Wednesday, August 8, 2012



Our leadership team has rallied behind these 7 Cs or our Core Beliefs.  We see these as pivotal components for a successful school, where we measure success by the success of our students...

Content, Culture, Collaborative Teaching, Collective Decisions, Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Communication
These 7 topics will form the basis of a series of blogs devoted to student's success, improving teaching and creating great schools from good schools.  Check back regularly for their interpretations.
Content, rigor, fidelity, standards, curriculum, are all terms that describe our subject matter, the things we are mandated to teach and the things students learn.  There are multiple types of content:  Written content, mandated content, planned content, actual content, taught content, tested content, learned content and remembered content, all describing what a student actually "learns" while at school.  As educators, our responsibility is to align these together as tightly as possible.  Our pedagogy should strive to ensure all these adjectives describing our content, with the teaching addressing a thought, idea or content appropriate for our students.  We should strive to teach what the students "need" to know.

The educational PLC model even begins with the corollary question of "What do students need to know?"  At first glance, this seems simple enough.  Teach math. Teach communication arts.  Teach behavior.  Teach procedures.  TEACH PEOPLE.  Help them with what they will need to know.  Equip them with the tools they will need for their futures.  This is where a masterful teacher wants to spend the majority of their time.

Effective teachers are efficient and align all these characteristics but not without struggle.  Not without conflict and not without collaboration and not without help from others.  But that is another C! - Collaboration

Here at Winfield, we have an acronym SWBAT - "students will be able to..."  This expression reminds us that worksheets are only activities and they do not develop dendrites.  What we want students to know is not the same as what we want students to do.  We want them to know, interprets or understand the causes of the Civil War, for instance.  We may use a skit to portray the actions of the Lincoln.

For example:

SWBAT ...  understand the political issues of the middle 1800s  (this strives to describe what the students will learn)

AGENDA...  assign actors to play various roles of that era... (this describes what they will actually do)

SWBAT...  worksheet 4.3  (this tells us nothing about what the students will learn that day)
We put these on the boards, in student friendly language that they can understand, not for us, not for the principals but for the students!

How can we improve what we are doing?

Where could we use extra training?

Beginning the articulation process actually helps define areas needing extra attention.  Self-reflection is key for adult learning as well as student learning...

We may be "only Winfield," but we are going to be on the map!

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