Wednesday, April 3, 2013

MCLP Literacy Leadership Conference: April 2013

Hi Val, Cheryl, Renee, Megan, and Jen,

Please share 2-3 of your big take-away's from today's experience.

This is SOME team!  Thank you,  Megan, Renee, Valerie, Cheryl, Jennifer!!  We missed you, Rebecca and Jenn.

Our work today will make its way to every staff member as soon as we can arrange a time.  Stay tuned.

Our Literacy Team has reflected on our 2012-13 Literacy Action Plan by using an MCLP rubric to assess literacy across the content areas.  We're "mostly" there.  Based on our assessment using the rubric, we have listed these as possible topics for next year...our 2013-14 Literacy Action Plan:

  • Assignments which require higher order critical thinking about content:  using Performance Tasks from Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium AND using these released items as exemplars for creating our own (Text, Task, Standards).
  • Develop a plan for bringing more technology opportunities to K-5: i.e.  Buddy Grades and Projects which allow for presenting researching findings;  Planning 6 week units for each grade with IT support; getting an iPads into K-5 students' hands.
  • Big need!  We hope to plan opportunities for all teachers to  regularly use a variety of print and electronic texts as sources of content info in addition to textbooks.
  • Big need!  To implement consistently opportunities for all students to routinely conduct research and draw conclusions based on critical evaluation and synthesis of multiple sources.


  1. Valuable learning opportunity at MCLP conference. My favorite take away is an article in regards to the Joy of Teaching and how to make it joyful for students and teachers. It was also very helpful to attend a session on the common core and performance task assessments. Let's give one a try:)

    1. The recommendation is also to have a 50-50 percentage of non-fiction and fiction books that we use in our classroom, so we need to be especially building a good source of non fiction reading materials in our school and classroom libraries:) Since the reading level may be too high at the lower levels it will be valuable to incorporate many as a read aloud. Another excuse to buy fun:)

  2. I felt like the "Joy in School" article definitely hit on some of the teaching methods and ideas that we used to hold dear. Also that these have come back as we think about Performance Tasks.

    I was struck by the different type of reading students are going to have to do and the different ways of teaching we are going to have to do to get our students ready for these performance tasks.

    As a school, we definitely need to work on getting more technology into our classrooms, particularly K-5, for use in content areas and literacy in order to keep up with instruction and performance task measures.

  3. My 2 Take away moments today are:
    * that we need more tools accessible for technology k-5! I pads, laptops. More than just 14 working computers out of the gray cart that have to be shared amongst 125+ students and aren't accessible for 2 weeks or more 3times a year during NWEA's.
    * That I think that we as a school need to do more grade level/Age Group crossings projects as the kids enjoy it and it really sticks with them. (Example: When we did cross grade projects when we first did the PBIS parts of the matrix)

  4. My favorite favorite favorite takeaway is the chance to look at the 2014-15 Performance Based Assessments that are a comin'. I liked the idea of using the released item (we looked at a 4th grade one) as a mentor text.

    Another favorite takeaway was the opportunity to read about Joy in teaching and be reminded of these traits which a very doable in our practices. These sessions are both exhilarating and frustrating but it's a good process to see where we are and where we're headed.

  5. My favorite take away from the Maine Content Literacy Institute was the workshop with Katanna Conley! She shared a Performance Task for 4th grade, which was aligned with the Common Core. The expectations were an eye opener to everyone. One teacher said, "I am going to do this task with my tenth graders in chemistry class." Many of us thought, "Wow! Fourth graders should know how to do this?" I think we all learned a lot from this workshop and are eager to start constructing our own performance tasks!

  6. I agree with Jen..we definitely need more technology resources to incorporate these performance task assessments and our new EDM online as well.

  7. I agree with Renee that the Common Core and Performance Task session was VERY helpful!

  8. At today's MCLP conference in Hermon at the Morgan Center there were many valuable ideas to take back. What stood out for me was the reiteration of putting joy back into the classroom of learning. The 11 steps to think about were very thought provoking ... not so much that it was "new information", but just the refocusing of what learning is all about. For instance, the quote: "You don't need to give kids fun activities for a break for learning ... learning in itself should be fun." Wow! Sometimes I get so bogged down in the skills I want students to get, and I forget that they'd get those skills if I just changed my approach. Also ... kids need to move. Yes, learning can take place even in the content areas by integrating movement, e.g., acting, turning the outdoors into a classroom setting, etc.

    Oh yeah, and look for more focus on performance tasks to get ready for the Smart Balance assessments ... and I'm not just trying to butter you up with this bit of news. It's here, but it's worth it. There's a lot of work to do, but students will be learning great things.

  9. Yes, Megan. We need more technology if we want our students to succeed in the 21st century.

  10. Sounds like you guys had a great day. Your comments are interesting. I agree with the thread about access to more technology. This is the language of the future for our students. We need to put technology in their hands as much as possible. I like the quote that Cheryl had about the fact that learning should be fun, and maybe sometimes we need to change our approach. Thanks, Ladies! Good info!

  11. Sounds like it was a wonderful conference. I totally agree that we need more laptops for our students. It is often a struggle to have one when we need one for our students in 6th grade and below.

    Is the Joy in School article available? From Jen's description, I would love to see it.