Learning From Each Other

Since the beginning of the FCPSon Journey for our school, we’ve shared that Learning Walks are one of the most transformative tools we’ve used.  Teachers visiting other teachers, regardless of the content area, leads to huge changes.  Our teachers have told us in survey after survey, meeting after meeting, that they want to learn from their colleagues.

Over the last month, we’ve expanded our learning walks to visit teachers in other schools.  First we visited another high school – remember this post about our visit to Lee HS?  We’ve recently been visiting our pyramid elementary and middle schools.  Our teachers are coming back inspired and excited about what they’re seeing.  Sometimes it’s a few teachers at a time, other times we take a large group.  Our in-house learning walks are done on planning periods or when a colleague or admin can pop in and cover for you.  These visits to other schools mean we need to use sub days.  Luckily, as part of FCPSon Phase One we have a number of sub days provided to encourage our teachers to learn from others.

Several English teachers visited Rocky Run MS English Teachers.

On Monday, before our big snowstorm, our Instructional Council walked over to Greenbrier West ES (just through our football field!) to visit and see what learning in K-6 classrooms looks like this year.

We have visits planned to other pyramid elementary schools in the coming weeks.  The lessons that HS teachers are taking from these visits are quite powerful!  Some of the comments I overheard during our latest visit were (paraphrased from my notes):

  • Wow! Kindergarteners have choice over where they sit – I guess there is no excuse for me to not give them choices in my class.
  • The routines and procedures are STRONG in these classes!  It’s evident kids know what to do and when.
  • I loved what the kids upstairs were doing with the tour of the Silk Road – my head is exploding with ideas for how I can use it.  I even got that teacher’s phone number so we can connect!
  • We saw all of the things here we’ve been looking for in our learning walks – engagement, meaningful activities and flexible space!
  • Teacher Space was something I noticed…teachers were everywhere in these classrooms, not in one corner.
  • Lots of happy and engaged students and teachers!
  • Noticed how students didn’t go straight to the teacher for help – they saw their fellow 1st graders as a source of help.
  • Teams plan together – you could see they were all doing something similar, but with their own twist for what their kids needed.  Every classroom was using the same idea but differently.
  • It’s not ok to say no to technology – this is what our kids need and expect.  It’s time to get on board.

We will head over to neighboring Loudoun County in the next couple weeks to visit with Math and English teachers to see how they are personalizing learning and using project based learning in core areas.

Some of my favorite moments are when teachers go visit schools and return to Chantilly, SO very excited to tell me about everything they saw and what they are going to change/add to their classroom from it.  I can’t wait to hear what everyone brings back from our next few visits!

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