Collaborative Team Teaching

Collaborative Team Teaching
Amy Choi and Pam Ambler presented a compelling and highly useful workshop for team teaching pairs on the first day of pre-planning. As the Upper School scales collaborative team teaching up from Humanities 9 to Humanities 10 and several new inter/multi-disciplinary courses this year, the models and tools they provided will be key to our success.

This workshop was the result of a grant that included elements of design thinking.

Collaborative Team Teaching: Challenges and Rewards
Team Teaching: Advantages and Disadvantages
Team Teaching Benefits and Challenges

Building Our Learning Measures


Building Our Learning Measures
This morning, our monthly vertical team meeting focused on building our capacity with two of our ‘expanded learning measures’ – formative assessment and e-portfolios. Here is the agenda with some data added…

Essential Questions
What are the limitations of numerical grades as a single measure of learning?
How will we develop our understanding of e-portfolios as an effective measure ‘for’ and ‘of’ learning?

Desired Outcomes
Vertical Teams collaborate to implement formative assessment and e-portfolios.

Learning Opportunities
In advance, read Edutopia article: 11 Essentials for Excellent Eportfolios

    • Entry Ticket: Upon arrival, write on 3 separate post-it notes…
      • 1 idea this article sparked
      • 1 question this article sparked
      • the # of e-portfolio demonstrations you have currently assigned to your class

  • Create an entry ticket with your vertical team, using your learning outcome process standards, that you all agree to use for formative assessment in the next few weeks, that students will upload to their e-portfolios.
  • Share out your ticket with the whole team. Receive feedback. Iterate to improve.

Vertical Team Guiding Questions

How can you formatively assess one of these process standards as a vertical team?

How can students demonstrate their learning of one of these process standards? And make their thinking visible via e-portfolio?

How can we help students build the muscles of reflecting on their learning?

PL Team=============

Teacher Reflection on Understanding and Implementation of student e-portfolios

What problems have you encountered while implementing e-portfolios with students? How did you solve them?

Does student’s work tell a story?

What do the demonstrations of learning that students post in their e-portfolios reveal about what they are learning in your class?

If someone else were looking at the demonstrations that students post in their e-portfolios, what might they learn about the design of your class?

What things you might want more help with?

What’s the one thing that you have seen in your colleague’s work or process that you would like to try related to e-portfolios?

Post-it Note Results…

HMW entice students to see e-portfolios as ‘theirs’ rather than something the Ts want them to do?
What’s a simple and effective way for me to promote and support e-portfolios with student buy-in?
How do we continue to empower students to want to curate their e-portfolios?
Why/how do we spark interest?
How to get students/teachers to care about e-portfolios?
How effective are e-portfolios in increasing learning? (I loved this question so much I wrote a response!)
What is our e-portfolio purpose?
What is our purpose?

How do we help students preserve portfolios for future endeavors?
Will e-portfolios be out-of-date tomorrow? (technology changes so rapidly)
If they lose their ’email’ account at the end of high school, does it have longevity?
Do students know how this will be used?
How might I use two different approaches to e-portfolios over the next 9 weeks?
QR Code – love it! Wonder how to use?
Clarify positivist/constructivist approach?
Need to focus e-portfolios to ensure demonstration of learning (learning outcomes)
How do we get videos in to make it easy?
Have we learned to add video? Who will help us?
Are we using the positivist or constructivist approach?

e-portfolios can be used for a short-term learning project
projects on e-portfolios
I would love to make my 2nd semester project tie directly to e-portfolio
design students demos to really showcase a learning progression throughout the year
HMW ensure that e-portfolio updates are relevant to demonstration of learning (learning outcomes)?
the portfolio for learning, as learning
Enhance student meta-cognition, reflection, ownership
I would like to ‘practice’ demos in advisory
I can meet with 1 kid per day in advisory on e-portfolios, match with goals (for SLC)
Student Blog: maybe have students start a blog instead of their journal I have them do? They could keep a blog and blog every week about topics of interest.
Check out One Note and other resources
Instead of weekly journaling, students can add to One Note or Evernote – culmination activity is uploading unit post-its up with a reflection
Students can keep a hard copy of all work done in a 9 week period. At the end of the period, upload 2 pieces of work that were significant. This gives students more time to reflect and choose two of their best pieces.
Students write class blog and link e-portfolios there? Allow a specific timeline to post.
Still love video aspect, but it’s too hard to upload
Our NPS is good with timeline (?)
Use as a student website/blog
We should publish to parents.
Digital Media = blog? Do we want to use e-portfolios like this?

1 Demo – 6
2 Demos – 9
3 Demos – 2
5 Demos – 1

What are your questions about e-portfolios and formative assessment? What are your ideas? Please share with us!

Thanks for the Feedback

Thanks for the Feedback

Thanks for the Feedback

Our team has recently discovered this fabulous book, recommended by Meredith Monk from Folio Collaborative. The authors outline the 3 types of feedback we all need and receive as human beings: appreciation, coaching, and evaluation.

None of these concepts are new, but the clarification of each one, as well as the interconnectedness of them are providing important insights for us. Just the summary from Chapter 1 alone has given us great fodder for discussion and reflection.

“Feedback” is really three different things, with different purposes:

Appreciation – motivates and encourages.
Coaching – helps increase knowledge, skill, ability, capability, growth, or raises feelings in the relationship.
Evaluation – tells you where you stand, aligns expectations, and informs decision making.

We need all three, but often talk at cross-purposes.

Evaluation is the loudest and can drown out the other two. (And all coaching includes a bit of evaluation.)

Be thoughtful about what you need and what you’re being offered, and get aligned.

To the Prankster…

To the beloved colleague and prankster who pulled every other book out on my office shelf, I only have this to say…

“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom I can tell you I don’t have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you put my books back in order now that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you, but if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you and I will ‘Hasselhoff’ you.”


Book Insights: The Advantage

The AdvantageBook Insights: The Advantage

A couple of years ago, our executive team read ‘The Advantage’ by Patrick Lencioni. The book is rich with insights and guiding ideas for any team or organization. Here are a few of the key takeaways.

Question 1: Why do we exist?
Employees in every organization, and at every level, need to know that at the heart of what they do lies something grand and aspirational.

Question 2: How do we behave?
If an organization is tolerant of everything, it will stand for nothing.

Question 3: What do we do?
a simple, one-sentence definition, something your grandmother can understand (no offense to grandmas).

Question 4: How will we succeed?
An organization’s strategy is nothing more than the collection of intentional decisions a company makes to give itself the best chance to thrive and differentiate from competitors.

Question 5: What is most important, right now?
Every organization if it wants to create a sense of alignment and focus, must have a single top priority within a given period of time.

Question 6: Who must do what?
Without clarity around division of labor, the potential for politics and infighting, even among well-intentioned people, is great.

The Advantage

The AdvantageThe Advantage

The Table Group

How Are Mistakes and Failures Embraced?

Teachers participated in a visible thinking routine called “Think, Pair, Share” today. They asked, “How are mistakes and failures embraced as opportunities to grow and learn?” Specifically, they applied this question to 3 key initiatives: Assessments, ePortfolios, and Student Led Conferences.Professional LearningToday’s Agenda – Middle School Faculty Meeting

Desired Outcomes:
Expand our ability to utilize assessment in new and more effective ways
Advance ePortfolios by incorporating more storytelling
Collaborate with vertical teams to grow in our practice

Essential Questions:
How are mistakes and failures embraced as opportunities to grow and learn?
How are students “storytelling” their learning with ePortfolios?

Learning Activities: Think, Pair, Share within Vertical Teams
“Mistakes and failures are embraced as opportunities to grow and learn.”
What does this look/sound like in your classroom practice regarding assessment?

“Mistakes and failures are embraced as opportunities to grow and learn.”
What does this look/sound like in a student led conference?

professional learning
The math vertical team discusses ideas with members of the advancement team.
professional learning
Modeling our group work norms, several team members volunteer for specific roles. Emma made a unique “alarm” sound every time.
professional learning
Each vertical team shared their “pieces of gold” for how to embrace mistakes and failures as opportunities to learn and grow.
professional learning
Social Studies vertical team pairs and shares what a student led conference looks like when “mistakes and failures are embraced as opportunities to learn.”
professional learning
Think, Pair, Share with science team.
professional learning
How are students “storytelling” their learning with ePortfolios?

“Mistakes and failures are embraced as opportunities to grow and learn.”
What does this look like in students’ eportfolios?
What is the story that students are telling/showing? How are they telling/showing it?

This is a MUST READ…
A Guide to Producing Student Digital Storytellers

Pre-Planning Template

Pre-Planning Template

Pre-planning is an exciting, creative, critical, and stressful time all at once. Teachers are anxious to prep their plans and classrooms. Administrators want to give and protect teacher planning time, yet also devote team time to key initiatives and wildly important goals. In addition, there are other important groups that need time with both teachers and admin (CPR training, Advancement, Business Office, R & D), plus time to connect with “All School.” Finding the right balance can be challenging.

Pre-planning template
Pre-planning template

In the spirit of sharing, here is the template we used this year. Gold represents Middle School team time. Royal blue stands for “Get Stuff Done” – time for teachers to do as they see fit. Navy blue is for “All School events.” Red is for CPR. White is for lunch, photos, and orientation.

As much as possible, faculty members are invited to create and lead sessions, distributing leadership across the team. And our team does such a great job!

For those responsible for planning your team’s pre-planning agenda, feel free to use this for inspiration. And please share your own tips and insights!


Class Trip to Space Camp – Day 2

Class Trip to Space Camp
Class Trip to Space Camp
Class Trip to Space Camp via Twitter Feed

Space Camp® launched in 1982 to inspire and motivate young people from around the country to join the ranks of space pioneers who persevere to push the boundaries of human exploration. Today, with attendees from all 50 states, territories and more than 60 foreign countries, the immersive program continues to challenge young people to dream of a future in space.

With the U.S. Space & Rocket Center® as home base, trainees have an unparalleled environment to spur imagination. Historic space, aviation and defense hardware, along with exhibits that highlight current and future programs help Space Camp trainees transcend from, “What if?” to “Can do!” thinking and actions. Indeed, Space Camp alumni include NASA and ESA astronauts, engineers, scientists and technologists.

Static displays and unique settings provide excellent areas for classroom instruction while hands-on training, high fidelity simulations and enthusiastic counselors ignite the singular sizzle of Space Camp. Teamwork, leadership, decision-making: from mission control to space transport to space station, trainees gain personal and professional insights that profoundly impact futures.

Space Camp is the brainchild of rocket scientist, Dr. Wernher von Braun. Von Braun led propulsion activities that launched the Apollo-era U.S. manned space program and envisioned an aggressive schedule for America’s space-bound pioneers. Von Braun, then director of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, reasoned there should be an experience for young people who were excited about space. Under the guidance of Edward O. Buckbee, the first director of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Space Camp was born.

Camps are available for fourth grade through high school-age students. Additional programs are offered for trainees who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing and those who have other special needs. Space Camp programs are also available for adults, educators, corporate groups and families. Family programs may include children as young as seven years old.

Space Camp has attracted more than 600,000 trainees since its inception.

Group Work Norms

Group work is integral to any successful organization. In schools, group work can be fantastic or the source of much concern if teachers fail to establish sound practices. Concerns include, “Why am I getting the same grade as others when I did more work?” or “I was left out and didn’t have a clear role to play.” This year, our Middle School faculty collaborated to develop a set of group work norms. We’re very proud of them and we want your feedback to help iterate them.

They are…

* Launch the Project
* Group the Troops
* Cast the Characters
* Coach the Collaboration
* Measure the Learning