Last month I reflected on my use of engagement strategies using the lens of the Danielson Framework. Today I’m going to tell you how our staff tried a new engagement strategy, used a protocol to discuss the strategy, and our daring next steps for improving our practice.
- Reviewing the Framework
We began the morning grounding ourselves in the Danielson Framework.
In Daneilson’s framework, domain 3C describes this critical attribute:
- Most students are intellectually engaged in the lesson.
- Most learning tasks have multiple correct responses or approaches and/or encourage higher-order thinking.
- Students are invited to explain their thinking as part of completing tasks.
- Materials and resources support the learning goals and require intellectual engagement, as appropriate.
- The pacing of the lesson provides students the time needed to be intellectually engaged.
- The teacher uses groupings that are suitable to the lesson activities.
Most students are intellectually engaged in the lesson.
Even more convicting: the Danielson Framework tells us that Student Engagement is the cornerstone, the centerpiece, of quality instruction. All other aspects of quality teaching hinges on this standard. All other components of the Danielson Framework “is in the service of student engagement.”
You read that right.
Talk about high leverage strategies!
- Unpacking the luggage
Between the time of my last post about Student Engagement and this morning, each staff member was asked to try a strategy from Total Participation Strategies by Himmele and Himmele. I chose Chalkboard Splash.
Here’s a quick aside about my TPT (Total Participation Strategy) strategy. In Chalkboard Splash, you pose a question to students, and they write their responses on a chalkboard. Luckily for me, I have small groups of students and several small white boards. For Chalkboard splash, I ask each student to write their response on a white board and place it in the front of the room. We then talk about our responses.
- Back to unpacking
In order to get folks out of the usual grade level group formation, I wrote a number at the top of each persons written response paper they picked up on their way in. The numbers corresponded with table numbers. Mixed groups!
Each person took a few minutes to unpack their strategy with a few reflection prompts.
- Unpacking protocol
Now, in mixed groups we shared our reflection sheets using the unpacking protocol from Groups At Work by Laura Lipton (thanks @Teachem2Reachem !). Each person takes a round sharing Successes, Challenges, and Questions. One note taker compiles trends and universal ideas. This is recorded and we asked teams to turn them in.
- Next steps
Now came the time that made me most nervous about the morning. We were going to ask staff to try something out of their comfort zone and not a practice at this school.
A climate survey earlier in the year indicated staff wanted more time to see peers teach and to get into each other’s classrooms. Because of limited budget, sub shortage, and time running short (sound familiar?), we decided to use the modern medium of video for teachers to share their practice.
I attended a useful webinar through the Teaching Channel about using video for professional development. We also showed a short video explaining why using video can be helpful for the teacher being video taped.
Here it was: we were asking staff to volunteer to videotape one of the TPT strategies. Not a whole lesson. Just 3-5 minutes. Not for YouTube, just for the grade level team. Not evaluative, just for peer review and personal reflection.
We asked each team to submit 1 name of a person who would volunteer. Everyone else on the team volunteered to choose a new TPT strategy to try in the upcoming months.
- My reflection on the whole thing
Well, no one cried or left screaming mad, and that’s always a good measure of a quality professional development. I’m proud of the peers who volunteered right away to video themselves trying something new. I might even try it myself. Stay tuned.