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LEARNING FOR ALL. Using Professional Learning Communities to Improve Student Learning. DEMOGRAPHICS. LANGUAGE ARTS. MATH. ATTENDANCE/TARDIES. HIGH ACHIEVERS. Why Collaboration?. Read excerpt from Education for Everyone Discuss the following questions: Why do we collaborate?

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learning for all


Using Professional Learning Communities to Improve Student Learning

why collaboration
Why Collaboration?
  • Read excerpt from Education for Everyone
  • Discuss the following questions:
    • Why do we collaborate?
    • What questions are being asked by my team?
professional learning community plc defined
Professional Learning Community(PLC) Defined

Educators committed to working collaboratively in ongoing processes of collective inquiry and action research in order to achieve better results for students they serve.

PLC’s operate under the assumption that the key to improved learning for students in continuous job embedded learning for educators.

Dufour, Dufour, Eaker, Many, 2006

  • Can ALL students learn?
  • What keeps students from learning?
    • Take 5 minutes to discuss this.
culture check
Culture Check

What is the schools role in the learning process for students?

school mission
School Mission

The role of our school is to provide students with the opportunity to learn.

We fulfill our responsibilities when we provide students with clear lessons and opportunities to demonstrate their learning.

If students fail to take advantage of the opportunities they are provided, they must suffer the consequences of their decisions.

See Learning by Doing p. 19-31

possible mission
Possible Mission

The mission of our school is to take credit for all the kids that succeed, and assign blame for the students that don’t.

Our mission is to protect the comfort and individuality of the adults that work here.

See Learning by Doing p. 19-31

real mission
Real Mission

ENSURE high levels of learning for ALL students.

See Learning by Doing p. 19-31

guiding principle
Guiding Principle

The purpose of our school is to see to it that all students learn at high levels, and the future of our students depends upon our success in achieving that purpose.


Many educators say they believe that all student can learn – yet they want to keep their practices the same.

If we are not willing to change our practices, then PLC’s become yet another failed program. This is not intended to be a program – it is a process for job embedded professional development and change.




key is the response
Key is the Response

The key to improved student learning is being able to identify areas where we can improve and being willing to change to improve where identified.

reciprocal accountability
Reciprocal Accountability

Accountability must be a reciprocal process. For every expectation I have of you to perform, I have an equal responsibility to provide you with the capacity to meet that expectation.

Richard Elmore, 2006

reciprocal relationship
Reciprocal Relationship





Key Concept: Professional Learning Communities are a process for change. If change is not taking place, then the professional learning community is not functioning.


Composed of collaborative teams whose members work interdependently to achieve common goals linked to the purpose of learning for all.

focus of collaboration
Focus of Collaboration

Collaborative cultures, which by definition have close relationships, are indeed powerful, but unless they are focusing on the right things they may end up being powerfully wrong.

four focus questions for teams to address
Four Focus Questions for Teams to Address

What do we want students to learn?

How are we going to know if they learned it?

How do we respond if they do not learn it?

What do we do if they already know it?

big idea 1
Big Idea #1

Composed of collaborative teams whose members work interdependently to achieve common goals linked to the purpose of learning for all.

Focus on the learning not the teaching.

question 1
Question #1

What do we want

students to learn?

Learning By Doing – Chapter 3

reflective questions
Reflective Questions

Do you know each standard you want students to learn this year?

Do the students know which standards you want them to learn this year?

Do your students know which standard you are working on each day?

question 2 part 1
Question #2 - Part 1

How will we know if they have learned it?

Learning By Doing – Chapter 3

your testing experience
Your Testing Experience
  • Consider a negative experience you have had taking a test.
    • What did your teacher do that made the testing experience negative?
    • How did that experience affect your motivation to succeed in the class?
terry tate video
Terry Tate Video

Is this how we use assessment?

two possible reactions
Two Possible Reactions
  • Productive: Keep Trying
  • Unproductive: Stop Trying

Confidence: How Winning and Losing

Streaks Begin and End.

~Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Crown Business, 2004

winning streaks
Winning Streaks
  • Confidence
  • Optimism: An expectation of positive results.
  • Strong Desire to Succeed.
  • Self-Analysis in Failure.
  • High Levels of Effort
  • Risk Taking--Stretching
losing streaks
Losing Streaks
  • Pessimism: Expectation of a Negative Result.
  • A Sense of Futility, Hopelessness, Fatalism.
  • Waning Effort.
  • Self-Criticism in Failure.
  • Denial; Cover Up
  • Fear of Risk Taking--Defensiveness
winners losers
Winners & Losers
  • Consider a student you feel is on a losing cycle.
    • Why is that student a loser in the school system?
    • How do you think that student feels about his/her ability to succeed in school?
    • What could be done to help that student change from losing to winning?
mistaken belief 1
Mistaken Belief #1
  • High Stakes Tests are good for all students because they motivate learning.

Reality: only good for students who expect to succeed. For other students they are a source of embarrassment…

mistaken belief 2
Mistaken Belief #2
  • If I judge you to have failed, it will cause you to try harder.

Reality: Only true when students feel in control. Otherwise when students fail, they feel…

mistaken belief 3
Mistaken Belief #3
  • If a little intimidation doesn’t work, use a lot of intimidation.

Reality: when students are intimidated, it leads them to feel afraid of standing out…

mistaken belief 4
Mistaken Belief #4
  • To maximize learning, maximize anxiety.

Reality: Anxiety causes the brain to lock down which leads students to feel…

mistaken belief 5
Mistaken Belief #5
  • It is the adults who use assessment results to make the most important instructional decisions.

Reality: Students are the key users of assessment information.

student decisions
Student Decisions

How has your student used the information he/she has gathered from past assessments?

What conclusions has he/she drawn from his/her performance on those assessments?

two possible reactions1
Two Possible Reactions

Productive: Keep Trying

Unproductive: Stop Trying

mistaken belief 6
Mistaken Belief #6
  • Teachers & leaders don’t need to understand sound assessment practices—the testing people will take care of us…

Reality: All educators absolutely must understand sound assessment FOR learning practices!

mistaken belief 7
Mistaken Belief #7
  • Most important academic decisions are made once a year with placement.

Reality: Teacher decisions are made constantly.

question 2 part 2
Question #2 - Part 2

How will we know if they have learned it?

Even more… how will they know if they have learned it?

looking forward to assessment for student learning
Looking Forward to Assessment FOR Student Learning

Assessment of Learning


Assessment for Learning

guiding principles
Guiding Principles

Assess accurately

Manage and share results effectively

Elicit a positive emotional reaction to the assessment results from the learner

the essential question
The Essential Question

How can we use assessment to help our students believe they can learn so they’ll try?

The key is to use assessment to help the student believe that the target is within reach…

examples from lakeridge
Examples from Lakeridge
  • How can assessments promote further learning?
    • Syllabus
    • Mastery Quizzes (Formative Assessments)
    • Unit Test (Summative Assessments)
    • Student Self-Evaluations
summative assessment
Summative Assessment

Student can begin to see the positive in their assessment results through the use of Self-Evaluation.

student self reflection
Student Self-Reflection

We can teach our students how to analyze their own results from an assessment.

examples from orem elementary
Examples from Orem Elementary
  • What are the concepts that we will be assessing?
    • Grade Level Objectives
    • Classroom Objectives (Student Centered)
    • Norms & Agendas



a proper belief
A Proper Belief

Our job is to

help students

believe they

are capable


we must believe
We Must Believe…

We can make

success an

irresistible force

in their minds.

students must believe
Students Must Believe:

It’s OK not to be good at it when you’re just getting started

You may hit the target today or you may not…

If you don’t, it is crucial that you remain willing to return and try again tomorrow.


[Students] want the confidence that their investment of time, effort, and loyalty will lead to positive results…

Teaching is about

delivering that


~Adapted from Kanter


Physician’s Creed

Above all, do no harm.


Educator’s Creed

Above all, do nothing to diminish hope;

Promote winning streaks.

question 3
Question #3

What do we do if they do not learn it?

Learning By Doing – Chapter 4

assessments role part 1
Assessments Role - Part 1
  • Assessments have two roles in a PLC.
    • Identify the students that have not achieved mastery of each standard.
    • Inform teachers on their instruction of each standard.

Formative assessment will show the learning or non-learning of each student by standard.

intervention for student learning
Intervention for Student Learning

Teachers and schools have a responsibility to intervene for student learning, once it has been identified that a student is not learning.

This can take many different forms within the classroom and within the school system.

remediation vs intervention
Remediation vs. Intervention

Remediation is after the fact.

Intervention attempts to address the problem as you go.

assessment role part 2
Assessment Role – Part 2
  • Assessments have two roles in a PLC.
    • Identify the students that have not achieved mastery of each standard.
    • Inform teachers on their instruction of each standard.


big idea 2
Big Idea #2

We will not know if we are helping all student learn unless we focus on results and use evidence of student learning as part of a continuous improvement process.

guiding principle1
Guiding Principle

Create a results orientation by frequently gathering and using achievement data to inform and improve our practice, to establish goals, and direct team dialogue.

key is the response1
Key is the Response

The key to improved student learning is being able to identify areas where we can improve and being willing to changeto improve where identified.

drip syndrome
DRIP Syndrome

Lack of data is not the problem. Schools typically suffer from what Robert Waterman has called the DRIP syndrome: they are data rich but information poor.

Data alone will not inform a teacher’s professional practice and thus cannot become a catalyst for improvement unless those data are put in context to provide a basis for comparison.

keys to getting rid of the drip syndrome
Keys to Getting Rid of the DRIP Syndrome

Team developed assessments.

Agreed upon proficiency standard.

Receive frequent and timely feedback on the performance of his or her students.

Compare these results to other teachers using protocols.

pre algebra unit 1
Pre-Algebra – Unit 1

Obj. 1.1 – Coordinate Plane Graphing (3 Questions)

Obj. 1.2 – Introduction to Integers & Absolute Value (9 Questions)

Obj. 1.3 – Adding Integers (4 Questions)

Obj. 1.4 – Subtracting Integers (3 Questions)

Obj. 1.5 – Multiplying & Dividing Integers (6 Questions)

pre algebra unit 2
Pre-Algebra – Unit 2

Obj. 2.1 – Translating Expressions with Variables (5 Questions)

Obj. 2.2 – Order of Operations (5 Questions)

Obj. 2.3 – Evaluating Expressions (4 Questions)

Obj. 2.4 – Properties of Numbers (5 Questions)

Obj. 2.5 – Distributive Property (3 Questions)

Obj. 2.6 – Like Terms (3 Questions)

group analysis
Group Analysis
  • Highest Standard: 2.5 – Distributive Property
  • Lowest Standard: 2.3 – Evaluating Expressions
  • Immediate Plan:
    • Insert questions on Evaluating Expressions onto the Warm-ups daily and on the practice test for upcoming units
  • Plan for Next Year:
    • We think that the problem is coming from the use of Absolute Value in the evaluating expressions problems so we will spend more time and adjust the lesson plan for absolute value to better prepare the student for the evaluating expressions objective.
  • Smart Goal
      • Have 80% of our students proficient in Objective 2.3 by the end of the term.
big idea 3
Big Idea #3

We cannot help all students learn at high levels if we work in isolation. We must build a collaborative culture and engage in a collective effort to achieve our purpose.

collaboration time
Collaboration Time

What do you enjoy most about collaboration time.

What do you find least effective about collaboration time.

What do we currently spend time doing during collaboration time.

collaboration is
Collaboration IS…

Clarifying both purpose and goal at the start of the meeting

Using an agenda to stay focused on the meeting’s purpose

Attending to the task at hand and fully participating

Using processes to discuss topics, gather information, analyze and make decisions

Listening and learning to divers points of view

Tackling tough issues

Calling one another’s attention to Norm’s

Leaving knowing what is expected to prepare for the next meeting


collaboration is not
Collaboration is NOT…

Attending without bringing necessary items to the meeting

“Checking out” or focusing on unrelated tasks

Discussing the same issue or student over and over

Listening to one or two people doing most of the talking

Complaining about the administration or district mandates

Dismissing or demeaning others points of view

Taking care of management items

Leaving the meeting without closure and a plan.


These are the agreed upon ways we conduct business during collaboration time.


Keeps us focused on the task at hand.


Collaboration is messy. When people work in groups there will be disagreement, miscommunication, frustration… that is OK.

Keep the focus on our purpose.