The AIMS Professional Learning (PL) cadre of facilitators are classroom teachers from all over the United States. As a group, we work together to understand current best practices and how to better facilitate effective PL that is content-focused, active, collaborative, uses models and modeling, feedback and reflection, and is sustained over time. Because we are in in different geographical locations we meet virtually once a month. Using a virtual interface for our Community of Practice (COP) meetings, we collaborate, making sure we align with the vision and goals we have set for our group. Our goal for these meetings is to have an open online exchange of ideas, and conversations about current PL issues, trends, and practices.
We also continually read books to learn more about PL then have discussions around what we have read during each meeting. Presently we are reading “Sit and Get” Won’t Grow Dendrites by Marcia Tate. The book highlights and discusses 20 PL strategies to use in the classroom or in workshop settings. In our COP meetings we discuss, share, and reflect how using the strategies outlined in the book have helped in our own classrooms and can assist us in workshop presentation. Last month we discussed the using humor, cooperative tasks, peer coaching, and reciprocal teaching.
I love the teaching nuggets I get at the COP virtual meetings. My newest one came from our AIMS facilitator in Oregon, and I will call it “Red, Yellow, and Green Team Cups.” This strategy helps a teacher/facilitator quickly assess how a cooperative group working on a task is progressing. Groups are given a cup stack of three cups, one red, one yellow, and one green. As groups work, they change which cup is on top of the stack to signal what they need from the teacher/facilitator. The green cup indicates they are working well. The yellow cup indicates the group has a question but are still able to keep working until help arrives. The red cup means the group needs urgent help and can’t move forward. The visual allows for a quick-check of groups and covers a whole class/group at a glance. I’m anxious to incorporate this with the next group I work with.
What teaching nuggets have you shared lately? Reach out, ask your colleagues what strategies they are using to make their classrooms or Community of Practice meeting productive and engaging. Here’s to colored cups!