Our Prairie Rose School District is a geographically vast space in southeastern Alberta covering over 29,000 square kilometres. It borders Montana in the south and Saskatchewan in the east. Our central office is located somewhat centrally, yet when teachers assemble for meetings they travel from schools located over 2 hours from the north and almost 2 hours from the south-west. So, as you might imagine, gathering teachers for professional development is a challenge.
Fortunately, it is 2018 and it is time that we started to better leverage all of the amazing access that we have to digital technology. Many of our small, remote schools connect students via video-conferenced classes, but it seems we are generally less likely to connect virtually as educators. To remedy that, my fellow Instructional Coach and I decided that we would try to provide valuable PD that didn’t require travel. By what magic you ask? We are attempting some district-wide book studies using Flipgrid as our platform. Some of our participants are already using Flipgrid in their classes or school, and some will be catching #FlipGridFever for the first time.
We are featuring two books that align with our district goals of Deeper Learning and Literacy. Participants will have approximately 2 weeks to read a chapter/section and respond to their choice of discussion questions. Then, to make it a ‘conversation’, they have an additional week to ‘respond to’ the musings of at least two other educators on that same chapter.
Learning that Lasts
This is Disciplinary Literacy
Have you read the books and want to join the conversation? Our participants include teachers and administrators from primary to high school!
Out of district? Go to flipgrid.com and use this guest code to check out the conversation about Disciplinary Literacy: a8d729a2
In PRSD8? Click here to check out and/or join our Flipgrid discussion on Disciplinary Literacy (or join code fea160) or here for Learning That Lasts (or join code 4171a7)
Ever since I read Kylene Beers’ book When Kids Can’t Read What Teachers Can Do, I’ve had the idea in the back of my mind that it would be intriguing for teachers of my staff to read this book together and talk about it… like a book study idea. One problem: we don’t do that kind of thing at my school.
But we should!
Everywhere I turn, it seems I’m reading about the power of learning together with colleagues. So earlier this month I threw the idea of a “book club” out to my colleagues. Not sure what it will look like, but we are reading the first three chapters for January 8th! Some of the teachers that have expressed interest have not read the book before; and thankfully, some who are familiar with the book also see value in revisiting it together in community. This seems like the right place to reflect on trying something new in high school!
Thanks to Linda M. for helping to recruit enough copies of the book.
Check out the post I was compelled to write when I first encountered this book:
“So Two Colleagues go to a PD Session…”
Great read: “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”
Confession: I love reading, but I have such poor will-power when it comes to putting a novel down, that I generally avoid reading novels. I tried reading a few novels this summer, and the spineless effect was still in place, so I made sure that I had other reading materials available. Fortunately, I quite enjoy a range of non-fiction; although engaging, I CAN put the non-fiction variety down to come back to later.
The best book I read this summer is a cross between the two worlds of novel and non-fiction. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is such an engaging writer that his auto-biography An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, http://chrishadfield.ca/ has the story-telling characteristics of a well-crafted novel. Hadfield weaves life lessons into the pages of his quest to become an astronaut, with the climax as his time on the International Space Station as mission commander.
As a Canadian Social Studies teacher, I’d love for every Canadian student to read this book. Hadfield imperceptibly fans the flames of Canadian pride and nationalism in a way that should leave every Canadian, young and old, feeling proud of what a Canadian is able to accomplish in the American dominated domain of space. As a parent, I want my children to feel the Canadian pride thing, but to also pick up on some of the valuable life lessons that Hadfield reinforces. My favourite lesson: “Be a zero”…you’ll have to read the book to decipher that one!