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Learning is everyone's job!

The Alabama Best Practices Center (ABPC) is a place where educators can turn for assistance, inspiration and information about teaching and student achievement.

Our purpose is to help teachers and administrators develop the competence, commitment, and courage to do whatever it takes to improve student learning.

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How Our High School Faculty Learned the Value of Instructional Rounds and Peer Observation
July 7, 2015
This fall, Lori Snell will become an assistant elementary school principal, leaving her role as Instructional Coach/Partner at Enterprise High School in the Enterprise (AL) City Schools.

A 15-year veteran educator, Lori shared this coaching reflection with colleagues in the Instructional Partners Network online community in late May. It's clear from her story that the time and effort put into trust-building reaps huge dividends!

 
by Lori Snell
 
I have been putting this off for a while, but I know it needs to be done. I have enjoyed reading everyone's reflection about their year. My reflection comes with joy and sadness as I close out this chapter of my career.
 
I would like to use a timeline to describe how much our faculty has grown this year. I am so proud of them and the strides we have taken.
 
First 9 Weeks
 
We began this year by implementing instructional rounds for the first time. My faculty of almost 140 was distraught and confused to say the least. The consensus was that teachers were coming in to evaluate other teachers and grade their performance.
 
The purpose of our rounds was to consider student engagement, and we stressed the importance of focusing on the students and not the teachers. We ended our first nine weeks with teachers creating affinity maps that displayed categories describing the kind of student engagement they saw in the classroom.
 
There was a feeling of relief among the 30 teachers that were able to participate, and our hope was that the positive experience they had would spread to others members of the faculty by word of mouth.Read More
 
REVIEW: An Excellent Guide When You're Ready to Address Problems of Instructional Practice
June 30, 2015
by Cathy Gassenheimer
 
If you or your school has embraced Instructional Rounds, here’s a book for you. Titled Opening Doors to Equity: A Practical Guide to Observation-Based Professional Learning, this book provides a format for schools to adapt Instructional Rounds for a grade-level, subject area, or even for inter-school collaboration.
 
As Lois Brown Easton suggests in the foreword, this book is “oriented toward implementation.”
 
The author, Tonya Ward Singer, is a professional learning expert with experience as a classroom teacher, reading teacher and ELL specialist. Her passion for ensuring that all students receive a top-notch education led her to write this book:
 
“What drives me is the belief that every child, regardless of family income, ethnicity, or home language, deserves to graduate from high school with choices and opportunity. This vision has led me to ask tough questions and continuously evolve based on the answers I find.” (p. 2)
 
And, Singer’s answers constitute the content of this very resource-laden and useful book!Read More
 
WATWOOD ELEMENTARY: Targeting Learning, One to One!
June 26, 2015
by Susan Ogle
Instructional Partner
A.H. Watwood Elementary
Talladega County Schools
 
We have so much to be proud of at A. H. Watwood Elementary this school year!! We went 1:1 with iPads, started AMSTI math in all grade levels, had Project Based Learning in all grade levels, and became a TLIM Lighthouse School! (Here's our Facebook post.)


 
On top of that, we really focused on aligning our goals from the school level all the way down to the student level. We tracked school, grade level, classroom, and student data in various ways. Students owned their individual goals (that contributed to the attainment of school wide goals) by writing and tracking them in their Leadership Notebooks.
 
As a faculty, we also grew in our knowledge of daily learning targets (in the form of I Can statements), checks for understanding, and formative assessment. Teachers collaborated to plan and implement at least two PBL projects in each grade this year. They had authentic audiences and real world problems to solve. It was amazing to see the students truly being "Leaders of Their Own Learning!"Read More
 
 
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