Presentation Materials: Solution Tree #atplc Institute

Over the next three days, I’ll be working alongside the super motivated educators at Solution Tree’s PLC Institute in Minneapolis.  The goal for most of the participants will be to find ways to polish their collaborative practices in order to help kids learn.  Together, teams from individual schools will study everything from the core beliefs that support learning communities to the nuts and bolts of making effective collaboration possible.

I’ll be delivering three different breakout sessions.  Here are the materials for each session.  Hope you find them useful:

Small Schools and Singletons:  Structuring Meaningful Professional Learning Teams for Every Teacher

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The PLC concept resonates with most educators, but making collaborative learning work in small schools or for singleton teachers can be challenging.  In this session, participants will explore four different models for creating meaningful professional learning teams for singletons and teachers in small schools:  The creation of vertical teams studying skills that cross content areas, designing class loads that allow teachers to teach the same subjects, using electronic tools to pair teachers with peers working in the same subject area, and using student work behaviors as an area of focus for nontraditional learning teams.

Plug Us In:  Using Digital Tools to Facilitate the Work of PLCs

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For professional learning teams, collaboration can be nothing short of demanding.  Developing – and then organizing – collections of shared materials, making important decisions, and communicating with colleagues across grade levels and departments often requires additional time that classroom teachers just don’t have.

As a result, many teachers question whether or not the costs of coordination outweigh the benefits of collaboration in Professional Learning Communities.  In this session, full-time classroom teacher and Solution Tree author Bill Ferriter introduces participants to a range of free digital tools that 21st Century learning teams are using to make their collective work more efficient – and therefore, more rewarding.

We’re Meeting.  Now What?:  A Look Inside a Learning Team

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For teachers on novice learning teams, collaborative meetings can be nothing short of overwhelming!  Not used to making collective decisions, teachers can struggle to organize their early work together and begin to question the benefit of a school’s decision to restructure as a professional learning community.  In this session, full-time classroom teacher and Solution Tree author Bill Ferriter explores the kinds of actions that successful learning teams take to make the most of their time together.

You can also find my PLC related posts on the Radical here and download a TON of free handouts from my PLC books here and here



Related Radical Reads:

The Power of PLCs

Five Resources for School Leaders Starting PLCs from Scratch

These are OUR Kids

  • marsharatzel

    Love PLCs

    Dear Bill,

    You know I love PLCs…and I’ve found them tremendously helpful in improving my classroom practice(s).  I think your post about what to do as a singleton is critical to many schools.  For a long time where I taught, the explos/electives were the only singletons in the building… that is dramatically changing with all the budget cuts.

    In my own school, core subjects have always had a partner.  But as the population near our school shrinks…..all the math, social studies and science teachers have become singletons in their grade level.  When we have vertical time, we have partners.  On a weekly basis though, we are on our own.

    I see the usefulness of virtual PLCs because of this shrinking student population.  I see this virtual connectedness as a wonderful antidote for feeling alone and like you have to do all the work by yourself.  

    Thanks for doing all this and for posting these fantastic resources.


    • billferriter

      No One Right Singleton Solution

      Hey Marsha, 

      Jazzed that these resources look good to you.  Anytime something looks right to you, I feel better about what I’ve created. 

      Singleton-wise, I think it’s important to remember that there is no one right singleton solution to pursue for everyone.  While some teachers will REALLY be driven by working in electronic teams, that kind of semi-impersonal space rubs others the wrong way.  

      In the end, as long as people are collectively inquiring around their practice, they’re functioning as a PLC — and that inquiry can take a lot of different forms.

      Hope you’re well,