Learning Lab In Review


Our team gathered the morning of April 20, 2016 at Sunset Ridge to collaborate around the teaching practice of holding a "Grand Conversation." Our goal was to experience a "learning lab" as a method to study a high leverage teaching practice with real kids. We appreciated this experience! Here's the story of our morning.
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Kari Buer, Kindergarten @ Sauk Trail

Jacki Greene, Instructional Coach @ Sauk Trail

Wendy Judd, 1st Grade @ Sunset Ridge

Karen Murphree, Instructional Coach @ Park and Sunset Ridge

Val Weiss, 2nd Grade @ Park


  • Reviewed Learning Outcomes
  • Established Norms
  • Explored Learning Lab Concepts
  • Discussed a Pre-Read Article About Grand Conversations
  • Co-Planned a Focus Lesson
  • Reviewed Note Taker and Look Fors

Focus Lesson

Karen taught the focus lesson to a group of first graders. She read Oliver Button is a Sissy followed by a Grand Conversation. Others captured evidence of student learning on a note catcher that included lesson look fors. The lesson was videotaped for future reference.


  • Shared Observations of the Focus Lesson
  • Each Teacher Determined Her Own Next Steps
  • Determined Future Group Communication
  • Compiled a Book List for Subsequent Lesson
  • Reflected on the Learning Lab Process

Exit Slip Feedback

As a result of your experience with this Learning Lab would you be interested in participating in another Learning Lab? Why?

Yes - It allowed me to problem solve on the topic and allowed for conversation about how it may look and more importantly why it benefits students.

YES! It is a rejuvenation for my teaching. As teachers, we need to be growing and this is a very supportive way to do that.

Exit Slip Feedback

What else would you like to share with us?

I hope other teachers give this a try at all levels. I see great benefits in growing a deeper understanding, conversation and thinking about a text.

Overall Take Aways

  • Great teacher feedback!
  • We envision replicating this process with other best practices.
  • Voluntary participation is the way to go.
  • Establish cohorts of learners so the professional learning continues beyond one session.
  • This is true job-embedded professional learning!