Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Book Study

We are so fortunate in Duval County that we have "Early Release." This means that every other Wednesday the students leave an hour and a half early so that the teachers can participate in Professional Development. Now that's hardly enough time for a school's entire professional study, so at Chets Creek, because we already have common grade level planning, we try to use these early release times for vertical articulation. We want teachers to establish relationships so that those relationships lead to sharing ideas across grades and disciplines. We are very intentional during these days to arrange activities to promote the dialog that we hope will happen. One of the things that we do at least once a year is to divide the faculty into smaller groups so that they may participate in a book study of their own choosing. Below is a list of some of the books we have offered in the past.

Young Mathematicians at Work: Fractions, Decimals and Percents by Fosnot
Young Mathematicians at Work: Number Sense, Addition and Subtraction by Fosnot
Bringing Words to Life by Beck and MeKeown
The Art of Teaching Reading by Lucy Calkins
When Kids Can’t Read by Kylene Beers
The Fluent Reader by Timothy Rasiniski
What a Writer Needs by Ralph Fletcher
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Craft Lessons by Ralph Fletcher
Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen
Growing Readers by Kathy Collins and Lucy Calkins
Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Teaching the Best Practice Way by Harvey Daniels
Teaching Science as Inquiry by Carin, Bass and Contant
Mechanically Inclined by Jeff Anderson
Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell
A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink
First Grade Writers by Stephanie Parsons
Teaching for Comprehension and Fluency by Fountas and Pinnell

The books are laid out for about a week after their introduction so that teachers can thumb through them. Then each educator is asked to sign up for the book of his/her choice. The Principal orders all of the books for the teachers to keep as their own personal copies! The Leadership Team does not lead any of these groups but becomes a member, allowing other teachers opportunities for leadership. These small, more intimate groups provide time for discussion and for teachers on different grade levels to become involved with each other in a new way.

This year we are going to change the focus just a bit... We are going to offer some fiction titles! Of course, they also have a tie to school issues or subjects, e.g., Jodie Picoult's Nineteen Minutes about bullying that leads to a school shooting. One of the reasons we are offering fiction this year is that we want our teachers to live the life of a reader. So far, we have only studied non-fiction text and we know that all readers do not prefer non-fiction, so we want to introduce our diverse faculty to other genres. We want to infuse a love for reading, not only in our children, but in our teachers! We want teachers to discuss the story line, but we also want them to look at the elements of the genre and to talk about author's craft. This will be a book study that models what we want to do with our children. We believe that if teachers live the experience then they will be able to think deeper about their own literature circles and book talks.

1 comment:

Teach to Learn said...

The book study as part of professional development is one of my favorite experiences here at Chets. The book studies have not only offered me an avenue for deeper reflection about my practice and teaching beliefs, they have afforded me the opportunity to share quality time with colleagues and establish endearing and long lasting friendships.