Yesterday I (Jeremy) had the pleasure of doing a PD session with the teachers from TL Handy Middle School in Bay City, Michigan. Yesterday we talked about summaries and why it is important for students to summarize. You can see the outline of their day on our Wikispace. Our day was spent using a process discussed in Jeff Wilhelm’s book he co-authored titled Get It Done called TDPP. We also discussed other ways students can summarize without writing a paragraph. Below is the general idea behind the TDPP process.
Summary paragraph coding for (TDPP):
– Introduce: Cite the (T)opic
– Describe: Key (D)etails that Support the Topic
– Explain: (P)attern of the details
– Draw conclusion: (P)oint made about the topic by the patterned details
I also shared with them how I use this process in my classroom in connection with the lessons and units that I shared Create, Compose, Connect by Troy and me. For example, the travelogues my students write and with Article of the Week were mentioned in our book.
One of the more difficult tasks I have to do when I am delivering professional development is making it relevant for all content areas. As we all know as educators, there is more of an importance placed on reading and writing in every class, not just English classes. It is our job as English teachers to reach across the aisle and help out other content areas when it comes to reading and writing strategies. In addition, though we grade our students on their ability to use transitions, spell correctly, and have correct sentence structure, other content area teachers may grade the writing their students do in their classrooms much differently. For instance, they may grade more for content or the correct use of certain vocabulary terms. Stressing the importance of good writing skills in every classroom is very important for our students to become successful writers. On the other hand, we should have our content area teachers focus on the basic writing skills that our students need to continue to practice instead of transition, using the correct adjectives, etc.
It isn’t an easy task to grade student writing or to teach them how to write well, but if we as English teachers are willing to help out other content area teachers and work together with them to make our students more successful, the rewards will be great!
I enjoyed my time with the Handy Middle School Staff. The staff was was engaged and created some great lessons to take into their classrooms this year. I look forward to going back later in the school year. They are teachers who care and want to make their students better.
If you are interested in having myself and Troy come to your school for PD, please feel free to contact us on Twitter or through our blog.
Have a great year everyone!