Saturday, February 14, 2009

PLC’in It Up – American Lit Style

Last Wednesday I participated in the second Professional Learning Community Day, where we start school two hours late because we are in a meeting discussing ideas for the common courses that we teach. The topic of this meeting was American Literature and I got the privilege of sitting in and commenting on the progress with these educators.

This meeting started out a little differently than the last one I went to, the PLC on 9th grade, because we all shared what we are doing in our classrooms currently. It was so awesome to make this the focus and the start of the meeting – our successes, what we are doing together, and how we can make each other better. It was awesome to hear how different the ideas were, but how they all came back to this question: relevance. All the teachers were making their content relevant to their students somehow, and usually it revolved around some type of technology too.

This meeting then moved into looking at end of the year goals for our PLC. Where did we want the students taking American Literature to be? How are we going to assess that? Where does that common text come from? It was really interesting to be part of a learning community that was struggling with these questions in a good and healthy way. One comment that I found really meaningful was this, “No one’s asking for the numbers yet, so let’s make sure that the assessment is still meaningful for us.” I know that many educators believe that the data they receive from state tests does them little to no good, besides chronicling school growth or lack of it. The educators I was meeting with were struggling with making the elements they were measuring realistic and beneficial to them in the classroom. It was a beneficial and helpful conversation to have, because the focus was not on school growth or even national growth – but it was on their students. How do we make education more effective for our students, in our classrooms? And finally, how do we do this together by collaboration? That was the discussion I was a part of and it was really cool and a privilege to be a part of.

We ended the meeting by updating the PLC website for AHS. Each PLC has a part on a website that will eventually be opened to parents and friends of the school to look at and see what their faculty discuss at each meeting. How cool is that? As a parent, if I knew that my son or daughter’s teachers were meeting about improving the education in their classroom that would make me excited. I can’t wait to see the reaction when the Beta version of the website goes live.

It was, once again, a successful and helpful learning activity in my growth as a future educator.