Let’s Get Together – Elementary End-of-Year Check-In

Last Saturday, Ruth Hanna and I facilitated the last of our Saturday Mid-Year Check-In courses. Over the course of 4 Saturdays, around 50 elementary school teachers gave their time to sit down and reflect on their practice and plan together for the second half of the school year. Across each course, we had rich conversations about what it means to help support a culture of reading and writing at the elementary level and how to better help all students chart pathways to reading and creating complex texts.

While we were pleased with the turnout each Saturday, we also appreciate the sacrifice of giving a Saturday to plan for our classrooms.

If I’ve been to your classroom or school over the last few months, you may recall me saying this is the “what” year of implementing our new elementary literacy resources and next year is the “how” year. Well, we wanted to make sure there’s space for thinking about the “how”.

We invite you to join us Tuesday, May 30 from 8 – 4 at Timberline pK-8 for and end-of-year check-in. Folks from across the district will be sitting down together to reflect on the close of our year and plan for how to improve our practice and learning next year.

If you can manage it, I encourage grade-level teams to come together and take a day to say, “What do we want to remember for next year?”

The course is open for registration right now through OPD – bit.ly/svvsdcheckin.

See you there!

Conference Opportunity: Colorado Language Arts Society Regional Conference

The following is a guest post from Mead High School Teacher and Colorado Language Arts Society President Jamie Hedlun.

Poster for Registration for conference featuring quotes from key speakers.

October 15, veteran, mid-career, and novice teachers alike will be attending the Colorado Language Arts Society’s Regional Conference. This is a conference known to have a tradition of excellence with a focus on teacher engagement. Our theme is “For the Love of Teaching: Reclaiming the Classroom”.

Past speakers have included as Penny Kittle, Carol Jago, and even Patricia McCormick. Presenters have included teachers, professors, cherished authors, representatives from NCTE as well. Session topics include technology integration, how to teach fiction, how to teach informational texts, implementing the Common Core and more.

We are excited to announce that we have Taylor Mali, a poet and teacher, Jimmy Santiago Baca, a popular poet and speaker, as well as Sarah Brown Wessling, the 2010 Teacher of the Year.

Teachers who attend will have a variety of professional development options with titles including “Mixing Pop Culture and the Classics –  The Sweet and Bitter using Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’”, “Stop Grading: Alternatives to Traditional Grading to Reclaim Your Classroom as Space for Your Students as Learners Instead of Point Collectors”, and “What’s New in YA?” Teachers from all levels will be sharing their expertise with attendees.

As SVVSD teachers, we value standards based teaching. We also understand, in order to reach our students, we must use new strategies and evidence-based research to improve our teaching practices. The 2016 CLAS conference is for us to accomplish this, while providing choice and differentiation for the teacher.

Every professional has differing needs; one of the neat features about our conference is that your needs will be met whether you need rejuvenation, new ideas, or time to share and learn with teachers outside of your department, school, and even district.

Registration is open and includes membership of the Colorado Language Arts Society for one year. Lunch will be included and there will be book giveaways, time to mingle with our keynote speakers, as well as an ice cream social at the end giving participants time to debrief and discuss the day’s events. I am eager to attend this year’s conference and spend time with other dedicated professionals who want to improve their teaching as well.


Know of a similar professional learning opportunity for English Language Arts teachers? Send and email to chase_zachary@svvsd.org to share.