As I mentioned in my previous post, I feel like I’ve got my feet on the ground with regard to the upcoming semester. My Spanish 2 kids are leaping into the 21st century with goofy, teenage gusto, and I’m so relieved that I feel like I can meet them at the door with some fun, relevant activities to meet their needs. It should be a fun semester. I’m not even looking forward to Spring Break yet (well, maybe a bit.)
But as regards my Culminating Artifact, I will likely continue my work with the Junior High Foreign Language PLC (what on Earth do you do with an acronym like “JHFLPLC”? Naming rights start at a grand.) At the end of the first semester, I whipped up a rough draft of a proposal for a PLC for JH Spanish teachers. Before I could meet with Laura, Brandi, and Bob Ryshke to refine it into a final draft, my principal asked if we could include all languages, and subsequently stripped the proposal down to skin and bones (I was trying to write the proposal as if it were a unit plan–too much detail). By the New Year, the proposal was submitted and accepted, pending review of resources and hiring needs. Given the economy, there is a distinct possibility that we will have to wait a year, but I will nonetheless get all the front-loading done so that when and if the PLC gears up, we will hit the ground running. Here are the steps as I see them:
- I need to speak with my Principal about what level of planning he requires or prefers, and what elements he requires.
- Based on that conversation, Kristen (the French teacher who will serve alongside me as co-facilitator of the PLC) and I will develop the structure of the PLC.
- I’ve already begun DuFour’s “Professional Learning Communities at Work.” This will give me a good foundation of the philosophy behind PLCs, as well as an acquaintaince with the jargon. Perhaps I’ll hit on this point in a later post, but as opposed as I am to “buzzwords” in education, throughout this process I’ve learned that words matter, and that part of developing a meaningful program is being very intentional with your words. Like I said, more on that later, perhaps.
There is a possibility that my Principal and PLC coordinators in the Junior High will not want us to overly script the PLC, which means that I will have VERY little work to do regarding the set-up of the PLC. If that is the case, Laura gave me the idea of developing an online resource for Westminster’s PLCs for internal and external use. Much as our wiki once served as the home to the 21st Century Cohort and the Inquiry-based Cohort, I would like to look into creating a space where the paths of these various communities might find common tread.
After all, if PLCs are to be the future of how faculty interact with one another to engage in conversations about student learning, it would be silly for them not to have a common space in which to exchange ideas.