Active learning promotes an environment that engages naturally. There is movement. There is variety. There is choice. All of the things that make for authentic learning experiences inside of a structure.
If it works for younger learners, why wouldn’t it work for adult learners?
For our last department meeting, the strategy I decided to model was station learning. A week before the meeting occurred, I put out an email to the department asking if there were any areas they wanted time to work on or to explore with their colleagues, in addition to the ideas I already had which I shared in that same email.
Based on the feedback I received from the team, I switched out one or two of my original thoughts and used theirs instead.
The stations were as follows:
Station 1: Revising midterms - This is for grade level teams working on common exams to ensure that they are aligned with standards and content appropriate for the current learners. Finalized exams should be emailed to me no later than December 22nd. //www.nysed.gov/curriculum-instruction/teachers/new-york-state-next-generation-english-language-arts-learning
Station 2: Co-planning for better student learning - This station is for folks who have done their lesson studies already or are about to do them and would like some more time to discuss student learning based on the strategies presented or to be presented.
Station 3: Using student data to inform instruction (you should bring student work for this one) - This station is meant to look at current student work from any or all of your classes with other teachers. How are students performing across content and what strategies are working or not working. Use this station to refer to your student’s work and make necessary adjustments to planning. More time for providing excellent actionable feedback to students. One tool you may consider for giving more personal and auditory feedback is Voxer. Voxer is a free walkie-talkie app. How can a tool like Voxer be used to improve student feedback?
Station 4: Goal setting and student reflection - If you’re interested in looking more deeply at student goal setting at the beginning, middle and end of a unit, paired with reflection and student self-assessment, use this station to develop materials to support student involvement this activity. //www.assessmentforlearning.edu.au/professional-learning/modules/student_self-assessment/student_strategies_enhance.html
Station 5: Implementing Project-Based learning (PBL) - Since we want more students actively participating in the work of their learning, this station can be used to brainstorm ideas for excellent, standard-aligned project-based learning. Review exemplars of assessments and student work to help give ideas. We also have Hacking Project Based Learning in the Professional Library in the office as a resource.
Station 6: Meaningful technology implementation for deeper student learning. Many of you are using Flipgrip in your classes to get students more engaged with the content you are working on. Flipgrid is one tool that we can continue to build on. If you’re using Flipgrid or other excellent tech tools worth sharing, (or you want to learn about new tech), come to this station.
//elearningindustry.com/18-free-digital-storytelling-tools-for-teachers-and-students - digital storytelling resources
Station 7: Teaching Research - This station is about developing research protocols. Have time to discuss with your grade level colleagues how you are using research in your class and how to better align research expectations across contents and grade levels. Areas such a citation, and depth of research should be discussed.
Providing resources for each station, I made sure that teachers had support and an explanation prior to the meeting. The agenda served as my “lesson plan” which was also shared with a clear objective and standards alignment to help tie best practices to expectations.
Additionally, this was another opportunity for teachers to collaborate in areas they may not have mixed before.
Instead of spending time going over directives and/or announcements, I just included the reminders in the agenda and then provided these directions:
Directions: You will have 15 minutes at two different stations of your choosing. Once at each station, please set a goal for what you'd like to accomplish or briefly write why you selected the station you did in the time you have at that station. Work collaboratively with the folks who have selected that station with you. When the 15 minutes is up, you will move to your second station. At the end of your second station, please reflect on the experience and consider next steps when you do to be submitted for future learning.
Independently select a station that suits your current needs. Once you arrive at the station, you will have 15 minutes to engage with the learning and collaborate with others who have selected the same station. Spend a minute or two deciding on the goals you have for that station, what you hope to get out of it. Then engage in the learning. In 15 minutes, an alarm of some kind will sound and you will move to the second station of your choosing. Please make sure to attend two stations. Once you arrive at station number 2, again, intentionally think about what you hope to get out of it and engage in the learning with the others who have chosen that station. At the end of 15 minutes, another alarm will sound and we will all come back together with the laptops and fill out the following exit ticket: //goo.gl/forms/wNEflULGpX73eN8H2 (take the time to review the exit ticket before we start) *Please be reflective as you answer. If you need more time, please take it and make sure to get me the finished exit ticket no later than Tuesday next week. I have made the exit ticket something you can edit as many times as you need. The information I collect will help inform future collaborative department learning. In this way, if there is something you want to know more about or you'd like me to model a practice in your classroom, please reach out and it would be my pleasure to help in any capacity. (i.e. model the practice by co-planning/teaching with you, come watch you try out something new and provide feedback, be an extra pair of hands in your class as you try out something new) Thank you as always for your candor and professionalism. *As we move forward we are shared learning, please make sure to implement the work you've done today in your classes. I'm hoping to see the application of the work in your classes.
Since the meeting has passed, I have reviewed the feedback provided on the exit ticket and plan to explore further the suggestions shared. Additionally, I have read their thoughts on the chart papers from each station and plan on using them for a future meeting, potentially as a Socratic Seminar. One thing I’ve learned and am continuing to grapple with is that the department has a variety of philosophical disparities that need addressing. I’m hoping we can do a Socratic seminar or a “Rocks or Sucks” style meeting about these issues in the future.
Needless to say, the data I have been collecting is invaluable and I plan to use it all to inform my future decisions.
What data have you collected from your team lately that has shifted the way you approach things? Please share.
The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.