Teachers each brought a class set of response-to-literature final pieces. They read some of their higher pieces to each other so they could benchmark off each other's work and then were given time to analyze using a rubic to score their entire set of papers. As they had questions they read their papers to peers for a second opinion. This collegial conversation helped all teachers make sure they understand the rubric language.
Teachers also discussed students to be included in a special safety net for the remainder of the year taught by Maria Mallon. Teachers chose 12 students who are on the line between passing and failing for this last push.
The day continued with Randi Timmons, Elizabeth Conte and Rachael Happ sharing the work they have done with pattern books. Based on the work of First Grade Writers, this threesome completed this unit before the rest of the grade level. That put them in a position to share what they have learned. They shared the sequence of lessons that they taught, showed artifacts made with the children, read books that they used for specific patterns, discussed which patterns they taught and why, and shared student work. Front loading this information for the rest of the grade level relieved stress as teachers prepare for the "sprint to the end."
The final component of the day was professional development around poetry which is the last unit we will teach. To provide more structure we looked at the Poetry Unit (Kindergarten Unit #4) from the Denver Project which dovetails easily into our standards-based design. Teachers shared some of their favorite poetry books and some of the lessons they have used to successfully promote poetry. Several teachers talked about the poetry cafes that they used at the end of their poetry unit last year as a celebration.
All in all this day was about wrapping up lessons and previewing curriculum for the final nine weeks. It was a packed day but left teachers with a good idea of what is to come for the remainder of the year. Get ready, get set - GO!