audience.

Session 2: iPads in the Classroom/When Textbooks Aren't Enough.
-Mary-Ellen Hedrich, 8th grade SS Teacher - Gilbert Hood MS in Derry
Comment: AP asked her to present and did not accompany her in the presentation. I hope I can attend and support any group I ask to do something like this.
-Textbook Scavenger Hunt using NH SS standards.
-Limited sections and information with standards identified. Angle used to write grant requesting iPads. Trying to pursue and provide information to support learning standards difficult if textbook is primary resource.
-Introduction to EdModo.
-Creating concept maps on the iPAd as an assessment of students interpretation of connections.
-Commoncraft videos: concise how-to videos
-Have students create "In plain English" videos to demonstrate understanding of a topic.
-Prezi as a re-teaching tool.
-Keynote as presentation tool and as reteaching review resource.
-iBooks, selecting titles and resources to differentiate reading/research materials
-Need for teachers: on-demand tech support. Need help when things come up and waiting for a tech request doesn't cut it.
-Built in period in the student day "WIN", what I need. Resource/help time during the day for whatever kids need to access or get help with.
-Sounds like a number of "tech" policies at the school are getting in the way of more innovation (network, publishing, devices).
-Many in the audience have experience with iPad, pilot programs, 1-1 roll-outs.
Comment: I fear the more and more 1-1 programs are going to dampen innovation through standardization. One-size fits all might be easier to manage but doesn't reflect the real world.

Session 3: What Principals Need to Know: Implementing the CCSS using a Response to Instruction Framework with a Multi-tiered System of Support.
-Elaine McNulty Knight and team, NHDOE scheduled, sub presenter
-RTI (Response to Instruction) is not SpEd or Gen Ed, it is an every ed initiative, just good teaching.
-Modules of implementation for new initiatives.
1. intro to components of plan
2. leadership and infra development
3. types of data and universal screening
4. progress monitoring student RTI
5. implementing for all students
6. assessment and data-based decision making
-CC provides framework, the what but not the how. Adding RTI brings the how.
-Book: How to teach thinking skills within the common core.
-Should have a data team to provide information to inform CIA.
-NHDOE has developed tools and resources to provide assistance and direction to NH schools with CC and RTI.
-Review of three-tiered system (triangle). 80/15/5
-RTI is a systematic integration of all of a school's resources.

-AmherstMS: RTI pilot site
-Shifting the mindset and bringing about a culture that supports/embracing change.
-Restructuring from a CST model to more of a continuum of RTI
-Using the integrity rubric to challenge assumptions and way of thinking. How do you know?
-RTI as a way of fine-tuning what you are already doing and bringing more data into discussion.
-Define RTI, Create a vision, Define universal screening process, determine cut scores, progress monitoring process, set goals
-Can email Amherst APs for screening tools or process documents.
-Students benchmarks in reading and writing 3 times per year.
-Creating a Culture of Change: Be transparent with staff, provide meaningful PD often, commitment is key, not an initiative but best practice, change schedule to allow for tier 2 interventions, teachers are interventionists, patience, don't take it personal, lots of conversations and let go of the past
-Consistently analyze RTI discussions at all levels and communicate with staff.

-MadisonES: RTI pilot site
-Provide transportation before and after school to create time for interventions.
-Importance of having a RTI coordinator.
-Resources available on school web site.
-Significant time for PD with CC and progress monitoring

-Nottingham K-8: RTI pilot site and Data Teams
-Has taken three years of consistent message, accountability and support to make this valued part of school culture.
-Communication among team members: universal screenings, establishing "watch" students, entry/exit from tiers, progress monitoring, transition back to the classroom, examining instructional practices in T1, T2, T3.
-Structure: weekly, grade level, every one present, use school-wide cal, strategies to manage meetings, common plan time, interventionists attend, locate in conference room, a couple times per year for extended data meetings
-Comment: This fits well with how I would like to transition at least some of our team mtg time.
-Format: facilitator, note-taking, norms, agendas, goals, equal share time, group/tier adjustment days, communicate the data discussion around effective practices.
-Critical to have RTI procedures in writing. Binder for reading, math and specific to interventionists.
-Challenge of scheduling time for interventions to be delivered for those tier 2/3 students who need interventions beyond classroom.
-Comment: Nicely done. Nottingham has done an impressive job with implementation and development of their data team model. Definitely a potential resource/connection.

Ended the day with the 2013 NHASP POY Awards. I was recognized as a NHASP 2013 Outstanding Role Model for being a finalist for 2013 AP of the year. I'm grateful for the recognition and opportunity. I'll write a post sometime soon with my reflection on the process and resulting goals.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

One Hour of Walking Classrooms

I learn so much from walking classrooms and would like to take additional opportunities to document my visits. Here is a quick summary of what I experienced this morning.

-Office Conference room. Faculty Forum this morning where the discussion focused on evaluation and feedback of committee provided by staff. Our facilitator helped us come up with themes, focusing questions and ideas for moving forward.
-Learning Center. I spent some time looking at student work. One student chose to represent the school organizational structure using a cell model. Interesting thoughts about how we are organized.

-Supervised Study. Some students working on individual assignments. One taking a math quiz. Another working on comparing different edits/drafts of a Christmas Carol using an online resource. 

-English Class. Students discussing process for reading and commenting on work using the YWP blog. I took a shot of a prompt on the back whiteboard that sounded like fun.

-Math Class. Students were taking an assessment. All seemed very focused.

-Math Class. Students were viewing instructional videos created by their teacher. The teacher is creating the videos on the iPad/Vimeo so that students have an additional resource for math instruction. When I was visiting students were viewing a video and offering feedback to the teacher using a GoogleForm. Great modeling of use of tech and seeking feedback.

-English Class. Class read-aloud of Romeo and Juliet. They were at the part were Romeo kills Paris. Some great discussion and questions from the class.

-English Class. Discussion of the Globe Theater and conditions the audience experienced. Teacher had the students get up from their normal seating arrangement and "occupy" a floor tile during his discussion. Fun experience that really seemed to add a lot to the discussion.

-Social Studies. Class was viewing a film about a nomadic group and their living conditions and culture. I happened to walk in during the piece about their Yurts and the butchering of some livestock. I decided not to take a picture...

-Tech Office. Multi-tasking as always. Our tech folks were responding to "tickets" and setting up a Mac Mini for the new display that is up in the 6th grade hall. Excited to start uploading student work for regular digital display.

I hope to provide a similar summary on walk-through classroom visits on a regular basis. You really can get a great sense of what is happening at RMS in a relatively short amount of time. One of my goals for this organization is to get all of us engaged in these learning walks as we have much to learn from each other.