Professional Learning Design: Connected Principals

Thought this was a great read from Connected Principals- enjoy! Mark

 

Common Core Toolkit for   Principals: Part 1

As part of my district’s plan to   realign our curriculum with the Common   Core State Standards (which we are calling the C4 Project,   for Cheltenham Common Core Curriculum), I will be developing a Toolkit for   Principals. Each month, I will prepare a four-part package of resources and   activities they can use both for their own professional development and as   part of faculty meetings with their staff members. The four parts each month will   be

    1. Think:        a warm up article, blog post, or video to set the stage for a faculty  discussion
  • Share:        two activities principals can use with staff members during the month in        faculty or team meetings
  • Test Drive: A key instructional practice that teachers can try        out in their classrooms without expectations
  • Explore:        Links to other resources with more information for those who want to dig        deeper

Though these kits will be geared heavily towards the particular needs of   our own district, I thought others might find them useful, and so I’ll be   posting them here. Enjoy, and please do give me feedback on what is working   and what you’d like to see in future toolkits!


January Toolkit: Focus on Transfer

THINK

Before the next faculty meeting, begin by reading this article from Grant   Wiggins’ Blog: Learning about learning from soccer.

Consider these questions as you read:

    1. What parallels do you see        between soccer and the learning that happens in your classroom?
  • What do you agree or disagree        with in Wiggins’ post?
  • BONUS: Write a comment on        Grant’s blog with your reflection or reaction

SHARE

Try one or both of these activities in a faculty or team meeting:

Transfer in Practice

    1. Bring one upcoming lesson        from any class you are teaching, preferably in the next week
  • Identify the transfer goal        implied by the content and skills in the lesson. What is it that        students will be using outside of school and in life beyond graduation?        What is the “game condition” for this topic or skill?
  • With a grade partner, plan an        activity or project where students can demonstrate that transfer goal.
  • BONUS: Try out the activity        before the next faculty meeting.

Thinking about Understanding

(Adapted from an activity in the Understanding   by Design Professional Development Workbook)

Understanding is a key prerequisite (or at least a co-requisite) of   transfer. So what do we mean when we say someone “understands” something?   Think about these quotes, then in a small group write a statement that   completes this phrase: “Someone   who understands…”

Men just don’t understand   women!

I didn’t really   understand it until I had to use it.

Although I disagree, I can   understand the opposition’s point of view.

She knows the answer but   doesn’t understand why it is correct.

TEST DRIVE

Each day this month, try one of these simple techniques for focusing on   transfer in the classroom:

    • Alert:        Explicitly draw students’ attention to the transfer goal by pointing out        how the skill is useful outside of school, or by demonstrating an        example of how you have used it in practice.
  • Predict:        Ask students after a lesson to predict when the skill, concept, or topic        would apply to something outside of school, or how their parents might        need to use it.
  • Connect:        Talk about how this topic or skill connects to something they learned        earlier in the year, something they will be learning in a later unit, or        something from a different subject.
  • Reflect:        Ask students to reflect on their own use and understanding of the skill.        What works? What doesn’t? How could you understand better?
  • BONUS:        Try one of these techniques yourself when thinking about your own        planning and instruction, or share your own reflections in the comments        below.

(Click here for even more techniques to try.)

EXPLORE

Here are a few more resources on transfer that you can check out if you   want to learn more or dig deeper:

Coming next month…

You may be asking, “This is all well and good, but what does it have to do   with the Common Core?” In the next toolkit, we will make the connection   explicit and explore how transfer plays a key role in successfully   implementing the Standards.
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