This posting is part of a series, aimed at sharing high-impact ideas and practices for consideration in relation to Collaborative Team Meetings.
A common refrain that we hear from schools is that once regular collaborative time is established (weekly or bi-weekly for teams), how can we ensure that the collaborative time for teams when NOT engaged in collaborative team meetings is as effective as the time when teams are engaged in collaborative team meetings? One idea to consider infusing into the collaborative team meeting is the determination of team tasks resulting from the student conversation.
Consider the following sample agenda for a 60 minute collaborative team meeting:
- 10 minutes – Review Norms and Student Celebrations
- 30 minutes – Discussion of Students related to the Primary Focus (a topic discussed in a previous posting)
- 10 minutes – Additional Student Discussion (potentially not connected to the Primary Focus)
- 10 minutes – Determine Team Task(s) and Closure
In this example, the Team Task(s) can be anything generated from the student conversation that could be attended to by the team in a subsequent collaborative time. Maybe we need to work to develop some consistent anchor charts in our classroom to describe the writing process that we noted many of our students discussed today are struggling with? Maybe we need a teacher to bring back a strategy or resource they utilize successfully to share with the team? Maybe we need to invite another teacher or support person to our next collaborative time to provide further support for us in an area we were struggling with today? Maybe we need to plan out how to group the students discussed today into some small intervention groups?
The following example shows how this can look in a team’s collaborative planning guide (a concept shared in another previous posting), identifying Team Tasks resulting from the student conversation.
A great example of this occurred in a meeting I had a chance to observe. At the end of the meeting, the grade two team determined two team tasks to take into their next collaborative time (they worked a cycle of meeting every two weeks, with one week being a student-focused collaborative team meeting involving administrator and a school-based Inclusive Education Coordinator, and the next being collaborative time for just the teachers to focus on instructional collaboration). During the meeting focused primarily on numeracy, they identified several students starting to explore multiplication at home but concerned that parents were only introducing the concept through flashcards and drill. The result was that the kids know 2 x 4 was 8 but didn’t understand why. They also noted that a number of students were having trouble with short-term memory retention – a concept taught one day and seemingly understood was gone by the next. There were multiple other students and key issues discussed during the remainder of the meeting.
At the end of the meeting, the teachers determined two Team Tasks to inform their next collaborative time together:
- Develop some home materials for parents that showed how to teach the concept of multiplication – if parents were going to help support, let’s help support them!
- The Inclusive Education Coordinator planned to join their team time to share some memory retention strategy resources that had been shared at a recent district meeting and explain how she had been taught to use them in the classroom.
Determining Team Tasks from the collaborative team meeting conversation can help to ensure that the subsequent collaborative time is focused and being directly influenced by the needs being identified during their student conversations. A powerful strategy to consider infusing into your own collaborative structures!