(These notes are a partial rendering. Carol took more complete notes.)
ESWPN Summer Leadership Institute June 28, 2011-DAY 1

Prompt: Of what value is the CC to you, your students, your classroom, your school? How might/does the CC work for you? (We wrote on sticky notes and “connected the minds” by noting connections among our comments.)

Places writing as a central part across all content areas…
Gives teachers in NY (and nationwide) common language
Asks teachers to align curriculum (across grade levels) in a meaningful way ...more notes...

Prompt: What questions or concerns does the CC raise for you? (We wrote on sticky notes and “connected the minds” by noting connections among our comments.) ...more notes...

ESWPN Summer Leadership Institute June 29, 2011
Debriefing Agnes Zelllin’s Workshop:
“Global News Reporting as a Vehicle for Writing Competence”

Student ownership was evident (Annie),
students learned the discourse of newscast (Denise);
students saw themselves, literally, as authorities and experts (Mary)
Student choice (Asia)
Each topic segued into the next—as a group then created a coherent news program (Nicole)
Studied what goes into a news broadcast by watching the news—See that there is writing involved in the news (Lisa)
Liked how it was so complex (Lynn)
Having a culminating activity—helps motivate kids and keeps them focused (Ann)
Sense of audience was strong (Vicky)
Nice to have a performance aspect (Danielle Sullivan)
The assumption that all can learn—expectation was high…and technology infusion (Charlene)
Some of us get stuck into “if I have to follow standards, my instruction will be these small bits. Yet this project is an example of a rich, engaged student way to have students meet all of the standards—the standards don’t hold us bound in rigid way (Amy)
This is the kind of thing you would want to see in a portfolio (Charlene)—and see in a teacher portfolio (Carol)
What was the inspiration? (Laura). It was not the standards—but it is the final project—Backwards Design. If we start with that inspiration, that grows from our strengths, then we will meet all the standards.
Agnes response: I used to be a documentary photographer and thinking deeply about how the images we see effect how we see the world. I wanted to learn more about visual imagery. How images impact how we live, think, see…
Are there possibilities here for multi-genre writing? A poem about polar bears, a persuasive essay on polar bears, information writing such as in a newscast on polar bears…(Denise).

Agnes: Thoughts on filling out the “Assignment Overview” form:
—it was challenging to think through. Lots of work and lots of thinking. What I had done was intuitive. Held me to the fire in terms of thinking about my work.


Need to develop a debrief form for people to put their ideas, etc. (Mary has shared a debrief form on the wiki)
Annie: Found this inspiring
Patty: Our group was nonthreatening
Dotty: Good for teachers to see the really great lessons they do now DO meet the standards
Nicole: Any of these assignments would meet at least some of the standards. Protocol brings out interesting ideas. Good ideas from the comments of the other presenters. Structured ways to talk about your instruction and avoid complainging about school, students, etc.

Lisa: It helped me to really think
Jacqueline: This protocol doesn’t really ask us to think about this student work. It was useful in helping us think about our assignments, but not the student work..
Laura: Ed has this “5-Round Protocol” that is really excellent in focusing us on student work.
Ann: I am used
Amy: Yes—important to focus
Jacqueline: Perhaps also a multi-step process—looking at the assignment, getting feedback on that, and then
Ann: It all comes back to the focus of the question: “Look at my assignment. Look at what I am getting..” But—again, without the student work, then
How can I get this assignment to align with the Common Core? Where is the CCSS in the assignment?
Amy: It is great to see examples of student work; we don’t share it in my school.
Annie: If we create assignments and samples of student work for ESWPN, that would be nice.

Discussion about the mismatch about the assessments and actually measuring students’ knowledge. Concerns about students being punished on the test scoring system for using prior knowledge to make sense of reading.

(Lynn ?) Concern about the test sinking performance.

(Charlene?) Need to teach test writing and test reading as a genre.

Laura: We need to empower our students to do well on the test.

More notes on following page

June 29: Plans for Professional Development and Talking Points
End of the Day Writing:

Prompt: What sense are we making of the professional development work that we can offer our colleagues and administrators in English, literacy, social studies, science around the Common Core?

Questions we still have:
(Lisa) What information do I take to teachers of other disciplines to help them with CC conversation? Where to start?

(Jacqueline) What information do I take to administrators to help their schools address CC? How can I start a conversation that will show the competence of me and what our Writing Project site can offer? We need to be seen as competent. We need words and talking points. [Note: ESWPN is finalizing a talking-point sheet that has a nice new logo]

(Laura) Unless we can address and understand science, social studies, and math teachers needs with the CC, we are at a dead end.

(Annie) Use words such as: “teaching beyond the standards,” “enriching,” “empowering,” “teaching test genre to empower students to succeed.”

Protocols are very concrete. Administrators will like them

(Ann) We are supporting change that begins with the teacher

(Carol) We are developing teacher capacity (current common buzzword)

We are using the data/evidence of student work to reflect and adjust instruction.

Teacher involvement

We focus directly on the teaching and learning process. Directly with teachers and their classrooms. (We are a non-profit organization that draws its understandings and expertise from the work of practicing teachers. We support teacher development by working alongside teachers in sustained, meaningful, supportive ways)

Where to start?
Tap the Teacher Consultants (TCs) who are content area teachers …

Begin with writing and reflecting on that writing with others. (This is the SI model; this builds trust and community; this opens teachers to transformative experience). Some prompt ideas: Write about a student who is puzzling you now… Follow-up with “discussion and writing about what teachers need/need to do to support that student.

First use existing models of student work available in CC appendices or in the samples that NWP or ESWPN may offer online. Map it to the CC. What is already there? What is not yet there? Later, ask teachers to bring in student work from their own classrooms and follow the same process. (Danielle Suillivan did bring samples of student work that has social studies as content). (It may be less threatening to focus on student work rather than teacher assignments + student work, or it might be that both assignment and student work can be examined as we did here at ESWPN SLI.)

Help teachers see the difference between teaching writing and assigning writing. The chart in Because Writing Matters (comparing the two) can be useful.

(Late night session—Denise) Organize sessions for parents in order to build community, support parent involvement, educate them about the CC, inform them about new Teacher Evaluation Systems. Start these sessions with writing: Possible prompt: Write about a time you felt proud of your child for their academic work

Site’s Next Steps:
7VWP: Jacqueline and Danielle will be heading a task force focused on organizing a science and social studies conference and follow-up Sat Seminars for next year. The aim is to get administrators to the conference.

(Ann H.) Content area teachers need help in meaningful “coverage” of content. Help teachers experience and use small writing-to-learn activities to develop content in social studies and sciences.

(Lynn) The CC seems to also be asking content-area teachers to develop more formalized end products in writing…

(Carol) Content teachers will need help “managing texts”

(Lynn) Content area teachers must deal with TONS of reading—so helping them teach reading is also important. looks like social studies

(Denise, late night session) Writing Projects can also take on the work as coaches for teachers who have been labeled “developing” or “ineffective.” Perhaps the writing project can help support these teachers as they work through their improvement plan.

Discussion debriefing our ideas:

Start with discussing student work—see it as the evidence of students’ understandings. Where is the CC reflected in that? What is missing? How can we support students in learning/doing the aspect that is missing?

Use protocols to examine both the student work and the assignment.
Focus teachers on the difference between assigning writing and teaching writing.
Patty: Remind the teachers Go back to the begin with writing. We are all writers. Students are writers. Like Rocky.

Charlene: What movie or song reminds you of where we are now in education?

Lynn: What can we do? Write, ..

Jacqueline: Opportunity to collaborate among peers. The writing project provides community, and now schools need it more than ever. Soundtrack: We are Family

Ann: This is why we have to go back to writing—it builds community. It is a catalyst for change.
No matter what you write, it is personal. That is what connects us and brings out the humanity. Soundtrack: Here Comes the Sun

Laura: We can’t forget the tenets that brought us here. How much stronger a whole school can be. Work a teacher who wants to learn. It is so common sense and obvious—get rid of the fear. This is the most alive and connected we have been and it is the writing. This is what can make broad, sweeping change. It will happen automatically
Breeds community—opposite of the fear of typical prof dev

Lisa: Prof. dev. Our district curriculum mapping the way Janet Hale—waste of money. Need to establish that this is different. We have to give it a chance.

Charlene: Perhaps change the name of a workshop: “It is time to write”

Vicky: My team is great. Teachers are presenting to other teachers—it will be a team of teachers. We are writing—it is what we do here. Vicky will be

Annie: What do you know about the CC? What are your questions? What are your fears?

Amy: How to you empower

Annie: Talking point: A one-page sheet that explains some of the context of New York State—one page reader friendly… (This might be already available in

Jacqueline: Maybe message can be one of hope?

June 30, Day 3: Next Steps-
Denise: Proposes writing a letter to the NY Times from ESWPN. Op-Ed (750 words); Letter to Ed (150 words). Using wikispace as collaborative place. One place to start is with what Lynn has posted on the wikispace.

Prompt: Imagine in your school or district what would be a perfect response to the CC. If your district/school had a perfect response, what would it look like?

For teacher education, it is important that new teachers feel prepared and confident. They need practice examining student work and mapping it to the CC. This could be done via “backwards” design….examining student models of papers/products

They need to have some belief in the value of the CC… They also need to have an understanding of the skeptics-- They need to see that what they do in the classroom is critical, valuable.

I would love for my students to have more access to the TCs in our site, especially as it pertains to this work.
For our site, I am interested in seeing if the Content Area Study Team might become a Common Core Study Team… There is lots of room, also, to bring my own Secondary Ed Dept together around preparing teacher candidates for the CC.

We have room to build an administrator support group around the CC.

(Nicole)—Instead of being afraid of CC, we need to see where CC is already in our work, and how CC can enrich our work (though CC is not a lot). A lot of writing in my school can become very formulaic due to test prep; perhaps we can develop ways to support more authentic writing and more authentic voice.

Kathy: Must be proactive forums where agendas pairing English teacher with social studies/science teacher. One team meeting per week addressing CC. Forget about teachers doing lunch meetings. Can use this time analyzing student work. Separate session critiquing CC. Now is the time to Forge alliance with parents for their support. Study successful schools who already perform well. Fight for the best schools for our students and the best conditions for which our students will work. This is a time for the new 60s…

Jacqueline: District I work for is in serious trouble. Students at-risk for everything. Low parental support. If teachers were teaching to the standards, it would be 100 times better than now. Standards are an opportunity to support equity. Just using CC as an opportunity to create equity.

Danielle Sullivan: I like the student work as a powerful tool and the opportunity to talk with others about student work.

Lisa: What does it look like? I have no idea. I just got a job yesterday. Wrote a poem…
A precipice….

Annie: Op Ed There are 1000 of teachers around country doing excellent work;

Asia: Poem
Mary: Teacher Ed
Denise: Letter to Teachers from Administrators (Soundtrack: Let’s Stay Together)

Laura: Inservice on an ongoing basis—not one-and-done mentality. We need the community and collegiality.

Amy: Id gaps in instruction, conversation, about a unified, collaborative approach

Alaina: Reading CC with no fear…we value each other, we value learning, we value out students, unite around the standards, unite around authentic instruction, we will become agents of change…our students will become empowered.

Ann H. : A good place to start is with the TCs in each building; regualar meeting times for teachers to reflect on their practice. Start with Superint Conference Days for real conversation and sharing of ideas to start to build academic tone. See them as small groups—not in the auditorium. Good food and coffee. Manageable agenda. Teacher research group. Follow-up all year. This work shows how we are effective teachers. Show how we teach writing, not assign writing.

Summar: Where is my district with the CC? District seems protective of CC information. They want us to be in control of what we know. They don’t want us to be in control of what we know. Teachers need to be talked at less. Would like there to be more trust in us as teachers. We will have more buy in. There is a lot of isolation, fear, feeling threatened. We are supposed to have daily PLC meetings.

Charlene: Ongoing grade-level planning…(reads list of many ideas..)

Vicky: “When you invite people to think, you are inviting a revolution.” Writing would create a revolution in our district. Librarian could be How can reading and writing not just be taught be honored and celebrated.

Patty: Teachers must regularly engage in common conversation… Teachers teach teachers….
Lynn: I woke up feeling really good. I am no longer in denial and I can look things in the eye. The glass door opened and was that the presence of ….Charlie Chew…. If we don’t write, it is just another meeting… Allowing ambiguity. Realizing confusion is part of the process. I am in love with groups. It is always beautiful to see groups go through that.
Start with strengths and with what we know….
A small group of people can change the world—that is is the
The CC is for the children, the testing is not..
Our teachers are eager and willing to use the Common Core to improve curriculum.

Carol: The integrity of Charlie Chew... a gentleman

Danielle Brain: A perfect response is messy… Forward moving, forward thinking….If you stick to what is right, good, and true, you will be okay.

Dotty: Communication and ..

“This I Believe” is at Guilderland….
Idea: Could open parent session night with “Ten things I believe about education”

Meet in Site groups to develop Goals
  • Time line/Work Plan
  • List of things to share with ESWPN Network
  • What you need from other sources—including ESWPN