Blog

Three Rules Help Manage Assessment Data

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We live in the Information Age, when never before has so much data on student learning been so readily available. It is the best of times... And yet, to harried principals struggling to make sense of the mountains of assessment data, the Information Age may feel like the worst of times... Read more

Should Homework Be Graded?

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I received an interesting question from a teacher regarding recommendations for whether or not homework should be graded. He described a scenario in which a student demonstrates proficiency on every quiz, test, and exam but refuses to do homework each day. If, on a daily basis, the student… Read more

Getting the Most Out of Common Assessments

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Like most schools that begin implementing PLC practices, the faculty at Pioneer Middle School learned about the importance of common formative assessments and decided to utilize this powerful tool to help us focus on learning. Unfortunately, as time progressed… Read more

Is This Candidate a Good Fit for a PLC?

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We received a question from an educator interested in the kinds of questions she might use to determine if a candidate is a good fit for a professional learning community. We suggest that you ask . . . Read more

Tech Tools for Teams: Using Voicethread

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I've got an interesting admission to make: I'm a HORRIBLE guy to have on a learning team! Kind of strange, isn't it? I mean, how could a trained Solution Tree associate and author who has written about the beauty of professional learning communities for years possibly be… Read more

Wide Range of Abilities

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This is the time of year when we move into interview mode in schools. Having just exited one of these, something the candidate said caused an aha! moment for me. The question to the candidate had to do with… Read more

A Rose by Any Other Name: Professional Learning Communities

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When visiting a school in the early stages of developing Professional Learning Communities (PLC), I heard the principal explain, "Our PLC teams meet twice a month." He continued proudly, "When our… Read more

Teachers Key to Reversing High Failure Rate in Math

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We received a query from a high school principal about the failure rate in algebra in his school. At the end of the first quarter, 44 percent of students were receiving grades of D or F. At the end of the first semester, the rate had increased to 55 percent. When the administration met with the teachers to offer support, teachers took the following positions... Read more

I’m the Only One Teaching This Course. How Do I Collaborate?

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One of the most frequently asked questions we hear is, "I am the only one teaching this course. How can I be part of a collaborative team?" This question has been addressed numerous times in previous blogs, yet the uncertainty remains pervasive… Read more

Stop Blaming and Take Action: One Teacher’s Manifesto

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A teacher who attended a two-day conference on PLCs was moved to write the following manifesto urging her colleagues to join her in a concerted effort to bring the PLC concept to life in their school… Read more

Tech Tools for Teams: Collaborate Using Twitter

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Let me start by making an observation based on the past six years that I've spent working as a member of a highly motivated professional learning team: Collaboration may be incredibly rewarding and professionally satisfying, but it ain't easy… Read more

Are There Universities That Teach PLC Principles?

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We aren't familiar enough with the programs of the many colleges around the country to recommend particular schools. The best option for a school district is to examine the course requirements of the… Read more

Working in Vertical Teams

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We received an inquiry regarding how vertical teams would work together in a professional learning community. Here are some ideas... Read more

Clarifying Collective Inquiry

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We received a question about collective inquiry as it relates to professional learning communities. The writer indicated he was confused and wondered if it simply meant the comparison of test scores of the students of a collaborative team. He asked for clarification and… Read more

Motivating Teachers to Collaborate

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I recently responded to the following question regarding how to motivate those teachers who do not fully engage in the collaborative process: Our district has adopted a PLC vision, which is fantastic. Two years ago… Read more