18
Feb
13

flipped in-service

Last night we joined librarians, writers, and teachers for dinner, where I heard an elementary school leader share that this week he had attended the best in-service ever. His first grade teacher showed a video of the classroom in which she was teaching students to engage in classroom conversation, using sentence openers such as “I agree with [my peer] because…” and “I disagree with [my peer] because…”
This reminded me of some footage I shot last week as eighth graders in our school building began book clubs. I thought they were really engaged, and that their actions and facial expressions expressed their engagement. I showed the video to my juniors and seniors, who were about to launch into their twice weekly book groups themselves (and whose engagement varies), inviting them to list the details they noticed that might suggest these students were engaged. Then they wrote briefly what an engaged 11th or 12th grade book club would look, feel, and sound like.

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I felt the resulting book club conversations improved, and I assume this was due especially to the audio visual aid, which showed students writing, referring to pages in their novels, making eye contact, listening and speaking, gesturing, relating the text to their own experiences, laughing, and focused. I think this was an improvement over the one model live group demo I had begun with several weeks ago, and over my oral or white board instructional reminders prior to small groups in previous weeks.
The administrator I was dining with said “the school’s most important resources are its teachers.”
What would it look like if every teacher and administrator left every teacher-led in-service feeling like it was the best ever? What would a FLIPPED in-service look like? Maximize the learning and sharing potential of every in-service by keeping ALL housekeeping and business announcements to downloadables we view at home; and celebrate professional learning community while we are together.

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I almost forgot to add: the first grade students were engaged in solving a math problem–with the goal of deciding whether its solution required addition or subtraction.

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