Workshop 5 - Microsoft - Partners in Learning Toolkit

Workshop 5:
Sharing Ideas
All teachers and any
included stakeholders
Innovative case study
template I
Prerequisites for this Workshop
From the introduction workshop – key features of this workshop such as
the ‘Parts’, ‘Suggested Agenda’ and ‘Overview’ are described in the
introduction to the workshops which is a general guide to the workshop
From workshops 2 and 3 – your school’s vision; set out using the REORDER
From workshop 4 – each person invited to this workshop should have their
idea for a project ready to share. You will also need the ‘capacity ladders’ for
each of the school’s core aims.
From the toolkit resources – knowledge of the document titled
‘Professional Learning Community – A brief Guide’.
Workshop 5 of 8:
Sharing Ideas
• There are eight broad
workshops in the
Innovative Schools
• Each workshop
provides ideas,
activities, links to
other resources,
strategies and
• Please use the
resources and
PowerPoint called
‘Introduction to the
IST workshop series’
for detailed guidance
on the workshops.
• Consider your local
context to select the
most appropriate
strategies offered in
these workshops.
This workshop aims to provide teachers with:
• Good ideas, in line with the school vision and core aims.
• The opportunity to collaborate with other teachers towards similar
• A clear and shared focus on improving learner competencies.
At the end of this workshop everyone will have formed small,
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) focussed on achieving similar
outcomes for their learners using ideas they have gained.
5. Sharing Ideas
Guiding Questions
How are teachers collaborating
across departments and year
What are the barriers to greater
teacher collaboration?
How can teachers and learners
work together on projects to move
forward the core aims of the
How do you capture good ideas
and make sure that they spread
across the school to fuel further
Progression in how to share ideas
Ubiquitous - continuous. Given the best ideas come at the strangest times:
• The school has ways of ensuring that good ideas are regularly captured and shared through their networks.
• Online environments used proactively to make sharing and grouping around common goals a continuous process.
• Teacher work in a range of PLCs each year including with learners, parents, companies or community leaders.
Integrated – each PLC recruits learners as advisors to help achieve their shared aim
• PLC members have ownership and passion for their ideas and the collective focus their PLC is working on.
• PLC teams regularly contain learners as active participants who may be ‘recruited’ for specialist knowledge.
• PLC teams are focussed on positively improving outcomes for learners in line with the core aims of the school.
Defined - the workshop results in PLCs forming around good ideas
• Teams and PLCs form around improving learner outcomes so people work cross department, cross discipline etc.
• All PLC members are pursuing their own ideas but within the framework provided by the capacity ladders.
• PLC teams have protocols to ensure they remain positive, constructive, trusted and with focussed outcomes.
Developing – in the workshop, ideas for improving the whole school core aims are
• All take away an idea that they plan to try out in their own context over the next ten weeks.
• Most sustain a PLC team. Time or other allowance may be provided to develop this practice further.
• Many teachers work on common projects that have been developed without their direct involvement.
Aware - the workshop is used as a space for existing teams to share ideas
• Sharing ideas with colleagues teaching the same age or subject area is valued and done regularly.
• Most ongoing support over the year is conducted informally and not through PLCs.
Suggested Workshop Structure
Suggested Approaches
Part 1 Set clear expectations
Copies of vision narratives
(workshop 3)
Part 2 Rapidly share lots of
ideas - ‘speed dating’ task
Part 3 Rapidly share lots of
ideas - ladder posters idea
Reading - the three or four staff ‘capacity
ladders’ are circulated, re-read and time is spent
digesting the contents.
Copies of ‘capacity ladders’
(workshop 2)
Senior team reiterate expectations
Speed dating – share ideas from homework
Staff separate into groups of four, focussing on a
separate ‘capacity ladder’. They have two minutes
to explain their idea for a project then rotate –
like speed dating !. The ‘best ideas’ are fed back
to the whole group and posted up to be read.
Area or table for each core
aim, with a flip chart or
posting area
Poster idea – lots of ideas each on post-it
Individuals post ideas on large poster sized
‘capacity ladders’ then use stickers or pen marks
to identify the ideas that they found most useful.
Large poster or wall for
each core aim ‘capacity
Post-it notes
Post-it notes
Small stickers / marker
Part 4 Agree how to structure
Professional Learning
Communities (PLCs)
Part 5 Deliverable – Innovative
case study template I
Presentation and debate – presenting the case
for PLCs
This section is loosely defined because of the
wide variation in the way schools are structured
Background reading
Deliverable – Complete Case Study
Use template provided
Innovative Case Study
Links to current practice
Part 1. Set clear expectations
By the end of this workshop all participants will:
• Have an idea for a project that they will action immediately with some of their
learners. This idea will either be:
• The idea they prepared for homework and are ready to share
• A modification of their idea, changed as a result of the workshop task
• A new idea they have picked up from someone else in the workshop.
• Be in a Professional Learning Community (PLC). This PLC will:
• Be made up of their colleagues and perhaps other members
• Be focussed on improving one of the three whole school core aims.
• Exact expectations for the projects were set in the last workshop.
• Exact expectations and the PLCs’ meeting frequencies will be decided by the teams
in the next workshop.
End of Part 1. Preparation task for the
Read through the three or four ‘capacity ladders’ that you and your
colleagues produced in the workshop 4.
Read the ‘vision narrative’ produced in workshop 3.
Read through the idea you prepared for homework and are about to share
with others. Any last thoughts?
• Which core aim will your idea help to improve?
• Which ‘capacity ladder’ do you recommend it is used for?
• Which ‘rung’ on this ladder does it fit best? Can it be modified and
used for others?
• Are there any subject specific references in your idea which may
require other examples when sharing with teachers from different
subjects or grades?
Part 2. Rapidly share lots of ideas –
the ‘speed dating’ activity
The aim of this activity: To develop an idea that can be put in to practice
tomorrow and run for ten weeks. The idea will focus on helping a group of
your learners make progress towards one of the school’s core aims.
Getting into groups: A [table/room/corner] has been clearly labeled for each
of the core aims. You will be sharing your idea with those who chose the
same core aim as you so go to the relevant [table/room/corner], arrange
yourselves in teams of four and sit down.
Labeling the people in your group: The first person to sit down in your team
is ‘person A’. Moving clockwise from ‘person A’, label the others ‘person B’,
‘person C’ and ‘person D’. If you have more than four people then break into
smaller groups (avoid groups of 2 or 5).
Your team is now ready to start the task.
The ‘speed dating’ activity
Start the stop clock and give ‘person A’ two minutes to share their idea with
their group. Ask them to include:
– An outline of their idea (one minute)
– Which group of learners they would use it with
– Which ‘rung’ on the ‘capacity ladder’ it fits best with
– Why they believe it will help the school move forward in this core aim.
Now ask ‘person B’ to do the same – after eight minutes everyone will have
shared ideas.
Next, still in your groups, debate the idea you liked best for a further five
minutes and write this up as the ‘best idea’ on a flip chart.
Four ‘person A’s’ form a new group, as do four ‘person B’s’ etc. and the
process repeats.
At the end of the process the ‘best ideas’ are shared by their author who
presents to the whole group.
End of Part 2. Sharing examples of ‘best ideas’
Some excellent ideas for each core aim include:
For [core aim 1]:
1. [idea 1]
2. [idea 2]
For [core aim 2]:
1. [Idea 1]
2. [Idea 2]
For core aim 3]:
1. [Idea 1]
2. [Idea 2]
Large scale ideas that are likely to advance two or more core aims:
1. [idea 1]
2. [idea 2]
Part 3. Rapidly share lots of ideas –
ladder posters idea
The Posters: You will see three large posters, one for each of the core aims
‘capacity ladders’. Each poster has clearly marked boxes for each of the nine
‘rungs’ on the ‘capacity ladders’.
The Post-its: Write an idea for a project onto a post-it and stick it to the
correct core aim ‘capacity ladder’ at the relevant ‘rung’. Keep adding post-it
notes until the facilitator closes the task.
The stickers: You will be given five stickers. Read through the ideas that
other people have posted on each ladder and use your stickers to vote for
the ones you are most likely to use with your own learners. You can put all
your stickers on one idea or spread them around but you cannot vote for
your own idea.
Extensions and suggestions for the poster
A large flip chart or non-electronic
whiteboard can be used for each
‘capacity ladder’ poster.
Similar ideas can be grouped
together over a coffee break then
presented to the whole group with
invitations from those who wrote the
post-its to clarify the projects.
People can debate and agree
collectively which projects would
naturally fit together.
Learners can easily be engaged in this
activity, either as participants or in a
parallel event.
Electronic bulletin boards and Twitter
can be used to draw in wider groups.
End of Part 3. Choose an idea
Each participant must now decide on just one idea that they will start
tomorrow and end in ten weeks’ time.
All participants should now write a note stating:
• An outline of the idea
• The core aim their project is focused on
• The ladder ‘rung’ their project is focused on
• The group of learners they will be working with.
Part 4. Agree how the school should structure its
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
Schools are structured very differently - some of the most effective schools have
teachers working permanently in teams, in large open spaces, allowing learners
to move between them. Others still have each teacher working largely in
professional isolation in a classroom.
The following slides provide:
• Evidence for why PLCs are effective
• Ideas for how to structure PLCs
• Questions to debate and discuss.
Why a PLC maximises innovative practices
A PLC is a ‘teacher network’ set up as a formal mentoring structure in which
teams collectively research how to practically improve outcomes for learners
that they teach. Such work can be used as part of formal qualification systems
in most developed countries.
Mean difference, innovative
teaching practices
Qualification Conference Classroom
or Seminar observation
SOURCE: ITL Research Pilot Year Report, October 2010
What makes an effective PLC?
PLCs are most effective when:
The whole team works towards a common purpose (core aim).
The team meet regularly.
The meetings remain focused on improving learner outcomes.
Problems are not raised unless there are suggested solutions.
Learners are frequently invited in to meetings, either as experts or as
permanent members.
The level of trust in the group is sufficient for them to provide honest
feedback, reflection and supportive criticism.
The team has a communication link to a senior member of staff.
Successes of the team are recognized by colleagues.
An example structure for a PLC
Teams of four are particularly effective but other sizes, structures and mixtures
of individuals can work well; as long as the conditions for effective PLCs are
Professional Learning Community
Researcher or
Researcher or
group lead
Class of
Class of
Class of
Project 1
Project 2
Project 3
Learner running
peer class
Class of
Project 4
How individual staff are supported in PLCs
Input: A goal the innovator is trying to achieve, a problem
they are trying to solve or an objective from the ‘capacity
Process: Creativity, ideas, discussion, research,
inviting feedback, failure, reflection, calculated
risk taking, experimentation, determination,
open mindedness.
Outcomes: Develop objective success criteria.
How individual staff are supported in PLCs
Shared aims: Greater benefits
felt when the team are working
towards similar goals.
Ideas and support: Risk can
be shared, ideas discussed,
resilience enhanced and learning
Objective feedback and
evaluation: If the innovation
has worked they can test it in
other contexts. Process is more
honest and open within a trusted
A suggestion for creating your PLC
In the ideas ‘speed dating’ session earlier in the workshop, the ‘best ideas’
were written onto a flip chart poster.
Ask staff to write their names underneath these top ideas if they either wish
to use the idea themselves, or feel that the idea they will be implementing is
similar and supportive.
Continue this process until there are at least three names under each idea.
Those ideas with less than three are removed and staff move their names
under other ideas.
Ideas with more than seven members are split into at least two groups.
Teams then meet to firm up their projects, membership and expected
meeting frequency.
Further guidance on constructing PLCs
1. Provide the document titled; ‘Professional Learning Communities (PLC): A
Brief Guide’ as background reading.
2. Conduct the SRI research to gain insight into current teacher practice and
collaborative focus on outcomes
3. Explore the work by Michael Fullan on shared purpose and collective
working – this can be found in the IS toolkit.
4. Explore the peer coaching materials.
5. Look at the ‘Microsoft Peer Coaching Curriculum’ for:
– Training as effective teams; and
– Sharing expertise between your PLCs.
End of Part 4. Organising into PLCs
Each participant in this workshop:
• Has shared ideas for projects
• Is planning to start their project very soon
• Has discussed the idea of PLCs
• Has a core aim they will be working on.
How you now organise into PLCs depends on the school but let us know what
you decided.
Part 5. Deliverable – Innovative
case study template I
Use the innovation case study template provided to summarize your school’s
key innovations
© 2011 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Microsoft, Windows, Windows Vista and other product names are or may be registered trademarks and/or trademarks in the U.S. and/or other countries.
The information herein is for informational purposes only and represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation as of the date of this presentation. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market
conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft, and Microsoft cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information provided after the date of this presentation.

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