This VES Professional Study Group is based on the recommendations described in Becoming a Literacy Leader, Supporting Learning and Change by Jennifer Allen to provide teachers with the opportunity to reflect, review and integrate new thinking into their classroom instruction. We use professional resources as springboards for discussion and personal examination. Most of what I have written here comes form Jennifer Allen’s wonderful book.
This year we have 10 teachers participating. We are Third Grade, Fourth Grade, Fifth Grade and Special education Teachers. This is our fourth year for the book group and our first year using the blog.
This year we decided to focus on Writers’ Workshop by reading Units of Study for Teaching Writing Grades 3-5 by Lucy Calkins for 2009-2010 year. We will read each book and then try to apply something from the book in a classroom lesson so that we have a sharable experience to discuss at our next meeting. We will meet 4-5 times during the school year. We will meet on both on ½ days and after school.
The sessions will have a predictable one hour/three part format. First the study group will start with a whole group discussion about what we have read and applied in the classroom. For the next part of the group we view a related DVD. Finally the group finishes with a discussion about putting ideas into practice.
In addition to the meetings the group has a blog http://www.eledblog.com/blogs/ves-professional-reading-group . This is our first year using the blog. Hopefully the blog will provide us with additional opportunity to communicate collegially related to the topic of literacy.
This plan is designed to improve the quality of teaching delivered to students in the classrooms. Study Groups help drive new instructional practices into the classroom. Study groups help teachers renew their passion for teaching and learning. Participants will be supported by the group and encouraged to try something new in their classroom and also to bring back samples of student work to the next session share. The study group should help us establish increased professional collegiality among teachers. It should also create a culture of risk taking for learning.
At the year end, participants complete a study group evaluation survey to see if the study group can improve and be used again as an effective model for professional development here in the Voorheesville Elementary.