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May Inquiry Review

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Karen Symonds

on 2 June 2013

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Transcript of May Inquiry Review

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli May Staff Meeting Inquiry Update Assess Learning Inquiry ... Engage in New Teaching and Learning Enhance Teacher Learning Pose a Question After discussing what each department valued departments created and/or edited a question to investigate in classrooms related to student learning, student engagement or student well-being. This did not have to represent a major change in practice but may have been a minor tweak or change that would positively impact students. Identify a Learning Need Although we are focussing on Literacy Skills and Assessment for Learning, which one of these is more important, and which one addresses some of the key challenges faced in our classrooms depends to a certain extent on our departments and the needs of the students in our classrooms. Look for Patterns Develop a Criteria for Success Over the past 2 years, we have been looking at literacy skills as an area where our students are weak. There is evidence for this in exam scores, as well as in our daily observations of our students. As well, we have been looking at Assessment for Learning as an exemplary teaching practice and a way to improve student engagement, student learning and student well-being. Curiosity is key! "It is irresponsible for a school to mobilize, initiate, and act without any conscious way of determining whether such expenditure of time and energy is having a desirable effect."
- Carl Glickman This is not easy. Today you will experience doubt, vulnerability and confusion. This is how students feel when doing or learning something new. You should also experience a sense of shared certainty and competency as well. Approach the task and each other with a sense of tentative curiosity, be willing to listen, and be willing to share. The Purpose Today?
To reflect on where we have been and where we are going ... with a few helpful(?) hints along the way! If we are expecting our students to strive for improvement, we should be striving for improvement as well! A couple of reminders before we begin though ...
We are talking about teacher inquiry (rather than inquiry as a classroom strategy)
We are also talking about COLLABORATIVE teacher inquiry
There are numerous models describing the teacher inquiry process ... envision this process in whichever way works for you (and your department! Inquiry ... What are the patterns of strengths and weaknesses we see in our students?
How do we know?
Which of these are important for us to address?
What are our priorities in terms of student learning?
Will focussing on these things help student learning?
What are the most effective and exemplary teaching practices? Action ... after a few mis-steps! In individual departments we found common ground about
what we believe about teaching and learning
what we value about our subject areas
where we see specific needs around developing Literacy Skills or applying AFL strategies for the benefit of our students
how we know what the needs are (evidence ... what we see and hear) Why?
What we have observed
What we know from exam results
What we know from educational studies regarding learner success and effective teaching strategies Places to get stuck ... In all of the phases of inquiry, moving too quickly or getting bogged down and moving to slowly can create problems
Inability to find common ground
Sticking to the superficial
Differences in knowledge and experience in teaching and teaching practices
People in multiple departments
Feeling the need to totally agree on all points, rather than finding one or two key ideas everyone can agree on
Can easily become a venue to vent about students' weaknesses/problems that our students have rather than what we can do about them! How your COI can help ... Although these are departmental discussions and outside input is not necessarily helpful, your COI can help facilitate discussion and help pull out common values and themes. Inquiry ... In light of each department's shared values and beliefs, and the needs of the students as evident through observations and quantative data, the focus for departmental inquiry was narrowed down. Action ... Each department developed a question or statement ... a what if!
This can be stated as a (Wellman)
Problem Statement ... e.g. "The problem is that students do not apply effective reading strategies when trying to understand informational text.
Hypothesis ... e.g. "If students are taught the literacy strategy X then students will be more successful comprehending informational text."
Question ..."What are the differences between students who are skillful readers of informational text and those who are not?" Places to get stuck ... Lots!
Lack of buy in (for a variety of reasons)
Selecting a question that does not tie together the values/beliefs of teachers, good teaching practice AND student learning
Developing a question or focus that is not supported by evidence
Lack of common understanding of terms (eg. if you use the word engagement, does everyone know what that is and what that looks like? Or is everyone operating off of a different understanding?)
Question is too broad and lacks focus
Question is not meaningful
Too much time is spent talking about the issues without moving towards a decision
Linking unrelated ideas together in a question ... causation may be incorrect
Being too concerned about the wording of the question How your COI can help ... Listening to group discussion and summarizing what is being said ... clarifying what I hear
Facilitating discussion
Helping provide focus to question and alternate wording
Filling out a grant application Inquiry ... Looking back and thinking about the values and beliefs that led to each department's question, coupled with the observations and evidence that led each department to develop the question they did, what would success look like?
For example, if students performed poorly on summative assessments in Subject X that are heavy on vocabulary, what level of improvement would be satisfactory?
Or ...
If students in Subject Y are overheard wondering why they received the mark they did on a certain assignment, what would would be a preferable result? What would you like to hear them say?

How will we know if these results are achieved? Action ... Develop 2 or 3 SMART goals indicating what success would look like
Find/develop assessment tools that would help you determine if the hoped for change occurred. Again, look back to why you selected the inquiry question to begin with ... this should help!
Sources of data may be exam results, assignment results (performance standards? common rubrics?), rating scales completed by students, a case study of one or two students, your observations of students working in your class, surveys, videos, checklists, student self-assessments, tracking achievement of one student on one type of task, etc. Data does not have to be numbers and it does not need to be onerous to collect. It should be directly related to the change you hope to see! Good questions founded in what students are saying and doing already and good SMART goals should elicit good data. Places to get stuck ... Fuzzy goals
SMART goals can be hard to decide on and commit too
What constitutes data/evidence?
This seems to be where enthusiasm plateaus and people want to change questions/go their own way, etc. How your COI can help ... Help develop SMART goals
Help decide on what constitutes data and what makes sense considering the goals
Help find assessment/data collection tools that already exist
Help co-create new ones Inquiry ... What do we as teachers need to know and learn to address the identified learning need?
How will we learn it?
How and when will we implement this new learning in our classrooms? Action ... Engaging in new learning
Sharing new learning
Creating an action plan or inquiry map outlining the 5 Ws and the How of the inquiry implementation in the classrooms Places to get stuck ... This phase requires more time and more action ... commitment can be tested
Uncertainty about what learning needs to take place and how to access it
Lack of a firm outline of an action or implementation plan
Sometimes it is difficult for teachers to say "I don't know" How your COI can help ... Research ... finding resources, workshops, etc. to help with professional learning. I will do the leg-work. This includes accessing the knowledge and skills already within each department and the school.
Grant applications
Co-planning My hopes for the future ... Inquiry ... How do I implement my new learning in a way that changes the learning experiences in my classroom?
Is this having the desired effect?
Are we on the right track, or do we need to reassess?
Do we need to re-focus?
Do I need to learn even more?
When and how should I assess if this is having the desired impact on my students (formative)? Action ... Teachers are teaching
Students are learning
Teachers are collecting formative data/evidence to see if desired changes are occurring
Teachers are collaborating regarding the impact of the new learning/change in practice and adapting the focus/engaging in new learning as necessary Places to get stuck ... Time/willingness/trust to collaborate
Implementation without reflection on whether it is having the desired effect
Unwillingness to 'go back to the drawing board'
Inconsistent implementation How your COI can help ... Helping develop lessons/assessment plans
Co-teaching and observing of lessons
Continuing to find resources to help teacher learning and in turn student learning
Assist in the collection of formative data/feedback
Facilitating collaboration ... moving discussions to decisions How do we know what has been done is making a positive difference?
How will this be demonstrated by students? (This should have been planned for earlier!)
What different ways might students communicate their learning?
How do we share and celebrate this information?
What are the implications for our practice?
WHERE ARE WE GOING TO GO NEXT WITH OUR LEARNING? Action ... Collecting, analyzing and synthesizing data/evidence
Sharing findings within departments and across the school
Reviewing and reflecting the process for both teachers and students
Developing new questions that emerge from the data and evidence to feed into the next inquiry cycle (as it really is a spiral rather than a cycle) ... re-defining and refining focus Places to get stuck ... Again, what is the best data/evidence to collect?
What to do with the evidence once it is gathered
Thinking about where to go next when you have just 'finished'
End of year/end of semester ... new kids and new department members ... is continuity possible?
How do we celebrate and share? How your COI can help ... A new and impartial set of eyes looking at evidence
Teasing out new areas of interest and questions from the evidence and discussions
Connecting departments with others who would be interested in findings and benefit from them too Departments will continue their inquiry, no matter where they are in the cycle, next year
Departments choose to refine and re-position inquiry based on what they started this year
Individuals and departments value the inquiry process as an effective way to improve student and teacher learning
Inquiry spreads beyond departments to groups looking to improve student learning, well-being and engagement throughout the school
Inquiry across schools? For example, elementary feeder school and secondary school partnerships? Celebration of Inquiry Through the District Tuesday, June 11th
3:30 - 5:30 @ DMEC
All Elementary and Secondary Schools will be sharing the story of inquiry in their schools this year. At the next Department Head meeting I will be giving out a form to Department Heads to summarize Collaborative Inquiry as practiced and experienced by your department this year. There are no right or wrong answers ... and I am aware that everyone is at a different spot!
Your feedback will become the basis for my sharing at the Inquiry Celebration. Our Wordle created out of the November 23rd Professional Development Day focussing on literacy and inquiry. This is where teacher learning and student learning are connected ... it can be perceived as a kind of double-helix, where teacher growth is one side of the spiral, and learner growth is the 'parallel' side. Credits and Kudos ... This prezi relied heavily on the works and ideas of Judy Halbert, Linda Kaser, Laura Lipton, Bruce Wellman, the Network of Inquiry and Innovation, Nancy Gordon, Neil Stephenson, the staff at ND, and the COIs throughout the Delta School District.
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