We had a really good staff PD session yesterday. We focused on Higher Order Open-ended Thinking Questions (HOOTQs) and the first four parts of the OPDCA Cycle (Learning Cycle).
All teachers submitted a HOOTQ to me and after collecting all of them, I cut out each word separately. In groups of six, they had to take the individual words and generate two HOOTQs using only the words provided. The teachers used hanging panels with slots in them to hold their sentences, smilar to a word wall. It was amazing to watch them as they searched for those key words that require higher order thinking to answer. They were very engaged and all participating. I then had each team make one of their questions use only Lower Order Thinking and the other one even deeper Higher Order Thinking using a chart provided. I think it worked so well because they had to use words provided and there was no pressure to come up with them on the spot. I would definitely do this again.
OPDCA (Learning Cycle)
As this was the first exposure for many of the teachers to the concept and framework of a Learning Cycle (LC), I designed an interactive activity to get them up and out of their seats and talking about the seven components of a LC. I made hats by folding 11X17 paper lengthwise and stapling the ends. I had one of the LC components on each hat. The components are; The Hook, Clustered Expectations, Summative Task, Task-Specific Criteria, Diagnostic Task, Lesson Menu, and Assessment For & As Learning. I then had the teachers stand in a line first in the order they would plan a LC and then in the order in which they would actually teach the LC. I was amazed at the rich dialogue generated as the teachers discussed where their “Hat” should be and why. After the they finalized their order, each team (we had two teams) justified why they were in that particular order. I hope to reflect on this activity more as we move through our LC.
After the “hat” activity, I had each team share their first four steps with each other and there was quite a bit of deep discussion around the hook and guiding question, and the diagnostic tasks that could be used.
One of the challenges with presenting a new idea or language is to connect with what good teaching already is in the classroom. Almost all of the initiatives are connected to best practices. As I observed the teachers work through the activities, I was really able to both see the great depth of understanding and the areas where we need more time to share and learn. Please let me know what worked for you.