Every Monday morning, the students who attend my middle school get to sleep in and show up to school at 9 a.m. While students are rubbing the sleep from their eyes, the teachers at my school at there early to analyze data, reflect on best practices, and tweak lesson plans. This time of the week used to be focused mainly on assessments, until at some point last year, our administrators, with the help of our teacher-librarian decided that we would also use this time to form critical friend groups.
At first, hearing the word “critical” was not something I wanted to throw into the mix of an early Monday morning meeting, but then I learned what the purpose of these groups truly were: to examine student progress and effective strategies through discussion of colleagues. I was excited to get the chance pick my co-workers brains and find out what they were doing in their own classrooms–what worked for them and what they were struggling with.
For project number two of my Social Media and Digital Culture class, we’ve been asked to create an online networked learning space where people can participate, share, and learn about any given topic. I’ve decided to create one around effective writing instruction, as this is something that we teachers struggle with. Having listened closely in our previous CFG groups, I feel I’ve targeted a consistent issue that we all have the same fears and issue with. How do you make writing instruction effective and rigorous, but also make the process seem less daunting and more enjoyable from the student viewpoint? That’s just one of the questions that will lead the NLS.
So, this is my community. This is my tribe. My tribe is other teachers who could use a space to share and organize strategies, professional content, original content, etc. They are the people that I work closely with, and enjoy having these conversations with, but it is not limited to these people. Hopefully, this online community can be an extension of our insightful, reflective conversations held on Monday mornings.