study group

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.

A Year of Action Research: An Adaptable Model

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Author: Lucinda Juarez

Summary: This advanced institute program overview from the Lake Michigan WP 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.

Working With New Teachers: Building Networks and Allies (NWP Radio)

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Guests: Kira J. Baker-Doyle

Summary: Are you building programming for new teachers? Listen to this podcast for a fascinating discussion about the role that social networks play in new teachers’ early professional path. The participants offer conceptual and practical thoughts about what happens when new teachers gain access to and strategically gather resources from various networks (face-to-face and online).

Using Study Groups to Build Community

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Summary: Those 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.”

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 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. Those developing and facilitating study groups will find these of great use.

National School Reform Faculty: Learning Communities Protocols and Activities

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Frame: 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.

Literacy Coaches Explore Their Work Through Vignettes

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Author: Carrie Usui

Summary: What is the work of a literacy coach? Twelve UCLA Writing Project teacher-consultants serving as literacy coaches in the LA Unified School District spent a weekend retreat exploring that question by writing vignettes as a way to illustrate what it is they do as coaches. Here they share some of what they do and how it makes a difference for students and teachers in the schools where they coach.

Empowering Teachers Through the Summer Institute

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Author: Beth Halbert

Summary: Is leading a program for the site a new endeavor for you? Are you wondering, “what in the world did I get myself into?” Then you should read this article about being thrust into a site leadership role, transitioning from summer institute participant to facilitator, just two weeks before the start of the institute. The author not only shares her personal experience, but also demonstrates how remaining true to the NWP principle of “teachers teaching teachers” is foundational to successful NWP work.

Site-Based Leadership Reforms the Writing Curriculum on the Other Side of the Tracks

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Author: Nancy Remington and Robert McGinty

Summary: Leaders from the Great Basin Writing Project in Nevada describe a long-term school partnership that gave teachers at Southside Elementary the opportunity to redesign curriculum and reshape the writing culture of their school. This inquiry-centered approach to professional development, designed and led by teachers-with support from the writing project site, could be a model for any school.

Practitioner Inquiry and the Practice of Teaching: Some Thoughts on Better

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Author: Susan Lytle

Summary: In this article, Lytle observes that teacher-researchers aim primarily to teach better, a theme she finds illuminated in Atul Gawande’s Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance, a physician-written book about the practice of medicine. She discusses why it makes a difference to ask those who work in a particular setting, whether medicine or education, to study and develop solutions to problems within that setting. Thought-provoking background reading on the importance of teacher inquiry, this resource may be useful for study groups or in workshops focused on beginning the inquiry process, and could serve as a valuable reading for anyone who must advocate for teachers to have a role in school reform.