Saturday, June 9, 2007

Summer happenings

Kindergarten teachers do not sleep in the summer. They certainly enjoy the break, but there is a group of six teachers at Chets Creek (Haley Alvarado, Elizabeth Conte, Randi Timmons, Debbie Harbour, Maria Mallon and me) that have been inspired by Maria Mallon to work on a vocabulary unit that uses the work of Beck and McKeown to infuse vocabulary strategies into a a set of read aloud books that they all use in kindergarten. They have looked at Beck and McKeown's Text Talk and also at the America's Choice vocabulary units. This is a group of "looping" teachers who make the kindergarten-first grade loop year after year. This next year they will be back in kindergarten. They have formed their own professional learning community. It was Maria's brain child last year that they use their kindergarten "Star Books" (read aloud books) to develop vocabulary. They have each taken 2-3 book titles and have committed to writing activities that will be shared and then revised by them all next year. They have been meeting for half a year - studying together and working out the division of labor and the framework for the lessons. They have chosen six "tier two" words for each of the books, four words that are used in the book and two that are inferred for each book. I have just finished a template for the activities and they will be working on the activities independently until we all meet together in mid-June to share our work. As the work becomes available, they will share it on this web site. Others may want to try their draft activities and are welcome to comment as the manuscript changes and improves with use.

This is really a professional learning community at its best. Teachers who come together because they want to learn from each other. Teachers who push each other to be better than any of them could be independently. Stay tuned to see how it all turns out.

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