On Wednesday, November 29th, the K-2 teachers met with Wendy Robinson, Heartland Area Education Agency’s literacy consultant, to continue Fundations training at the District Office Boardroom from 2:30pm – 4:00pm. The work began with a quick check across the entire grade level team to share where teachers were in the sequence of lessons, things that were going well, and areas they needed more support to improve their implementation. After this initial sharing, teachers engaged in learning around accurate letter sound pronunciation, improving fidelity in the dictation routines, and sharing effective strategies for using the parent support pack provided in the teacher’s kits. Teachers shared that they appreciated time to share ideas and see a model of the dictation routine in action.
As teachers discussed current pacing, successes, and struggles, we noticed that most teachers were within a week or two of each other. This allows teachers to have better conversations as well as helping us to ensure that all students will be on pace to complete grade level standards by the end of the year. Teachers shared that they were feeling more confident with some of the routines and planning lessons. Also, teachers are already noticing an improvement in student handwriting and spelling as compared to what they have typically noticed at this time during the year. Moving forward, teachers would like more discussions about ways to manage materials and keep whole groups of students more engaged. Additionally, teachers want to have more conversations about how best to intervene for students who are not demonstrating mastery of unit assessments.
During letter sound pronunciation training, teachers discussed specific letter sounds that are more difficult to pronounce correctly. Pronouncing letter sounds incorrectly can create challenges for students as they begin to blend letters into words. Teachers acknowledged that this is an important component for them to keep in mind as they move forward. Training around letter sounds will continue as we gather feedback on walkthroughs that indicate a need for more teacher practice.
Next, teachers watched a video of Barbara Wilson modeling the dictation routine. They used a fidelity checklist to evaluate her lesson and had conversations about the steps of the routine they saw in the lesson. After viewing the model, teachers planned a lesson and then had a chance to teach that lesson to a colleague and receive feedback. This routine was selected because the data showed most variance in teacher implementation during the November observations. As the administrative team continues observations in December and January, we will pay specific attention to this routine in order to evaluate the impact of this training.
Finally, teachers reviewed the resources in the parent support pack. Because we do not want students to complete homework over concepts they haven’t yet mastered, it might not be appropriate to send the same support materials home with each student in a class. However, clear communication with parents about student progress and how parents can best support students in class is essential to ensuring student success.
Our next training will be on January 15, 2018. In order to create a meaningful experience for our teachers, we gathered feedback today about topics in Fundations they would like more time for discussion. We will use that information as we plan the agenda for our January training day.