PLC Structure Students rotate through mini classes with the specialists (Art, Music, PE, & Restorative Practices) while the teachers meet in PLC teams. Teachers meet for 2 hours monthly.
2010-2011 The PLC teams last year consisted of 4-6 teachers from mixed grade levels and the two Systems Thinking resource teachers. These teams met monthly to plan for and reflect on Systems Thinking lessons. The goal of the PLC process was to increase implementation of Systems Thinking in all classrooms.
Lesson Study The PLC teams used a lesson study process each month after choosing a Systems Thinking tool or habit to practice. The teams planned the lessons together. Each teacher took a turn as the model teacher. The subsequent month, each teacher shared how they implemented the tool or taught a habit in a lesson.
2010-2011 Outcomes Collaboration resulted in creative tension that encouraged each of us to try new lessons. Self Reflection increased as we gave ourselves time to discuss and reflect on our practice. There was an increase in the number of Systems Thinking habits and tools introduced in classrooms and integrated in learning.
Fall 2011 Teachers met in mixed grade level teams with the goal of integrating the habits and tools of Systems Thinkers as they collaboratively planned projects using Buck Institute PBL project planning forms. PLC groups focused on projects related to Outdoor Learning at Borton, one of the most sought-after elements of our magnet program.
Fall Work One PLC worked in collaboration with UofA Gardening students to design and construct a habitat for the Desert Tortoise that our school will adopt this spring. Research that developed from the project planning work included the identification of plants that will be planted to feed the tortoise.
Spring 2012 This spring, the creative tension led us to a recognition that we needed to focus on the Common Core as we consider projects and meet new writing standards. Teachers are currently meeting in grade level teams to examine Writing instruction and assessment based on the new Common Core. This work will include identifying a common writing assessment and analyzing writing instruction in order to improve our practice.
Writing We will continue to integrate the habits and tools of a Systems Thinker in our writing instruction and practice. Students will utilize the habits and tools of a Systems Thinker to form arguments and communicate evidence as they write about their learning and make authentic applications to the real world.
Fluid and Flexible Borton staff are committed to the PLC structure, in that it provides time to dialogue, reflect on our practice, share ideas, and share cross-grade feedback. Borton teachers make student learning the center of professional conversations. We have adapted the process to support teachers in the implementation of the Common Core.