Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Workshop Model

The literacy team held our first coaching meetings with our grade level teams today.  We were all a little nervous about how it would go.  I had to remind myself that I looked forward to my literacy coach meeting with my team when I was a classroom teacher, as I always walked away with some new insight.  I also had to remind myself that in-house professional development is meaningful to teachers.  The following link has some great research to support this:  Some main points were that teachers can learn, but struggle with the implementation; professional development should occur over time and be ongoing; and professional development is best when it is offered in the context of the teacher's content.

Our team decided that the workshop model would be our first topic for the meetings, and from there the topics would be driven by the teams.

I started by using an Affinity Diagram with  my teachers.  I needed to know their background knowledge on the workshop model and I thought it was important for them to also hear from each other.  I had them write a word or a phrase on post-its that came to mind when they heard the phrase "Workshop Model."   From here, they put their post-its up on chart paper and started to look for patterns.  They discussed how certain post-its went together and why and then determined a word to categorize the post-its.  Here is what one of my teams came up with...

Their initial categories were: mini-lesson, work time, differentiation, summary/closure.

From here we watched the fabulous Mr. Minor demonstrate a mini-lesson on creating setting for fantasy writing (  The teachers wrote down what they noticed about the lesson and then we shared out.  There are some misconceptions that I will need to clear up in one-on-one situations, but overall I was pleased with how the discussion went.

Lastly, we discussed the critical elements of the workshop model, and I stressed that this can happen in any content.  
  • tight focused mini-lesson, with direct modeling, "This is my turn to show you"
  • guided practice
  • independent work time (Daily 5, guided reading, conferencing, strategy focus groups, literature discussion groups, etc)
  • Share time (purposes: share what you did during independent practice, how did we manage, teaching/pushing them even further)
We finished the meeting by sharing what each teacher planned to do with the knowledge gained and what our plan would be for next time.


1 comment:

  1. Great reflection Rachel. I enjoyed reading about the process you took to prepare and share how the workshop model can work in your school. Using the video to clear up misconceptions with your staff was smart. I also appreciated reading how you used an Affinity Map activity to get the thinking going in your group. I'm sure I will come back to this post later for future reference.