My fellow librarian Jennifer Lund and I were delighted yesterday to have the opportunity to do an hour PD session on Harvey Daniels’ written conversation strategies with our NHS Faculty. Roughly 25 teachers, our principal, and one of our assistant principals attended the session; the mix of different departments, including Modern Languages, Science, Math, Language Arts, ESOL, Special Education, Social Studies, and Health and Physical Education, created a wonderful energy as all of our participants were truly engaged and enthusiastic! This session was just one of many tasty offerings on our “Connect and Engage” staff development menu jointly offered by the Media and Technology Team with our awesome colleagues Logan Malm and Hope Black (our building Local School Technology Coordinators (LSTCs).
We kicked off the session by doing an actual write around text on text activity around the current hot topic of Ebola. Our texts for annotating and discussing included:
- Print copies of news articles
- A PBS NewsHour video teachers could watch
- A curated Storify from the Cleveland Plain Dealer/Cleveland.com
After reviewing the protocols for the first part of the activity, our faculty dove right into quietly annotating the different “texts” and responding to their peers’ comments and questions.
After roughly 12 minutes of quiet writing, we then invited teachers select a table and to sit with at 2-3 other people. Teachers were invited to look over the content (the texts and the responses from their peers) at their table and to discuss what stood out to them. We then gave each group one of our Verb easels and asked them to summarize what they saw, thought, and wondered as well as questions they had about the content at their table.
We then invited each group to do a brief large group share out:
We took some time to answer questions about what we had just done from teachers, including some incredibly thoughtful questions about differentiating for different learner needs and ideas for scaffolding the activity. We then did a short presentation of about 20 minutes to outline best practices, tips and strategies, and profiles of how we had utilized this learning structure with two of our faculty.
We were thrilled to get immediate positive feedback yesterday and have already signed up one teacher to come to the library next week to try the strategy! Our day has been made today by several emails from participants sharing how much they enjoyed the session and how they are planning to implement the strategy in their classes soon. We all look forward to seeing what collaborative partnerships may grow from this session and thinking about new ways to support our teachers and students through this learning structure! We also want to extend a heartfelt thank you to our colleagues Hope and Logan as well as our administration for supporting us and for their encouragement.
Below are our slides for the entire session:
Hey Buffy, Just wanted to say that you are rocking written
conversations — Elaine and I are totally delighted and so love
your fresh variations. We want to come and study at your feet. Are
you going to be at NCTE in DC by any chance? Smokey
Wow, Smokey—-thank you so much! You have been an inspiration to me as a teacher and a librarian for many years. I would love to be at NCTE, but I don’t think it will be happening for me this year. What else is on your conference docket in the next few months? I would love to chat more in person and continue to learn from and with you as well as Elaine!