Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Warning... #Slackers Ahead

Sometimes the words "Professional Development" can make you cringe -- especially when you mix those words with summer!  However, those were not the sentiments of the dual-language team in Northwest ISD.  This summer they decided to take on the challenge of meeting the needs of #EveryChildEveryDay by becoming #Slackers.  No, they did not wait until the last minute to start preparing for the upcoming school year.  Rather, they dove into intellectually collaborative conversations using a tool called Slack to discuss their practice of educating bilingual students, which worked to strengthen their professional learning community (PLC) across the district.

Slack is a collaborative messaging service that allows teams to meet virtually and gives teams the ability to share a variety of digital products in one online space. Teams can organize their discussions into both channels and threads to maintain productive conversations on a plethora of topics.

It all started when Señora Katia Ramón Pino had the idea to connect the dual-language teachers all across NISD. Understanding the importance of learning from one another through sharing personal experiences and the power to learn from literature, she began looking for the best avenue to virtually connect educators. While collaborating, initially she thought a Twitter chat would work best, but she wanted the conversation to feel more like a live discussion with the ability to share out any medium to express their thoughts. Eventually, she landed on Slack as the ideal platform to meet their needs because discussion questions could be posed and message threads could carry the conversations to deeper levels. Additionally, the ability to create new channels to focus learning was a priceless feature as this method of meeting is planned to continue throughout the entire school year.

Our district's frame of thinking is meeting the needs of #EveryChildEveryDay. This group of educators exemplifies this mantra as they are discussing with one another best practices to try with their students. At times, being a dual-language teacher can feel isolating as you are the only member of your grade-level team that does what you do. However, with the use of Slack to build and strengthen this PLC, the teachers are able to communicate and collaborate with one another to make every child successful. Slack helped meet the purpose of this PLC because teachers across the district feel empowered by their colleagues to continue being lifelong learners, both from one another and literature, to gain the knowledge of how to help their students grow.
There is definitely no room on this team for a slacker as everyone contributes their expertise and strengths. With all the prework these #Slackers did over the summer building the toolkits of one another, the possibilities are endless when it comes to trying new strategies with their students to help them be successful in their learning environment.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.