One of our school-wide goals on our school's Continuous Improvement Plan this year is literacy improvement. With the Alabama adopted College and Career readiness Standards in 2010, our Alabama State Courses of Study for history/social studies, science, English, and technical subjects have literacy standards for grades 6-12. Additionally, Alabama has a strategic plan for education called Plan 2020. In it, it calls for schools to prepare students so that they are successful for college and/or career upon graduation.
There are two parts to our literacy plan: 1) use data to inform teachers of students' reading performance and drive instruction (we use GlobalScholar assessments) and 2) teachers learn and use effective literacy strategies throughout the school year. In this blog post I hope to share with you how we will teach the staff members effective literacy strategies and monitor the use of the strategies.
***In February, I heard Dick Allington present at the No Child Left Out Conference, and he lit a fire under me for literacy instruction. Here's my first post: We Can Teach All Kids to Read.
Here's my post about the initial planning stages.
In May, I asked for volunteers to be a part of the literacy team. We had 20 teachers to volunteer, and the journey began. The volunteers knew that they were committing to the following:
- Read The Core Six Essential Strategies for Achieving Excellence with the Common Core
- Learn, use, and share six strategies with the team and the staff at HHS.
- Attend a half-day planning workshop in the summer of 2014
- Attend monthly team meetings August 2014 - May 2015
Carrie Busby, another assistant principal, and I are leading this initiative. We met with the team in the library and shared our excitement for having a school-wide literacy goal. We also gave everyone a book which will serve as the framework for our plan.
Soon after the meeting, I created a planning document (Google Doc) for us to share. Since the book has six strategies, I divided the group into teams of 3, and asked them to choose the strategy of which their group wanted to be the "expert." I was intentional about the make-up of each team, making sure that there were members of different departments on each team. Some teachers had to introduce themselves to each other on that day!
During the summer, we had an incredible half-day workshop in preparation for this school year.
Here's the agenda we used for the workshop:
12:00 - 12:30 Meet in sub-groups, review important points from book about strategy (record on large post-it notes)
12:30 - 1:00 "Walk-around" Entire group will walk-around and read the information recorded from each group. (5 minutes per poster)
1:00 - 1:30 Debrief from the walk-around. Opportunity for entire group to ask specific questions of each sub-group. Opportunity for sub-groups to highlight their strategies.
1:30 - 1:40 Break
1:40 - 2:30 Discuss plan for implementation with entire staff. Timelines, expectations, etc.
The discussion and collaboration that day was amazing! Teachers shared what they had highlighted and underlined, and I heard, "This is what I do in my class..." a lot! The teachers had all prepared for a deep discussion on their strategies, and it was exciting to see their passion about their topic.
At the end of the day, we talked a lot about what the implementation would look like. We discussed motivation of staff and ease of use of strategies, and we set what we believe to be realistic timelines and expectations for our staff. At the end of the day, I added our notes to the Google Doc and asked everyone to read over the notes, making any corrections or additions as needed.
Our plan for 2014-15 looks like this:
By August 21, a video “trailer” will be created to share with staff. (Persons responsible: Hannah, Molly, Isabeth)
On Thursday, August 27, three teams will spend a day sharing their strategies with the staff. (Mr. Hulin has approved subs for this.) Teachers will attend the PD session during their PLC period.
August strategies: Vocabulary’s Code, Reading for Meaning, and Compare & Contrast
On Tuesday, September 16, members of the remaining teams will spend a day sharing their strategies with the staff. (Mr. Hulin has approved subs for this.)
September strategies: Inductive Learning, Circle of Knowledge, Write to Learn
In addition to the training days, the following will occur:
- Each team will create a 1-page summary sheet for their strategy as well as resources for implementing each strategy. These resources will be made available on LiveBinder.
- Team members will allow instructional videos to be created from their implementation of strategies in their classrooms. These videos will be used as additional resources for the staff.
- One book per PLC will be purchased to use as a reference.
- Lesson plan reflections will include reference to Core 6 Strategy implementation.
- In January, we will have a “check-in” with staff. One person from each group will spend a day moderating a forum where teachers share how they have been using the strategies in their classes. By having the same literacy team members meeting with teachers all day, it allows for cross-sharing of ideas, and it allows for each strategy to be represented.
- HHS Teachers will implement at least 1 strategy during the first semester and another one during the second semester. One PLC meeting per month will be dedicated for teachers to discuss and learn from each other about the implementation of the strategies in their classrooms. Meeting minutes will be used as documentation (using PLC Reflection Sheets).
**Data from GlobalScholar (Scantron) assessments and ACT scores will be used to monitor the effectiveness of our implementation.
If you have a school-wide literacy plan or any suggestions for us, feel free to leave a comment and share with us.