NCVPS eLC Team Time September 2013

Your steps as your eLC teams work asynchronously then live.

Weekly Plan!

Week of September 9 (Week 1)

WELCOME to your weekly eLC time for this new school year! It is so important that we as teachers work in community with each other and not in isolation. We are thankful for you at NCVPS as you are making a difference for the students of NC!

As Henry Brooks Adams wrote, “Teachers affect eternity; no one can tell where their influence stops. “ How cool that teaching is our profession with so many possibilities for our students. But we need to work as a team to do all we can to provide the best instruction to our students.

Housekeeping detail! All eLCs will be housed in the Learning Communities course within Moodle. The Professional Learning team has created a label for each eLC within the course. During this week, discuss how your e-LC can personalize the label by adding your team's Goal Statement for this semester. There will be instructions for all ILs on how to add content to the label. There is a place for you to REFLECT on what you believe your team's Goal Statement should be on your team's eLC Google doc. Each time you see REFLECT, you will know to use your team's eLC Google doc to provide your reflection in the appropriate place. Your IL will be providing you with your eLC's Google doc.

We are now refocusing on our eLC time to make it as meaningful and productive as possible. There will be two REFLECTIONS this week plus your Goal Statement!

These questions are our focus this week:
  1. What is an eLC?
  2. Why do we have an eLC?
  3. What does accountability look like in an eLC?
  4. What is my role in the eLC?

REFLECT on these questions and record your answers to your eLC's Google doc (just use the FIRST question box to reflect on all four of these questions!).

Now, let's spend a few minutes reading about the NCVPS vision for eLCs. Please go to this LINK. Here you will see the NCVPS vision for the questions you reflected on above.

Once you are done, please do a final REFLECTION in your eLC's Google doc based on what thoughts you have already recorded and any new revelations or thoughts after reading the NCVPS eLC vision. Why is community and not teaching in isolation so important?

Come back to your team's eLC Google doc this week and read your team's responses. Respond further if you would like!

Week of September 16 (Week 2)

Last week we talked about the importance of being INVOLVED and active with our eLC.

At NCVPS, we know the importance of looking at student data daily to make informed instructional plans for the next day. The three Pillars work to provide us with that daily data.

This week we are going to make sure we understand how the Teacher Expectations match what we see on the Spot Check and then see how the first Pillar helps us to make those informed instructional plans for the next day.

There will be four REFLECTIONS this week!

Instructional Pillar 1: Teaching Through Effective Feedback

Teaching through effective feedback from an involved and engaging teacher is one of the distinctive ways NCVPS is different from other online learning options.

A teacher's instructional feedback is where we go BEYOND the grade! Think about your most recent experience as a student. Remember that paper you worked on for days that only received a grade with no comments? Or how much did you learn from the “Good Job” written on your paper and nothing else?

REFLECT on these questions about your own personal experience above on your eLC's Google doc.

Our students are NO different than we are. There is very little value in Good Job for a student. Good job at what? What did I do well in? Why not GREAT JOB?

Your feedback on every assignment should be:





  • We should be specific in what the students did well and can improve on.

  • We should direct students to where in the course they can go to re-watch or re-learn material that is not clear.

  • We should be connective with our students – use their first name, give encouragement, connect to learning that they have done before or will do soon.

  • And the right tone – we want to encourage as well as teach in our feedback.

Feedback is critical for every assignment a student completes – our responsibility as teachers is to use every assignment as a teaching opportunity!

REFLECT on this idea -- why should every assignment a student completes receive meaningful feedback? Are there pieces to this expectation that you don't agree with? Be sure to give reasons for your answer in your reflection.

Your Spot Check is your affirmation of all the great teaching you are doing as well as your growth plan for the immediate future. We never want to teach without community (your eLC) or without immediate coaching and feedback (your Spot Checks).

On your Spot Check, PROFICIENT always describes what NCVPS expects in this category. For Teaching Through Feedback, the PROFICIENT for Specific/Directive/Connective feedback is this: All student work receives very specific and directive feedback that enriches student understanding and prepares students for future

This is where we want every teacher to be because it is BEST for students! This kind of feedback allows students to have a clear understanding of where they are in their learning, how it connects to previous learning, and what gaps they may have. Anything less makes us no different from other vendor online learning options.

Now, to grow and perform above expectations, your Spot Check rubric says this for ADVANCED: In addition to the proficient expectations, student work receives very specific, directive feedback with real world connections to enhance student's understanding of specific assignment/lesson.

This category rewards the teacher who goes beyond the expectation, who is not only meeting the descriptors in her feedback of Proficient, but is connecting that learning to real world connections, experiences, examples, etc.

So let's spend some time now REFLECTING about where you are as a teacher in the feedback you give to your students and where you would like to grow, and reflect on how you do/can/will do/attempt to reach the Advanced rating.

Finally, the last part of feedback is Positive Tone. Last REFLECTION for this week: How do you create a positive tone in your feedback?

Record your answers on your team's eLC Google doc! Come back sometime this week and read your team's responses. Respond further if you would like!

Week of September 23 (Week 3)

It's time to continue our look at our Three Instructional Pillars -- these foundations are what make NCVPS different from other online learning options. Last week we looked in depth at Pillar 1 and the power of instructional feedback.

This week our focus is Pillar 2: Teaching through Effective Announcements / Learning Blocks.

There will be four REFLECTIONS this week!

I often hear that it is too hard to recognize a student every day or to meet the goal of three components each day in the Announcements / Learning Blocks. I challenge you to believe in the process and make it happen! And since this is not optional for us, let's learn how to do it and do it well!

Our goal is to make sure our Announcements / Learning Blocks have THREE PIECES each day.

  • Instruct
  • Celebrate
  • Inform

Take a minute to REFLECT on how you are doing with each part each day. What have you done that makes you proud and where are you still growing? Use the three questions below to get you thinking!

1. Are you using the previous day's student performance to drive the Instructional content of your next day's announcement? (Instruct!)

2. Are you celebrating student achievement each day? It doesn’t have to be assignments necessarily – it could be success at a track meet or band competition! (Celebrate!)

3. Are you keeping your students informed about what is coming up? (Inform!)

If your Announcements / Learning Blocks are only informational, you are missing two important components of what your Announcements / Learning Blocks should be -- it is critical that we are using what our students tell us DAILY in their formative assessments and required assignments to determine what instructional content is needed for the next day.

And finally, celebrate your students often.

Samuel Johnson wrote, "Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings." We have the opportunity to build self-confidence in our students by celebrating tangible achievement.

On your Spot Check, PROFICIENT always describes what NCVPS expects in this category. For Teaching Through Announcements - Instruct, the PROFICIENT is this: Posts daily instructional announcements that teach concepts and enrich students' understanding of content.

The key words here are TEACH and ENRICH. Think of this as the Anticipatory Set in the f2f classroom. What do you want students to learn today? Is it a new concept or the continuation of a concept? What did they struggle with yesterday that you can address in this announcement today?

Let's REFLECT: Teach and Enrich - Why are these two words so important and why do we need to begin our course each day with a quality Announcement / Learning Block?

For the teacher who is growing and going beyond the expectation, there is the Advanced category: Posts more than a daily instructional announcement each week that teach concepts and enrich students' understanding of content. Teacher connects new material to previous material and when appropriate, extends the learning of the concept.

This is the teacher who is proficient in the daily goals of the instructional piece of the daily Announcement / Learning Block but who also goes above the expectation by providing at least one additional instructional announcement each week that connects new material to previous material and/or extends the learning of a concept.

So, let's break down what this can look like: spend a few minutes REFLECTING in your team's eLC Google doc about what this connection of old learning to new material or extension of a concept could be -- what does this look like in the course you teach? Why is this awesome for students?

The Spot Check has a category for Inform and Celebrate and of course, creating your content in an engaging way.

Go to your Spot Check tab in your Teacher Portfolio and read through the rubric for the Instruct, Celebrate, and Web 2.0 categories.

For your last REFLECTION, write a brief reflection on what Proficient means to you in these three categories.

Record all your answers on your team's eLC Google doc! Come back sometime this week and read your team's responses. Respond further if you would like!

Week of September 30 (Week 4)

It's the last week of our September eLCs, and I hope this has been a good learning experience for you!

Your LIVE eLC team meeting is this week so before you meet, make sure to complete the following.

During the last two weeks, we have looked in depth at Pillar 1 and the power of instructional feedback and Pillar 2, setting the day's learning in motion with meaningful, intentional, and personalized Announcements / Learning Blocks.

This week our focus is Pillar 3: Teaching through Synchronous Relationships.

There will be two REFLECTIONS this week!

Pillar 3 is the CORE Pillar as it defines who we are as a school. We are here because of our students. We want to be a learning option for them to meet the different and varied ways that students learn most effectively today. But truly, it is ALL about the relationship.

Let's REFLECT for a few minutes on your team's eLC Google doc -- Why is building relationships with all stakeholders -- students, parents, and school contacts -- so important?

Building relationships is the cornerstone of our teacher effectiveness - teachers who don’t believe this concept often are not successful. Building relationships is about investing the time in the student-teacher relationship that creates momentum for student success.

Since we don’t have our students all together in one classroom each day, it truly is an investment in each student and an investment of our teachers’ time. We have talked about this a lot - research says the most significant indicator of student success is the relationship with the teacher. We or any program can have the most amazing content – but the content can never be a substitute for good teaching. It does not matter what learning environment the student is in – f2f, online, or blended – we can NEVER replace the power of the teacher-student relationship. NCVPS knows this, we want all of our teachers to believe it, and work to put it into action.

Let's stop and REFLECT again -- What has been your greatest strength and your greatest challenge in building relationships either with your students if you are a traditional or Credit Recovery teacher or with your partner teacher if you are an OCS or STEM teacher?

On your Spot Check, PROFICIENT always describes what NCVPS expects in this category. For Teaching Through Synchronous Contact to Build Relationships, the PROFICIENT is about weekly synchronous communication, whether it is weekly contact with students (traditional and Credit Recovery) or weekly contact with your partner teachers (OCS and STEM).

There will be challenges in making this happen, but the key is in the effort -- Will you approach this as a task to be checked off or as a process to build relationships?

For this REFLECTION, think about the question above and respond to it.

Your team meets LIVE this week!

When your team meets live this week, here are your focus questions; please identify someone who will record your eLC's decisions at the bottom of the September tab of your team's eLC Google doc.

1. Discuss your team's answers to the Week 1 Reflection questions. Then, go round robin so each person can share what his or her commitment will be to the eLC this semester.
2. Discuss your team's answers to the Week 2 Reflection questions. As an eLC, decide what this group's goal is for improving feedback.
3. Discuss your team's answers to the Week 3 Reflection questions. As an eLC, decide what this group's goal is for improving daily Announcements/Learning Blocks.
4. Discuss your team's answers to the Week 4 Reflection questions. As an eLC, identify some achievable steps this group can make to be teachers who do not make contact just to check off the requirement but make contact to build relationships, no matter who the stakeholder is.
5. Finally, it is time to read everyone's ideas for a GOAL for this group but also take into account all the discussions your team has had during your LIVE time together. Set a goal for this eLC that you will work to meet this semester. (ILs, you will be provided directions so you can add the GOAL to your team's eLC label.)

Thank you for your excellent work this week! I hope you have enjoyed your eLC discussion time together.

Coming up in October! Reviewing the Five Data Questions and how these impact the three Instructional Pillars!