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Professional Development Activity Group 4: Dena Spickard Anthony Wilson Annie Baker Domenic Saia Heather Lankford. The target audience for this project is going to be middle school teachers in a rural area. The teachers will teach the following subjects:

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Professional Development Activity Group 4: Dena Spickard Anthony Wilson Annie Baker Domenic Saia

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Professional Development


Group 4:

Dena Spickard Anthony Wilson

Annie Baker

Domenic Saia

Heather Lankford

The target audience for this project is going to be middle school teachers in a rural area.

The teachers will teach the following subjects:

Math, Science, English, & Social Studies.

There is a gap between the elementary and high school grades that needs to be filled. Many students go to high school unprepared to reach the curricular goals of high schools. Middle school teachers within the school district will collaborate according to subject. Upon collaboration, these teachers will need to meet with elementary and high school teachers to fully grasp this gap.


Collaboration has become a twenty-first-century trend. The need in society to think and work together on issues of critical concern has increased (Austin 2000a; Welch 1998) shifting the emphasis from individual efforts to group work, from independence to community.

Peter F. Oliva, an expert in curriculum development, describes how curriculum change is a cooperative endeavor. Teachers and curriculum specialists constitute the professional core of planners. (Oliva, 2009)

Significant curriculum improvement comes about through group activity. (Oliva, 2009)

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Austin, J. E. 2000a. Principles for partnership. Leader to Leader 18 (Fall). Accessed Mar. 31, 2004,

Welch, M. 1998. Collaboration: Staying on the bandwagon. Journal of Teacher Education 49, no. 1 (Jan./Feb.): 26–38.

Accessed Apr. 24, 2004,

Oliva, Peter F. 2009. Developing the Curriculum (7th edition) Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. Page 33

What is Collaboration?

Collaboration is a trusting, working relationship between two or more equal participants/groups involved in shared thinking, shared planning and shared creation of integrated curriculum/ instruction.

Collaboration: Makes us Smarter??

Introducing a new curriculum or refining an existing curriculum is complex and challenging.

Teacher teamwork makes these complex tasks more manageable, stimulates new ideas, and promotes coherence in a school’s curriculum and instruction. (Inger, 1993)

Schools benefit from teacher collaboration in several ways (Inger, 1993) :

Through formal and informal training sessions, study groups, and conversations about teaching, teachers and administrators get the opportunity to get smarter together.

Schools become better prepared and organized to examine new ideas, methods, and materials.

The faculty becomes adaptable and self-reliant.

Inger, M. 1993. Teacher collaboration in secondary schools. Center Focus, no. 2 (Dec.)

Collaboration: Shared Thinking

When individuals come together to share their expertise and ideas in order to construct a fresh and innovative way of doing something, they are demonstrating characteristics of fully developed collaboration. (Montiel-Overall, 2005)

Shared thinking or joint participation in thinking together about how to solve a mutually agreed upon “problem” is what is meant by shared problem-solving. (Montiel-Overall, 2005)

The coming together to think about an issue and to plan together as co-planners and co-implementors is jointly carrying the plan to fruition. (Montiel-Overall, 2005)

Montiel-Overall, P. 2005. Toward a Theory of Collaboration for Teachers and Librarians. AASL (Feb.)

What does collaboration look like?

Attributes of collaboration are:






propensity to share (shared vision, shared thinking, shared problem solving, shared creation of integrated instruction)




The Process of Bridging the Gaps

Somewhere Middle School will be working in collaborative groups to determine gaps in the curriculum.

SMS will start by meeting as a Middle School to consider gaps. Collaborative meetings will be held in subject specific areas: Math, Science, Reading, and Social Studies.

After meeting as a Middle School, collaboration will continue with Elementary Schools and the High School in the district.

Where does bridging the gap begin?

“ For the most part, curriculum goals and objectives develop at any level cut across disciplines…. It is possible for grades and departments to develop curriculum goals and objectives that do not apply generally throughout the school.” (Oliva, 2009)

The Middle School Curriculum

“The core curriculum is in philosophy and intent the secondary school counterpart of the activity curriculum of the elementary school.” (Oliva, 2009)

  • Focus on “blending” core curriculum

Third grade Science SOL

3.5 The student will investigate and understand relationships among organisms in aquatic and terrestrial food chains. Key concepts include

a) producer, consumer, decomposer;

Biology SOL: Grade 10

BIO.9The student will investigate and understand dynamic equilibrium within populations, communities, and ecosystems. Key concepts include:

a) nutrient cycling with energy flow through ecosystems;

Let’s compare the standards

Third Grade Teacher

Concept learning

Vague standard

High School Teacher

Degree of detail for concept

Previous misconceptions

At your table, discuss a few problems that the elementary and high school teacher may have in teaching this standard…

Middle School Life Science SOL

  • LS.9 The student will investigate and understand interactions among

    populations in a biological community.

  • Key concepts include

  • the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers in food webs;

    See any similarities?

Think… Pair… Share…

1- Think about how this science teacher can bridge a fundamental concept.

2- In Pairs talk to your neighbor about how you might combat this problem.

3- Share

Collaboration 2.0

Web 2.0 are technological tools to aid individuals and groups communicate and collaborate more effectively.

Some of the web 2.0 technologies that we will be discussing and utilizing to aid in bridging the gaps in our curriculum are:



breeze connect groups

google groups

facebook community

Participate in our collaborative wiki site:

Tools to Aid in Collaboration

Tools to Aid in Collaboration

Participate in our collaborative blog:

Tools to Aid in Collaboration

Participate in our collaborative online meeting:

Participate in our collaborative google online interactions:

Tools to Aid in Collaboration

Participate in our collaborative facebook community:

Tools to Aid in Collaboration!/pages/Bridging-the-Gaps-in-Education/101114436598058?v=wall

Differentiating Lessons

1. Differentiating the content/topic

2. Differentiating the process/activities

3. Differentiating the product

4. Differentiating by manipulating the environment or through accommodating individual learning styles

Word Study

  • Used for phonics, vocabulary, and spelling instruction.

  • Provides a practical way to study words with students. Based on the research on invented and developmental spelling.

  • The framework of the text is keyed to the five stages of spelling.

  • Focuses on literacy development

Instruction for all students

  • Filled with examples every teacher can use to meet the diverse learning needs of students.

  • A resource for teachers that translates powerful and complex research and ideas into actual strategy and examples that are easily about to use.

  • Ensures that educators are more

    knowledgeable about best practices

    and are better equipped the address

    the needs of our students.

Differentiating Lessons

Ways to work intelligence into your lessons:








Body Movement

Enjoy saying, hearing, and seeing words. Like. telling stories. Motivated by books, records, dramas, opportunities for writing

Look at different kinds of dictionaries

Keep a journal

Read from books written by or for new readers

Use a tape recorder or tape stories and write them down

Trade tall tales, attend story-telling events

Explore and develop the love of words, i.e. meanings of words, origin of words and idioms, names


  • Read plays and poetry out loud

  • Write a story for a book or newsletter

  • Read together, i.e. choral reading

  • Read out loud to each other

  • Read a section, then explain what you’ve read

  • Read a piece with different emotional tones or viewpoints –one angry, one happy. Etc.

Remember things visually, including exact sizes and shapes. They like posters, charts, and graphics. They enjoy drawing.

Write a language experience story and illustrate it

Study and create maps, diagrams, and graphs

Color code words so each syllable is a different color

Take a survey. Put the information in a chart

Cut out words from a magazine and use them in a letter

Use the say-copy-look method of spelling

Use colorful newspapers like USA Today


  • Write a work on the chalkboard with a wet finger. Visualize the word as it disappears. See if you can spell it afterward.

  • Write words vertically

  • Use pictures to stimulate reading or writing

  • Visualize spelling words

  • Use crossword puzzles

Enjoy exploring how things are related. Like to understand how things work. Like mathematical concepts. Enjoys puzzles and manipulative games. Good at critical thinking.

Arrange cartoons and other pictures in a logical sequence

Sort, categorize and characterize word lists

Explore the origin of words

Play games that require critical thinking

Work with scrambled sentences

Make outlines of what you are going to write or of the material you’ve already read

Look at the advertisements critically. What are they using to get you to buy their product?


  • While reading a story, stop before you’ve finished and predict what will happen next

  • After finishing a story, mind map some of the main ideas and details

  • Write the directions for completing a simple job like starting a car or tying a shoe

  • Write a headline for a story you’ve just completed

  • Look for patterns in words. What’s the relationship?

Like to move, dance, wiggle, walk, and swim. Good at sports. Have good fine motor skills. Like to take things apart and put them back together again.

Go through your wallet and put out 3 things to talk about

Make pipe cleaner letters

Write on a mirror with lipstick or soap

Take a walk and read all the words you find during the walk

Body Movement

  • Use magnetic letters, letter blocks or letters on index cards to spell words

  • Take a walk while discussing a story or gathering ideas for a story

  • Change the place where you write and use different tools to write

Like the rhythm and sound of language. Like poems, songs and jingles. Enjoy humming or singing with music .

Use a familiar tune, song, or rap beat to teach spelling rules, or to remember words in a series for a test

Clap out or walk out the sounds of syllables

Read lyrics to music


  • Create a poem with an emphasis on certain sounds for pronunciation

  • Read together (choral reading) to work on fluency and intonation

Like to develop ideas and learn from other people. Like to talk. Have good social skills.

Take part in group discussions or discuss a topic one-to-one

Read a dialogue or play together


  • Do team learning/investigating projects

  • Set up interview questions, and interview your family. Write the results

Like to spend time alone. Take in information and process it and discuss it later. Like working on projects alone. Prefer to learn by trial and error. Need time to reflect.

Go on “guided imagery” tours

Set aside time to reflect on new ideas and information

Use brainstorming methods before reading

Listen to and read “how to” tapes and books


  • Encourage journal writing

  • Work on the computer

  • Practice breathing for relaxation

  • Read “inspirational” thought for the day books

Enjoy interacting with the outside world.

Spend time outside noticing patterns in nature

Take hikes and record significant features about what you find

Read books and articles about nature and the environment


  • Compare seeds, seedlings, and adult plants. Mix them up and ask your learners to match each seed to it corresponding seedling and adult.

Learning Pyramid



Reading 10%

Audio/Visual 20%

Demonstration 30%

Discussion Group 50%

Practice by doing 75%

Teach others 90%


Somewhere Middle School teachers have joined together with the elementary and high school teachers and improved differentiating lessons in the classrooms, as well as collaborating with instruction in the middle school. Practice with these techniques by the middle school teachers will continue until the gap of curricular goals with the high school has been met.

Group 4:

Dena Spickard, Anthony Wilson, Annie Baker, Domenic Saia, & Heather Lankford all completed different parts of this final presentation.

April 26, 2010

EDUC 615-02

Dr. McCracken

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