On November 14, 2015 I had the opportunity to attend Ed Camp held at Seattle Pacific University (#EdCampPSWA). As featured in the photo, there were 18 breakout session options throughout the day, all created and led by the attendees. Upon arrival, we wrote ideas up on the board of topics we might want to discuss. I added “Student Collaboration,” “Giving Students Choice in Learning,” and “Differentiating in Literacy.” All three of these topics were chosen to be breakout sessions. I was able to attend Differentiating in Literacy and Student Collaboration. Though I hadn’t planned on leading a session today, I found that it was a valuable, empowering experience. I began each session by admitting that I had been the one to write the topic on the board and offering to facilitate, but announced that I had written them mostly to get ideas from other people.
I was pleased to find that the structure of the day was informal. I felt comfortable opening the discussions, adding my input, and getting the chance to hear from teachers from different backgrounds. Here were some of my takeaways and resources to look into from each session:
Differentiating in Literacy
- Text complexity not only deals with the level of the text but the task I am asking students to do in response to the text. I can differentiate the types of tasks I am assigning students to meet their needs.
- Text Dependent Questions by Fisher and Frey Text Dependent Questions article
- Give students ample opportunities to engage with nonfiction text that is high interest.
- Build background knowledge on content in reading material through read alouds. Align read aloud with topic discussed in textbooks to set up students for success.
- Great resource with lesson plans and ideas to promote collaboration in the classroom: Comprehension, Collaboration, and Inquiry by Stephanie Harvey
- Gradually release responsibility when it comes to teaching collaboration skills: start with defined and assigned roles, move eventually to more student choice.
- Challenge Based Projects: Students choose a problem in their school/community, research the possible causes and solutions of the problem, present education on how to solve the problem to a live audience.
- Collaborating using Tech tools: GoogleDrive, Office 365, Padlet (Please comment on this post to add more!)
- Promote discussion with conversation starter cards for primary students or quieter students. Allow for anonymous contributions.
When professionals get together, there is a wealth of ideas. This experience was a positive and I plan to implement some of the ideas I listed above in my teaching.