Writing my way through the school year!

Archive for the ‘Professional Learning Communities (PLC)’ Category

When is a PLC, not a PLC?

As I have mentioned many times before, I went to the PLCSummit 2011 in Arizona, and became enlightened about what a PLC school really “looked” like. My former principal allowed us to come back and share what we learned with our teams and the staff. As we continued through the year, I felt really good about what we are doing, and how we were doing it.

However, with our new administrator,  I question the validity of our PLC, it seems we have taken a step backwards.  We have been assured that if we have concerns, we should let them be known, but I wanted to check with my PLC PLN, before I made that move, to see if my concerns had any validity. Below is a list of changes to our PLC that have me concerned. I know every principal is different, so maybe her format is different, yet still adheres to the basic tents of PLC. Help a teacher out, and let me know what you think!

  1. We have not met as a team to plan during one of our PLC meetings so far. Our PLC meetings have been used as “workshops” for various school issues.(i.e. DPAS training)
  2. At our last PLC meeting, she attended with a list of “Reflection” questions. (School started Aug.29)When asked what our needs were, we responded “time to plan.”
  3. A calendar for the school year, that tells us what subject we can talk about, and at what meetings we can talk about them.
  4. We were told what our SMART goals were (Do other schools use this?), Reading and Math, and as I stated above, at which meetings these topics will be addressed.
  5. Every PLC meeting will have a Reading coach, Math coach, or principal present for “support.”
  6. As we meet, what we say is written on an Ipad. (If my former principal attended, he took notes on ideas he felt he could share with the staff)

I watched the PLC videos, and it was run by the teachers, and they were doing an excellent job! I felt that we were moving towards that last year, and now I feel stifled. I would love some feedback and/or from teachers who are in PLC schools, just to see if my concerns are really something I should worry about. Thanks!

My PLN Is My Education BFF!

My PLN (Professional Learning Network) is my Education BFF (Best Friend Forever)! That’s how I feel about my PLN!  It is not easy to teach in isolation, but I did,  for many years.  No more! I have surrounded myself with educators from all over the world and I, and my students,  have profited educationally, from my actions.

I have learned more in the last year since I discovered, and joined a number of  Professional Learning Networks and/or Communities,  then I have in my 27 years of teaching. No exaggeration!!

What should a PLN provide?  Here are what, I believe, are   important aspects of a good PLN:

  1. Your opinion matters!  Sometimes people get caught up in listening to ‘experts” and we forget that we are all experts in this field. We all have something to add.
  2. You get feedback, whether you ask a question, state an opinion, or provide information. (Not all the time, but at some point)
  3. Collaborate with people who share a common interest.
  4. It provides a forum for active, current, relevant,  discussions. (My favorite part)
  5. They are willing to share. (Otherwise, what’s the point of being in a PLN?)
  6. You gain relevant information that is useful.

I am a part of many, many,  PLNs, but I have my favorites!

Edmodo communities – You have to join Edmodo in order to join the communities. A plethora of information in every subject! Just a bunch of teachers, online, talking and sharing information. Have a question?  It will be answered.  It is very rare that I see a question or comment posted where a teacher does not get at least one response.  You can share links, blogs, files, projects, etc…, and then place them in your Edmdodo library so that you don’t lose it.

Linkedin– It’s not just for networking, even though that’s a great aspect of it. I am a part of a number of groups on Linkedin. Edubloggers, Elementary School Teachers of America, Teacher’s Lounge, and last, but not least, Technology Integration in Education. Not only do we share information, but the discussions generated in these groups are lively and informative! This is another PLN where if you need  advice, guidance, or  ideas,  plenty of teachers will jump in to help!

what a great teaching idea!  This group is pretty new and it is on FB. They are now at 1,000 members in a few weeks! The name says it all, teachers who have great teaching ideas that they are willing to share. It’s on FB, so you can add links, posts, videos,etc…, which makes it very easy to share those great teaching ideas!

And of course, Twitter, where I have made many, many, connections. I use Twitter more as a “get information” and “meet other teachers”  source.  I know there are teachers  who participate in “edchats”, which provides a venue on any and all topics in education. And just like the other PLNs, it is a huge source of information, ideas, and discussion.

I also subscribe to Education sites, like Education Week, so that I can stay current with what’s going on in our field.

And let’s not forget your school and district PLN/PLC!

You don’t need all the PLNs I mentioned above, especially if you are new to teaching, but just like a best friend, it’s nice to have at least  one to turn to when you need help!

LiveBinder Contest! My “Cybraryman” LiveBinder Was Nominated! YES!

Yes, I am begging for votes. 

 However, I have to say that I believe my Cybraryman Livebinder is a worthy resource, so you won’t be selling yourself cheap if you vote for it. 🙂 My Livebinder is listed as:  lmims “Cybraryman”

Thanks, and there are some really good Livebinders on this list, so I am surrounded by excellent company.:)

VOTE HERE!

This PLC Thing…

I have to say, this PLC thing  (Professional Learning Community)has really been working.  I went to Arizona in February to a PLC Summit, thought it was just a free trip to Phoenix. But it wasn’t, it was so much more. Very productive seminars, and I learned so much! 

 Fast forward to May, and I have to admit, I enjoy using what I’ve learned from  it. Now, as a school, we’re not quite there yet, but we are a lot farther than where we were when we started.  More people have ” got on the bus”, and it has really helped our students improve. Personally, I love what it has done for my team, we are collaborating and making decisions that are good for our kids.

 For example, we looked at our student scores on a common  math assessment, and decided to have Math workshops that focused on the skills they were weak in.  Each teacher chose the focus skill he or she was strong in, and taught based on the level of the group we saw. Can you say “differentiated instruction”?  Of course, I was the “tech” component of our workshop. 🙂  We each created an “Exit ticket”  that the students completed at the end of class, and we reviewed the results of the ticket at our next PLC meeting. 

The students LOVED it! They traveled with their friends outside their class, they got away from us for about an hour, they spent time with another teacher, and the skills were either reinforced, or enriched.  The results were amazing, and the students learned a lot, which was our objective.

When the new school year begins, our district is having all the participants in the summit meet once a month to share ideas. We already had one meeting last month, and one of  the teachers shared things that were so simple,  yet so helpful. I now get a chance to take that back, and share it with my colleagues.  I am part of a number of communities, Twitter, Edmodo, Technology Integration in Education, and so many more,  so I understand the importance of collaboration.

You don’t hear too much grumbling about “PLC” anymore, it’s just something that we do now, and I’m loving it! Please Let’s Collaborate!

“How to Create a Professional Learning Community”

What is a PLC? (Professional Learning Communities)

I knew this time would come. It’s presentation time, the punishment for attending the 2011 PLC Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. 🙂 Well, it was worth it. I have continued to use what I have learned and it’s paying off. Step by step, little by little.  Sooooo, this week we have to do an overview of what PLC is. We took a lot of our information from Solution Tree’s HUGE book they gave us at the summit. We COLLABORATED and came up with this Powerpoint. I also created an animated video using GoAnimate using  ideas we got from Dr.Anthony Muhammad. Check it out! And if you like, let me know what you think!

What is a PLC? – told in Powerpoint

(Check out the characters listed in Dr.Muhammad’s “The Quandary” in my animated video, “The PLC Bus”   http://goanimate4schools.com//api/animation/player
Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate4Schools. It’s free and fun!

ANOTHER PLC DAY!

The word that comes to mind, after today’s conference  is “rethink.”  I have used that word so many times between today and yesterday, it’s unbelievable. But trust me when I say I am not using the word in vain!  It is the only way I can describe what PLC is making me do.  It is making me RETHINK the way I have been teaching.  Now mind you, I consider myself a pretty good teacher, not perfect, but good.  I keep my students engaged, I maintain discipline,  I teach using a variety of methods, and hey, we’ve even begun incorporating PLC in my school .  However, this  PLC summit  has brought me to the realization that I have not done the best that I can for my students!

 I know, you’re thinking, isn’t this the same person who was trashing professional development about two posts ago? Yes, that was me. 🙂  But this summit, this is what I want! I don’t know how many people were in that room, but each presenter, and I mean, each presenter, had us engaged practically every minute.  If teachers were talking , they were talking about PLC, not about where to go for lunch.  We met so many teachers from so many places, and we learned, not only from the presenters, wait for it, but from EACH OTHER! Wow!

 I have to share what I learned, so over the next couple of posts, I am going to share some key concepts that were presented.  Hopefully, this will twinge your curiosity and you will  find out what PLC is, and what it can do for your school.  Tonight, I am going to the top of the Hyatt and eat at the revolving restaurant. I’ll be ok, my head is still spinning from all I’ve learned in the last two days. 🙂

PLC- “Please,Let’s Collaborate!”

That’s not what it means, it means Professional Learning Community, but it’s  the essence of this concept.  Teachers collaborating, working as a team for the better of our students.  I am in Phoenix, Arizona, attending the Solution Tree PLC Summit 2011, and boy has it changed the way I think. I honestly thought we were implementing PLC in our school, but, we aren’t there just yet. It was good to see that we are on our way though.  The biggest obstacle is CHANGE!  A lot of teachers resist it, and it makes it difficult to get them to see it for the good that  it can do.  However, my  colleagues and I  are going to try our best to persuade them to see the  benefits for our students.In future posts,  I will  share the concepts I learned from this workshop. For now, I’m hungry, and I’m going to go out and enjoy Phoenix! 🙂

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