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COHORT CORNER
D.C. REGION PILOT COHORT / AUGUST 22, 2011
For those of you who are receiving schedule changes, please send your most updated teaching schedule and include the following information: school name, principal name/ email, and the room #s youll be teaching in throughout the day. Im looking forward to seeing you all in action in the coming days and weeks!

Issue # 2

Action Items
PLEASE SEND YOUR UPDATED TEACHING SCHEDULE

Announcements











COHORT MEETING What: During this meeting, well work together to dene what we consider to be transformational teaching,generate the topics well be focusing on together as a cohort during professional development, and share ideas for what professional development will look like. When: Sunday, August 28th from 5-7:30pm Where: 9th oor, TFA Ofce: 1411 K St NW. Pizza will be provided! UPCOMING PDS What: Stay tuned for logistical updates in TAL mail!
When: Saturday, September 10th Where: Gallaudet University

Staying Grounded in What Matters


During the start of my 2nd year, I was feeling weighed down by questionsabout myself, my school context, and whether I was up for the challenge that Id set for myself and my students. Instead of staying grounded in what matters most, I fell into some regrettable traps. I became more concerned that my packets were meticulously formatted and my systems were perfect than whether or not what I was doing at the daily level was connected to something bigger. Uncomfortable in my role as a new teacher, I turned a blind eye to school gossip, rather than speaking out when I knew it was harming our work environment. Frustrated by the early challenges that I experienced in the classroom, I felt tempted to fall back on old habits rather than raising the bar for myself and my students. What Ive been most inspired by in these past several weeks is evidence at the cohort level that many of you are making efforts to stay grounded in the heart of your vision and our work. Here are three concrete examples of what I mean: --Why at the Daily/Unit Level: Ive seen CMs write vision objectives into their unit plans or work to build culture/character standards into their curriculum to ensure they (and their students) remain grounded in the why behind the content theyre teaching. Even when theyre introducing procedures or rules, theyre providing clear rationale and making constant connections between what they are teaching and the values they want to help kids internalize. --Building Allies at the School Level: Even though some CMs experienced frustrating experiences at the school level in year1, several in our cohort have taken the time to share the visions they spent time crafting over the summer with key gures at the school level. By doing so, they have warmed icy co-teaching situations, inspired administrators to push through school-wide initiatives, and opened themselves to honest conversations with others about the expectations that schools and teachers should be setting for kids. --Willingness to Fail Fast: Even on day 1, Ive seen teachers push themselves to try new things and elevate their practice, whether that means engaging in honest conversations with students about the achievement gap, reaching out to all 90 of their students parents before day 1, or passing the reins along to students by helping them to take ownership over a set of newly introduced class procedures. Not all of these efforts have gone perfectly, but what Ive been inspired by is these teachers willingness to push themselves at the edge of their comfort zone in service of their visioneven if that means they make mistakes along the way. As we get into the school year, I want to celebrate the efforts youre taking to stay grounded in what matters, encourage you to wrestle with the doubts and questions that will inevitably arise, and push each other to stay true to the visions youve set for the year.Youve already done great thinking and planningits now about putting those ideas into practice in a way that truly matters for our students.

Resource Spotlight

























SHARING YOUR VISION (UPPER ELEMENTARY/SECONDARY EXAMPLES) See how Gillon Crichton plans to share his vision with his students and watch videos of how others have done so before ACHIEVEMENT NETWORKS VIDEO LIBRARY Check out Achievement Firsts full video library of professional development clips and learn from some master teachers at work. You can access the library at this link and by inputting the login afvideos and password respect. HABITS OF DISCUSSION Want to spark some meaningful conversation but need ideas for how to teach your students how to engage in them? Check out Amy Filsingers Accountable Talk packet which is loaded with strategies for building habits of discussion in your students. if you want to see how someone sets clear expectations for meaningful conversations, watch these TFAnet videos on book clubs, facilitating Socratic discussions, or social (discussion) skills in elementary contexts. FAMILY ENGAGEMENT RESOURCES Looking for some good ideas for parent and family engagement? Check out Julia Sadowskys packet and unit plan for families or CJ Libassis Parent Newsletter CLASS CULTURE RESOURCES Check out the following strong examples of how teachers in our cohort are building culture topics and objectives into their long-term and unit plans to ensure theyre reinforcing key mindsets, habits, and traits that will set their kids up for long-term success.
*Strong ECE LTP and Unit Plan Example #1
*Strong ECE LTP Example #2
*Strong secondary LTP Example *Second Steps K-5 scope and sequence

Team Shout Outs


Beth and Indira for all the work theyve done for August Sessions!--Meredith Ackerman & Abby Wihl Anne Marie Norgren: for sharing her vision with her administration and inspiring them to fund a 3-day college trip for all 100 of her students!--Joaquin Debbie Sim: for organizing sessions and providing resources for the 2011 Prince Georges County CMs!--Anne Marie Norgren Meredith Ackerman: for an incredibly helpful gesture...knowing that Indira and I had an early morning at Gallaudet as SPSs, Meredith brought us some delicious iced coffee. She is a precious gem!--Beth Dukes Molly France: for hosting the potluck dinner! Hopefully there will be more to come :)-- Staci Holthus & Chelsea Kirk Gillon Crichton: for having such high expectations for his students and inspiring me to push my own classroom vision.--Clair Briggs Jordan Bock: you are a LIFESAVER at helping with the mentor program - whether it was passing out yers to the 2011s, helping match mentors/mentees, or helping to email everyone, you have literally been amazing and I dont know what Id do without you.Youre the best!--Kelly Gleischman Megan Gilbert: for really pushing me in how I think about my assessments and for helping me feel like Im not losing my mind these pas few weeks!--Molly France Shajena Erazo: for teaching me how good co-planning works and explaining that tension is good...deep--Chelsea Kirk Eliza Varner: for tackling her new grade and her new school with tons of enthusiasm and excitement.You are going to have a wonderful year with your high school students!--Jordan Bock Meredith Ackerman: for making delicious watermelon salad!--Chelsea Kirk Hillary Coleman: for totally emailing me out of the blue an idea that she had for my vision. So awesome!--Indira Cruz Beth Dukes for holding a great science resource exchange at her house!--Gillon Crichton

Shajena Erazo -for providing some serious cohort spirit at Round 0 and the rst cool icebreaker Ive ever been a part of--CJ Libassi Maria Roth, Megan Gilbert, Molly France, and Campbell Glenn: for their inspiring efforts to build culture at all levels of their planning--from the long-term to unit levels. As with content standards, theyve carefully spiraled culture learning goals in a logical sequence and have been intentional about how they want to introduce important social and life skills at the lesson level. Im excited to see how their careful planning helps foster the culture and habits they want to see in their students. Check out their planning folders in our cohort Dropbox to see what I mean!--Joaquin Clair Briggs: for drafting a proposal and hosting a meeting with her administration where she successfully convinced them to support her vision to encourage all students to take the SAT II Biology exam.--Joaquin Julia Sadowsky: for her incredible outreach to parents and families: from parent surveys to a parent-friendly unit plan loaded with tips parents can use to reinforce their childs learning. Check out her recent family packet to see a bit of what I mean!--Joaquin Kelly Gleischman -for creating such a great mentorship program!--Alex Krupp All the girls in the cohort -for not shunning me as the only guy at Round 0. --CJ Libassi Molly France: for all that she did for our session a few Saturdays ago for the 2011s. Thanks :)--Megan Gilbert Abby Wihl: for sharing resources and taking the time to wake up early and explain how to use the resources. Thanks!--Indira Cruz Meredith Ackerman: for holding herself accountable to living her vision out at the unit level by including vision objectives that map up with her content objectives. By doing so, she is ensuring that she remains grounded in the why behind every lesson and doesnt lose sight of what is most important.--Joaquin Gillon Crichton: for joining elementary and ECE CMs at a home visit training hosted by the Flamboyan Foundation to expand his repertoire of strategies for parent and family engagement. Im excited to see how his

Most Viewed Videos of the Month


1.
S p a n i s h Pa re n t N i g h t
(Secondary)

2. Gillon Shares his Vision 3. Building Relationships with


Students (MS SPED-Meg Stewart)

4. 100 Percent (TLAC resource) 5.


No Wa rnings (TLAC
resource)

6. DiCo and the Debate Team 7. Big Goals Assembly with


Oscar Perez (HS ELA)

8.

Do Not Eng a ge (TLAC

resource)

9. Rigor in 6th Grade Science 10.


Building Relationships with Students (Secondary)