Teacher study groups are as diverse as the teachers who participate in them. They can be an informal, low-key coffee klatch designed to relieve the daily stress of teaching. They can be highly structured inquiry groups, with detailed expectations for participants. Most study groups are likely somewhere between these two extremes, with colleagues getting together regularly to discuss books, view videos, and support each other as they test out new literacy instruction strategies in their classrooms. We include a few examples of study groups in the Choice Literacy library. If you regularly lead these groups, you'll want a membership that includes the Leaders Lounge. Here is where you will find advice from study group leaders who coordinate book groups, design workshop formats for groups, and develop structures for helping colleagues transfer the learning in study groups to the learning in their classrooms.
Mary Lee Hahn surveys Choice Literacy contributors about Odd Habits as they share truths and lies about their writing routines. This is a fun icebreaker for summer or fall orientation get-togethers.
Jeff Anderson launches a new series on explanatory writing, a topic of high interest to teachers now because of the Common Core.
What words are worthy of study? Amanda Adrian and Heather Rader explore that question with colleagues.
Start your school year off right (or get it back on track) with a manifesto about who you are and what you value. Ruth Shagoury provides a mentor poem, guidelines and samples.
Heather Rader shares more guidelines for a professional development day on the Common Core with a writing focus.
Heather Rader sorts through goals, audience, and interest in planning a day of professional development linked to the writing standards in the Common Core.
Amanda Adrian explains how a simple professional development closure activity garnered many new invitations to classrooms.
In the second part of the literacy team meeting, teachers on the team move from the focus on sharing, to the important phase of where to go next as a team and as a school. Because the crucial work of the team is the work done between meetings, this is a critical discussion.
This round-up includes suggestions for opening activities and icebreakers to energize your colleagues from Amanda Adrian, Aimee Buckner, Shari Frost, and Jennifer Jones.
Ruth Ayres inspires us to develop the habit of writing on a regular basis by taking a bite out of the Slice of Life Story Challenge.
In this five-minute excerpt from a second-grade team meeting, Principal Karen Szymusiak sits in on a discussion of the challenges of helping young readers learn to pick appropriate books independently.
In this second installment of a two-part video series, Clare Landrigan takes a team of grades 3-5 teachers through the steps of selecting a book for a demonstration lesson.
Are you more of a Pollyanna or Eeyore reflector? Heather Rader takes you inside the questions that help us reflect even more deeply on our instructional practices.
Heather Rader shares her experiences working with a teacher team led by an outspoken leader. With listening and support, the team examines evidence in a new way.
In the day-to-day triage of our schools and the sense of urgency that pushes us to always be accountable for every minute of the day, it is understandable that we tend to forget to pause to think about our larger goals. No one wants to “waste time.” This activity helps everyone keep the big picture in mind.
Â Mary Lee Hahn finds Poetry Fridays are about so much more than poetry, or even a pleasant end to the week.Â She shares how this activity is a wonderful way to bring together colleagues and students.
Heather Rader writes about "agency" – the challenge of letting students and teachers take charge of their learning. In concrete examples from a third-grade classroom and a professional development scoring session with teachers, Heather shares the subtleties of learning to trust, wait, and celebrate when learners of any age are responsible and independent.
Teacher writing groups are a wonderful informal way for teachers to get together over the summer voluntarily. Heather Rader has format suggestions, as well as tips for helping your group run smoothly.
It’s virtually possible to get together around a book without getting together at all. Shari Frost shows us how.
As Suzy Kaback explores the question “How does your expertise function?” she explains the power of Photovoice and details its use in K-12 classrooms.
The transition from teacher to coach is tricky. Melanie Quinn has advice for building relationships with colleagues in the first weeks of school.
What are the hallmarks of professional learning communities that work well in schools?
Jennifer Allen shares a few strategies for building the reading community beyond individual classrooms in your school. Book swaps, a shared staff novel, and family literacy breakfasts all reinforce the most important aspect of reading – it should be pleasurable and engrossing, no matter the age of the learner.
Jennifer Allen considers how her study groups have changed over the past decade as she continues to balance district demands with teacher choice.
Sharing a common teaching vision begins with a common language, but not a script. Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan share how teachers can work together to develop consistent ways of talking about literacy learning.
What books are most likely to succeed in teacher study groups? Shari Frost shares her criteria for books teachers will embrace. . .and actually read with enthusiasm.
Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan have advice for teachers and literacy coaches leading demonstration lessons.
Jennifer Allen details her professional development formats, and the crucial role feedback plays in their success.
Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan have ideas for staying motivated while analyzing data. If you're drowning in assessments, there are a few lifelines in this piece.
Jennifer Allen reflects on her experiences as a teacher, and develops ways to help the veteran teachers she works with return to their “creation chambers.”
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