This winter, our team has been busy supporting teachers and students across the globe! Check out our highlights from projects in New York, China, and Singapore, see how you can join us for customized PD this spring, and reach out to us if your school needs support.
Generating performance art
How many ways can a reader highlight a text? When reading with Literacy Unbound, the answer might surprise you. It certainly surprised the teachers and students at Singapore American School who participated a series of CPET-facilitated workshops last month.
Literacy Unbound is a CPET initiative that seeks to help teachers bring the arts into their classrooms in order to help their students dig into challenging texts. For the past four years, the initiative has hosted two-week summer institutes at Teachers College in which a dozen teachers and dozen students come together as company of theatrical players who rapidly generate a piece of performance art inspired by a novel. In both 2016 and 2017, teachers and students traveled from Singapore to participate in the summer institute, and in January 2018, they brought Literacy Unbound to Singapore. For one week, middle and high school teachers and students became “players” who, through a variety of drama structures, delved into the short but rich text of “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid.
Many of these players were particularly taken by a series of activities that asked them to highlight the text in four distinct ways. First, players highlighted with their eyes, the traditional way, by reading silently and using a marker to highlight meaningful passages on the page. Next, players highlighted with their ears as they listened to a recording of Jamaica Kincaid reading the piece and took note of the words and turns of phrase that rang and lingered in their ears. In the third reading, the players highlighted with their voices; as their CPET facilitator read the piece aloud, players joined in, speaking aloud only the words that each of them marked on their pages, thus composing something of a choral reading. Finally, the players highlighted with their bodies. After mining the text for evocative verbs, players created stylized, repeatable actions and sounds that, when layer on to each other, form a cacophonous “machine” that expressed an understanding of the piece. This four-phase highlighting offers the players multiple readings of the text and multiple entry points into it, both of which are hallmarks of Literacy Unbound’s approach.
Next up for Literacy Unbound: the 2018 summer institute in which the players will take on Upton Sinclair’s famous The Jungle.
Empowering school leaders
This spring, we’ve partnered with New Visions for a series of custom-designed, monthly workshop sessions for all of the Bronx, Queens and District 28 New Visions schools. The series is designed to support all assistant principals and literacy teachers in deepening their understanding of how to teach students the stages of the writing process and to empower the school leaders to design writing initiatives in their own schools.
CPET is responding to the district’s concerns that in order to be college ready, students need to have excellent writing and communication skills. The district leaders recognize that schools need outstanding administrators who understand the importance of writing as an invaluable tool for learning and a crucial skill for success in college and beyond. This series of workshops delve into writing across disciplines for college readiness, and includes writing theory, practice, and contextualized implementation.
Participants also develop their lenses for classroom observations and effective approaches to offering teachers feedback. During each session participants have the opportunity to:
• Explore research-based theory on stages of the writing process
• Strategically plan to implement writing practices across disciplines at their own schools with customized support
• Experience specific teaching writing strategies
• Develop discipline specific strategies
We are excited to continue the series with these wonderful educators and to support their development as literacy leaders and empower them to cultivate college ready writers in their schools.
Supporting K-12 teachers
Workshop series at CPET continue to be a strong, foundational focus for our facilitators. Uniquely crafted and truly customized, our Fall workshop series offered workshops to support bilingual education, co-teaching, literacy K-12, Math 6-12, early career teachers, social-emotional structures, and special education.
All of our workshop series are designed with time for critical reflection, planning and practice, and an exploration into pertinent research; workshop participants receive up to 18 CTLE credits upon completion.
We are excited to offer the following workshop this spring:
• Ed-Neuro: Neuroscience of learning for HS Science teachers
• Engaging Students in Learning for HS Teachers
• Exhibiting Social Studies: for K-12 Social Studies/History teachers
• Guided Reading: Grounding our principles and practice for K-5 teachers
• Keep the Kids Talking: Spring Edition for MS & HS teachers
• Surviving the Spring Semester: Supporting early career teachers
Registration for these sessions will be closing soon - learn more & register before it’s too late!
Leveraging technology for international PD
We began an exciting partnership this year with You Xi in Shanghai, China. Leveraging technology as a means of providing high quality professional development to teachers 13 hours ahead and 7,300-plus miles from Teachers College, CPET launched live, online workshops customized for specific groupings of teachers: Primary and Secondary English Language and Primary and Secondary Science teachers.
From working in small groups, deepening discussions, and teaching with the arts to creatively designing rigorous projects and assessments, each workshop included:
• A focus on instructional strategies relevant to the grade level and content area(s) of the participants
• Examples of practical skills teachers can use in the classroom integrated into each workshop; and
• Tools to support 21st century practices with the resources available
Our work with You Xi is an example of how our professional development is designed in partnership, with the unique needs and context of teachers at the forefront of planning, resulting in truly customized instruction for educators from New York City to halfway around the globe!
Engaging in the power of project-based learning
In January, we invited teachers across the city to the second annual Big Learning Challenge: a conference that focuses on the power of project-based learning. Participants previewed innovative workshops, practiced new instructional strategies, and made connections with other teachers by creating original projects, reflecting on their project-making process, and applying it to their own classroom setting. In the afternoon, teachers shared their original project creations in a gallery walk.
Dramatic presentations and performances teachers presented original poetry, spoken word, and remixed literature. Modeling in Mathematics joined Scientific Experiments where mathematicians and scientists collaborated in building model bridges and articulated their design process in a written technical report. Mini-movie makers produced short films using a widely available free app. Themes included reconciliation, beauty, and grief. Narrative storytelling created original stories, in the form of performance, visual art, or podcast, each told from the perspective of a bridge. Publishing student writing teachers developed original pieces initiated by their own curiosity and inspired by sharing with an authentic audience. Visual and creative arts participants created mixed media posters through a reflection and future-planning process.
How many teachers regularly communicate with parents? According to one study, not enough. Research found that, despite an increase in email communications from schools to parents from 2002 to 2012, the number of parents receiving a school iniaited phone call decreased from 2002 to 2012, as did parent satification with parent-school staff interactions.
How can you increase your communication with parents? Download our free resource to identify what might be preventing communication, and specific steps you can take to get back on track.