study group

The Professional Leadership Development Project: Building Writing Project and School-Site Teacher Leadership in Urban Schools

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Author: Zsa Boykin, Jennifer Scrivner, and Sarah Robbins

Summary: Motivated by a desire to have opportunities for professional development for their teaching colleagues similar to those they had experienced as participants in the Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project, teacher-consultants created a structure for building a school-based professional leadership development project. The authors of this NWP monograph describe a flexible model–grounded in participating teachers’ own collaborative inquiry into their work–for promoting teacher leadership within six urban schools. Teacher leaders interested in developing similar models of school-based learning communities will find inspiration in this resource along with a useful planning guide.
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Language, Identity, and Learning in Talking Appalachian (NWP Radio)

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Author: Amy Clark

Summary: This NWP Radio conversation with Amy Clark, co-editor of Talking Appalachian: Voice, Identity & Community, begins with a personal story of how transcribing an oral history interview with her great grandmother revealed the syntax and poetry in her speech. Subsequent segments include discussions of: 1) teachers’ and writers’ essays in Part II of the book that incorporate implications and ideas for instruction (4:38 -19:42); and 2) Amy’s teaching career trajectory that led to her bringing research about dialect to her writing project community; a discussion of contrastive analysis as a tool for helping students use their writing to understand reasons nonstandard grammar patterns exist so they can learn to make choices to switch between home/informal and school/formal languages; results and advice for researchers/study groups interested in this work (20:08 – 39:04).This resource could be useful in planning and/or leading professional development, study groups, or teacher inquiry focused on dialect and empowering student voice.
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Why We Are Sticking To Our Stories

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Author: Tina Deschenie

Summary: In recounting the power of the oral tradition of storytelling, Tina Deschenie describes the mesmerizing experience of listening to her father tell elaborated stories in the Diné language about Coyote as well as numerous other literacy practices grounded in “the power and beauty of oral tradition and face-to-face storytelling.” This piece could be used within professional development or study groups advocating for culturally relevant practices, bi-literacy, family and community traditions, and exploring innovative ways to bring native stories, that might range from capturing oral histories to digital animation, into classrooms.
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Book Review: English Learners, Academic Literacy, and Thinking: Learning in the Challenge Zone

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Author: Debra Schneider

Summary: How can we best support English learners in classrooms where rigorous curricula focus on intellectual practices across content areas? How can we engage in practices that enable students to construct rather than reproduce knowledge, develop deep understanding of disciplinary knowledge and forge connections between school and the outside world? In this review of Pauline Gibbons’s book, Debra Schneider shares insights and successful strategies emerging from her own”high-challenge, high-support classroom” practice and the work of her study group related to their reading of the chapter on Academic Literacy [see PDF].  An excellent resource for individual classroom teachers, study groups, inquiry groups, or those leading professional development.
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New Teacher Initiative Annotated Bibliography

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Summary: The National Writing Project’s New-Teacher Initiative supported local writing project sites in expanding their work with early career teachers, placing a particular emphasis on the teaching and learning of writing in high-needs schools. A useful resource for leaders of professional development experiences for early career teachers, this annotated bibliography is a partial listing of the readings that have been most significant in the work of the New-Teacher Initiative. They address four areas: 1) the teaching of writing, 2) understanding culture and its implications for teaching and learning, 3) strengthening inquiry as a mode of learning, and 4) rethinking professional development for new teachers through participation in a professional community.
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A Year of Action Research: An Adaptable Model

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Summary: This advanced institute program overview from the Lake Michigan Writing Project could be a valuable resource for any sites looking to add an action research/teacher research component to their programming. The overview outlines program goals, objectives, key components, and expectations for participants, as well as a detailed and helpful breakdown of the focus for each of the academic year meetings. This short overview is an example of how to concisely convey the scope and desired outcomes of a program.
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Working With New Teachers: Building Networks and Allies (NWP Radio)

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Guests: Kira J. Baker-Doyle

Summary:  Are you interested in developing programming for new teachers? If so, listen to this interview with Kira J. Baker-Doyle about her book The Networked Teacher to learn about the research and theory behind social networks, both face-to-face and online. Listeners will hear practical advice about how new teachers can join and create networks of peers and mentors and access resources for support in the early years of their professional careers. CONTINUE READING

School-Based Study Groups Build Community

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Summary: Teacher leaders involved in planning and/or facilitating teacher study groups will find a useful resource in this brief article describing how the NWP in Vermont developed and launched a long-term school-based teacher study group with several districts. The leaders of the program found the “open-endedness of the study group replicates the principles that make a summer institute succeed…teachers are intellectually and emotionally nurtured, rejuvenated, and empowered. They assume a measure of authority over their own learning.”
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Teacher Study Group Movement: From Pilot to Districtwide Study Groups in Four Years

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Authors:Mary Weaver, Mary Calliari, Janet Rentsch

Summary: This NWP monograph from leaders of the Saginaw Bay WP (Michigan) takes a deep dive into a districtwide approach to teacher-led study groups that resulted in significant changes in teacher practice and student learning as well as leadership development among teacher facilitators. The appendices include study group schedules, facilitation guides, evaluation tools, etc. Teacher leaders developing and facilitating school-based study groups will find that this offers a wealth of useful resources.
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National School Reform Faculty: Learning Communities Protocols and Activities

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Summary: This extensive collection of protocols and strategies from the National School Reform Faculty is an essential resource for those facilitating professional development. There are protocols on everything from looking at student work to professional dialogue on problematic classroom scenarios to discussing shared readings.
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