October Early Release 10.31.12

"What do we do since our data isn't changing?"

WHERE GOOD IDEAS COME FROM by Steven Johnson

Departmental Work

Our campus met by departments to talk about some of the key questions presented to us at last month's success junior meeting. Departments completed their answers in a google form and submitted it. We then shared out answers from all departments to the department heads and talked about it with them.

What we talked about:


  1. In what ways are we, as a department, customizing and differentiating learning for our students?
  2. When you notice a student's attention drifting, what are some ways you have tried or have heard to help redirect the student?
  3. What are some examples of ways you have structured lessons/assessments to ensure high levels of engagement for all students?
  4. Consider the audience of your students' work. Who else sees their work besides you as the teacher?
  5. How often you your students work in cooperative groups? How do you set up your groups?
  6. What might students struggle with this six weeks? What supports could you put in place in preparation for that?
  7. As a result of your work today, what are some next steps for you as a dept?

Some of the keys from our department conversations:

Results

Most departments worked hard to answer the questions. Some departments also took to the ideas presented by others and started to think outside of the box. There were some departments who started to get into the "gripe" mode, though we did specifically ask them to not spend time focusing on the things they could not control. The administrative crew made the rounds, trying to help contribute to the conversations and keeping folks centered on how to help students.


Following this work, we talked about the results in our campus leadership team meeting. This sparked some conversation about changes as most of the things the departments said is "what they are already doing." If that is the case (and sometimes it may not really be the case), then what changes need to be made in order to better reach our struggling students? More to come as department heads are now going back to their departments to highlight key targets for change.

The Good News?

Departments are still talking and developing plans. They know that we are serious about making some changes and some have already been implemented.

The Not As Good News?

We still have a ways to go in changing mindsets from "we are doing everything we can" to "what else could I try to help my struggling learners?"