Lower School Collaborates with Renowned Literacy Consultant
This past year, Serravallo has met with grade levels teams to begin the initial stages of mapping our Language Arts curriculum. Our curriculum work is based on Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins & Jay McTighe. The design process involves teachers planning in three stages, each with a focusing question:
Stage 1 - What is worthy and requiring of understanding?
Stage 2 - What is evidence of understanding?
Stage 3 - What learning experiences and teaching promote understanding, interest and excellence?
Our goal was to map out a curriculum that would ensure a consistent educational experience for all learners. To that end, grade level teams wrote reading curriculum for every unit, in each grade with common categories and followed a common process. Each unit included the following elements: Essential Questions, Enduring Understandings, Content, Skills, Assessment, Strategies and Resources. Serravallo was able to help teachers outline the units of study and essential questions for each unit. Teachers have met and will continue to meet to finalize our curricular work.
During her visits to Penn Charter, Serravallo also led workshop sessions with grade level teams. These sessions were organized between meetings and labsites. The most compelling aspect of Serravallo’s visit was the labsite. The labsites were conducted in the classroom and led by Serravallo. She modeled and/or coached teachers through the lesson. This live, in-the-moment feedback allowed teachers to instantly change or adjust their thinking. Teachers became the students and were modeling what it means to be reflective and flexible thinkers, observing how learning is an on-going process. One teacher shared, “Being coached through the process, in a safe environment with your colleagues, is one of the best forms of professional development. This model lends itself to in-house professional development between teachers.”
Serravallo helped us reinvigorate our thinking about our role as teachers and how we are constantly modeling, coaching, researching and collaborating with the learner throughout the learning process. A kindergarten teacher shared, “The opportunity to apply your knowledge in a real setting is the best form of professional development.” Thanks to the generosity of Penn Charter’s commitment to support faculty professional development and collaboration among teachers, we have been able to ensure a consistent educational experience for all learners, as well as to provide precise strategies for individualized learning and a common process for our curricular work. As we look to the future, we hope to continue this very important work as we keep the students we work with at the forefront.