Practice Makes Perfect

 

What are the Top 5 reasons why LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct is the best way to receive professional development for your students’ success? Last week we shared Reason #5.

This week we are sharing Reason #4… 

Reason #4: Practice Makes Perfect

What is one thing that traditional professional development lacks?
It is hard to think of just one isn’t i
t?

Certainly one thing is the ability to practice your new knowledge or skills as you learn. Learn everything you can in six hours and then figure out how to practice and implement it on your own. 

That works sometimes, but is that the best way?

With LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct you have the opportunity to learn content AND practice at the same time. Only through
 
LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct can you
learn how to plan Activating Strategies that connect to your lesson’s Learning Goals, and then stop and actually plan them for your next lesson.

Have you ever said to yourself, I wish I had brought my ______ to today’s training?

 

With LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct you have the ability to learn and plan with all of your resources readily available – in fact, we encourage it.  The opportunity to plan as you learn ensures that your professional development will increase your effectiveness.

Reason #3: Have a guess about Reason #3? We will tell you next week!
Here is a hint – No Shoes.

In case you missed it, Reason #5 is here.

 

3 Characteristics of an Effective (Master) Teacher

 
3 Characteristics of an Effective (Master) Teacher

Teaching is a complex endeavor that involves planning and organizing for instruction, implementing instruction effectively, constantly monitoring and supporting student progress toward the learning goals, and making adjustments as needed.

1. Plan and Organize for Instruction

Even though state and national standards determine what students should learn, effective teachers are able to translate those standards into a plan for how students learn it.
The Learning-Focused Teachers Academy
provides the framework for planning the most effective lessons as well as the support and resources teachers need to stay organized and prepared in order to provide the best instruction possible.

2. Implement Instruction Effectively

Effective teachers use proven, evidence-based strategies to engage all students and challenge them to think at high levels. They purposefully plan assignments that are both rigorous and engaging.

In the Learning-Focused Teachers Academy, teachers develop and practice their skills using techniques that involve all students as active participants in their learning.

 

3. Monitor and Support Student Progress

Effective teachers are proactive by anticipating when individual students will need additional support or additional challenge in their lessons. The Learning-Focused Teachers Academy provides a framework that encourages teachers to plan highly effective lessons that are supportive of all students and yet manageable for teachers with classrooms of diverse learners with a variety of learning needs.

Did you miss the last part of this series?
Click here to view it now.

Download a brochure on developing a culture of
mastery in your school.
Find out how you can start cultivating master teachers
in your school today!

Top 5 Reasons that Online Professional Development is Better for Increased Teacher Effectiveness


Research has shown that effective teaching is one of the most important factors for high student achievement. In addition, the most effective teachers continually learn new knowledge and skills to implement in their lessons and instruction.

Effective teachers  are needed in order for all students to be successful.

What do you think about when you hear the words professional development? The majority of time this has meant that a group of educators meet in a room, learn all they can, and then apply it to their classroom or school. Recently, professional development has changed. With the increase in professional development opportunities through webinars, social media, and online courses, educators now have more choices of how to continue their education. 

For example,  LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct is a powerful online learning platform that will increase teaching effectiveness while providing additional benefits not available through traditional professional development. 

So what? you ask, is it just one more way to receive training online? 

Join us as we share the Top 5 reasons why LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct is the best way to receive professional development for your students’ success. 

Reason #5:  Purchasing Freedom

Think about the best hamburger in town. It is probably around ten bucks isn’t it?
Well, for that same price you can participate in a 
LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct online course!

All LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct courses are only $10.

Unlike most online courses, LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct gives you the freedom to learn and gain knowledge and skills through an exemplary course and still have room in the budget.  Whether you are an administrator who is providing professional development to your entire staff, or a teacher taking a course on your own for knowledge and 
re-certification hours, 
LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct lets you use your money for more.

Group pricing and site licenses can drop courses to as little as $5 per course. Just think, for the cost of a sandwich you can get professional development that will increase teacher effectiveness and make a real impact on your students.

Reason #4: Have a guess about Reason #4? We will tell you next week! Here is a hint – think math homework.

Download a LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct Brochure 
or go to LearningFocused.com for more information about the most effective professional development possible.

Maybe you have already taken a LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct Course?
Tell us about your experience on Twitter @learningfocused #worryfreepd
to get a free Strategy Specific Course!

Stay Connected with LEARNING-FOCUSED

http://www.learningfocused.com/index.php/about/newsletter

Got Effective Teachers?

Got Effective Teachers?

Ask any parent what has made the biggest difference in a child’s education, and you will not hear about textbooks, programs or even school board policies. Inevitably you will hear stories about effective teachers who unleashed a child’s potential as a learner and leader.

Impact of an Effective Teacher

http://youtu.be/r4pA8JrcK7c

In an era of tight budgets, it is crucial that educational leaders put their dollars where they will get the greatest return on the investment, and nothing has a greater impact than effective teaching.  For over 25 years, LEARNING-FOCUSED has been at the leading edge of the most important initiative a school or district can implement – ensuring solid curriculum and effective instruction in every classroom. Empower your teachers with the innovative courses, dynamic training, and transformative coaching of the  Learning-Focused Teachers Academy.

Look for more information about the characteristics of an

Effective Teacher in our upcoming email series.

Can’t wait to learn more? Download our brochure now,

take a look at our previous email series here,

or contact us to start cultivating master teachers in your school

Stay Connected with Learning-Focused

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Part 4: Shifting from the Typical to the Exemplary

Hopeful School’s shift to Exemplary

Instead of simply telling her teachers show up at a mandated training, the principal took steps prior to the training to prepare her teachers for making the most of the training in order to meet their school goals. She reviewed the workshop’s learning goals and agenda, discussing how this training will give them the strategies they need to achieve their goals. Next, she set the expectations with her staff based on what they were going to learn.

Then, the principal attended the workshop with her teachers. During the workshop, she actively participated in the activities to ensure that she has the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct walkthroughs and monitor each teacher’s implementation effectively. This also allowed the principal to answer any implementation questions such as, “Are we really supposed to do that?”, “How are we supposed to do that?” and “When are we supposed to do that?” during the workshop.

Immediately following their training on Acceleration, the principal of Hopeful School established collaborative planning times, reminded teachers of the instructional focus goals, set timeline dates that correspond with the growth benchmarks for implementation expectations, and developed Look Fors and Ask Abouts with teacher input. Several teachers were not in attendance during the training, so the principal also utilized correpsonding online courses to ensure that the few teachers that missed the workshop received the same information and training. 

During the first 6-8 weeks of implementation, the principal and leadership team conducted walkthroughs and 5x5s as a means of providing support to teachers and determining areas of need for continued professional learning. This high level of initial support helped them move their implementation from basic knowledge to the highest quality strategic use. Additionally, every time the principal met with a teacher or team (passing in the halls, in her office, etc), she would ask them for specific details about how they used Acceleration in their last lesson or specifically how they were going to use it in their next lesson, ensuring teachers that the instructional goals are a primary school-wide focus. 

During collaborative planning times, classroom teachers and Acceleration support teachers met in grade level teams to plan for the next 2-4 weeks of lessons. Classroom teachers used Acceleration strategies with all of their students, with remediation strategies distributed throughout their lessons as needed for some students. Acceleration support teachers used Acceleration strategies 1-3 days in advance of classroom lessons with students the classroom teachers identified as struggling or may struggle with the concepts and content of upcoming lessons. They didn’t pre-teach (which would be boring and unsuccessful), and instead they used specific Acceleration strategies.

In addition, faculty meetings, when held, were changed from business meetings to meetings that focused on quality of implementation and strategies for supporting each other and their students. Teachers shared their experiences and strategies in order to help all get better.

The principal disregarded data and reviewed student subgroup information with instructional teams. Grade level administrators facilitated planning days to provide teacher support, resources for teacher success, and to gauge teacher capacity to move to the next steps of implementation. Teacher leaders also participated in walkthroughs.

This collaborative planning and implementation support from the principal continued for the first 6-8 weeks of implementation. At the end of the 6-8 weeks, reflection meetings were held to change the instruction focus goals from Guided Practice to Expected Practice. The expectation was set that the teachers will be Monitored for Quality, instead of simply attempting the strategies they learned.

During the next 3-4 weeks of implementation, the principal and leadership team continued to conduct walkthroughs and 5×5’s, but they started using implementation rubrics to ensure that teachers were implementing the Acceleration strategies with quality. Additional support through e-learning, coaches, and plc meetings was provided to teachers as needed. I

At the end of this implementation period, the principal and teacher leaders, based on the implementation plan created immediately after the workshop, changed the monitoring from Increasing Quality to Implementing with Quality Consistently. At this point forward, teachers would be held fully accountable for consistent, pervasive, and quality use of the strategies they learned in the training. Monitoring of the instructional focus goals was now a part of the evaluation process.

In exemplary schools, continuous improvement of implementation of an initiative is ongoing, and by following an exemplary implementation framework, Hopeful School has been continuously improving, even after reaching their goals. As soon as test data was available, teacher and administrative teams reviewed the data, discussed what worked and what didn’t work, and reviewed/revised the implementation plan. Lesson plans were often revisited for alignment with areas of need identified in test data as well as the grade level expectations set by their standards.

 

Part III: Shifting from being a typical school to an exemplary school

Over the past two weeks, we have shared with you how Hopeful School tried to implement what they learned in a professional development training – without much success. Now, read how their implementation could have been significantly better with just a few simple changes.

 Did you miss the first 2 parts of the story?

View part 1 here and part 2 here to get caught up!

Hopeful School’s Shift to Exemplary

 

Instead of what happened to Hopeful School in part 2, imagine if they had implemented Acceleration with an exemplary professional development implementation framework….

After just one year of implementing the Acceleration model using an exemplary professional development implementation framework, a change was visible in the school, not only with their test scores, but also with the culture of the school. Collaboration is happening at every level, and there is now common instructional vocabulary and an understanding of expectations among teachers. Lesson planning is easier and better than ever, and they are based on grade-level standards like never before. Instruction and assignments are customized for various levels of learning in order to provide the appropriate amount of grade level rigor and support for each student.

AYP goals were met in just one year of effectively implementing the Acceleration model using an exemplary professional development implementation framework.

 *Reading Comprehension Test Results of Struggling Students

Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Average 37 60 83 87 87 87 88 88 84 89

 *State test from above students:

96% of the students made AYP and passed all state tests

 *Actual results from school implementing the Acceleration model. See other client data here

 Sound too good to be true?  

Next week, learn exactly how Hopeful School shifted from typical to exemplary.

Here is a hint!

Implementation Framework

Part II: Are you working at a typical school or an exemplary school?

Hopeful School’s Typical Results.

Last week, you read about how Hopeful School started the school year with a training on Acceleration. This week, see how Hopeful School deals with their situation.Did you miss part I?  View it here to get caught up!

Hopeful School does what typical schools do…

At the first faculty meeting of the year, one teacher whispered to her team member, “Do you really think she (the principal) is going to make us do these Acceleration strategies?” She quickly received the answer when the principal announced that she would be conducting classroom observations and expected to see Acceleration strategies being used. While some of the new teachers were in a swivet, the more veteran teachers encouraged them to just hang in there, that “this too shall pass” as so many of their former instructional goals had done.

 The days following the faculty meeting were busy and the principal didn’t make it into any classrooms until several weeks later. She observed several “Vocabulary Preview” bulletin board displays in classrooms but noticed that there were different vocabulary terms in the special education classrooms and support classes, with a number of remedial worksheets being used. One of the Acceleration support teachers confessed that she didn’t really know what the classroom teachers were teaching and when she asked them for their upcoming lessons so she could do Acceleration, she was always met with “I’ll let you know soon.”

The principal promptly sent out a memo to staff requesting them to provide Acceleration plans or lesson plans to the special education and resource teachers. For a few weeks following the request, they received outlines detailing the textbook chapters that were being taught the following week. None of the classroom teachers provided an actual Acceleration plan or lesson plan. And, without a streamlined way to collaborate or share plans, even this little bit of sharing did not last long.

A scheduled mid-year district-wide walkthrough prompted the principal to again remind her staff that they were focusing on Acceleration as part of their school improvement plan and the district team would expect to see evidence that students are getting Acceleration. On the day of the district visit she was thrilled to see teachers previewing vocabulary and using vocabulary displays in most classrooms. Granted, many were in awkward locations for students to see and many were much too small to be useful, but they were up!

When asked how the building focus was working by a member of the walkthrough team, the principal replied, “We’re really trying now, we’re hopeful that our test scores will show it.” However, when test scores arrived, Hopeful School found that again they had not met their achievement goals. “I knew that Acceleration thing was never going to work,” commented several teachers. The principal was disappointed but not discouraged because she had just read about another new program that was guaranteed to raise achievement and was hopeful.

Does this sound familiar?  Is this similar to the professional development expectations at your school? Is this how you think it should end?

Next week, find out how Hopeful School changed in order to become  EXEMPLARY.

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