Live Tweeting from LF 2018: Jim Knight, Athens City and Other Highlights

This week ABPC’s Cathy Gassenheimer (@cathygassenheim) tweeted live from the Learning Forward Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas. We’ve been curating some of Cathy’s tweets, along with tweets from Alabama educators (and some others) who attended the nation’s premiere professional learning annual event. In this post, we share some final highlights!

Jim Knight at Learning Forward

The research and wisdom of international professional learning thought leader Jim Knight (Unmistakable Impact) has hugely influenced ABPC’s work with Instructional Partners. Lots of Alabama folks attended Knight’s two-hour session, which had the simple but profound title “Coaching Teams.” Here’s the description at the Learning Forward conference website:

Participants in this session will learn how to coach teams in two areas: how to work together effectively as a team (i.e., establishing team norms, developing strategies for improving team communication, and monitoring team effectiveness), and how to use protocols for learning, including using video to learn a teaching strategy, analyze a lesson, focus on a theme, develop checklists or a playbook, or collaboratively problem solve.

In typical, helpful Jim Knight style, there was an excellent 62-page workshop resource. You can download it here!

During his presentation, Knight highlighted the work of ABPC consultant Jackie Walsh around Quality Questioning. Knight and Walsh are fellow authors at Corwin Press.

Jackie Flowers, director of professional learning in the Florence City Schools, was acknowledged for being one of the Top Five tweeters (and therefore sharers of news and knowledge) at the Learning Forward gathering.

Quality Questioning in the Athens City Schools

As many educators in the ABPC learning networks know, some remarkable work is going on in the Athens City Schools in the areas of teacher partnerships and student empowerment using quality questioning strategies.

Attendees at Learning Forward had the opportunity to find out more about the Athens initiatives at a session led by ACS Professional Learning Specialist Alyson Carpenter, and Anna Underwood, Instructional Partner at Athens Elementary. They were joined by consultant Jackie Walsh who has supported ACS’s work with questioning. Here’s how the LF program described their session, titled “Changing Patterns of Student Participation: A Partnership Approach.”

How can teachers change traditional patterns of classroom talk to increase dialogue with and among students –and use the same strategies to enhance conversations in professional learning teams? Explore how teachers in one school capitalized on strong internal and external partnerships to transform both classroom and professional interactions by moving to learning-focused dialogue. Investigate protocols and tech-supported strategies, including video coaching; take away tools and videotaped examples in QR codes.

Alyson Carpenter: “Since we didn’t have teachers with us at the conference, we brought them into the room virtually and participants were able to interact with them using Flipgrid. In the videos we shared, you’ll see Kate Armstrong (1st Grade), Sue Noah (Kindergarten), and Lisa Gill (3rd Grade).”

“Links shared at our presentation:

  1. The Power of belonging to a PLT
  2. Teacher tools for making QQ work with little learners:
  3. Video reflection with two teachers talking about QQ implementation.

Other Highlights from Learning Forward

Cathy soaked up more knowledge and (no doubt) some a-ha moments at other Learning Forward sessions. Here are few highlights.

The Broad Center specializes in leadership development for the management of K-12 public school systems, with a particular focus on urban schools. Cathy attended the session “Linking Leadership Learning to Impacts on Organizational Change.” The Center’s staff shared what the organization has learned about school system leadership competencies, including its research-based leadership framework. Learn more about its Academy and Fellowship programs.

Antonetti and Stice. Cathy was eager to participate in the session featuring Jim Antonetti and Terri Stice, authors of this year’s Powerful Conversations Network study book, Powerful Task Design. She told me after the session that “what they had to say was illuminating! They really brought their book to life through their lively presentation and a rich discussion with the audience. I’m already strategizing about ways to bring them to some of our Alabama network meetings using a live internet platform.” (Note that Cathy’s recent vacation in Italy didn’t improve her spelling of Italian names.)

Cathy got caught up in the session and didn’t do much more tweeting. Fortunately, Alyson Carpenter was there and filled us in.

Learning Forward executive director Stephanie Hirsh, who assumed the leadership mantle when long-time leader Dennis Sparks retired in 2007, announced her own retirement this year. She led the organization with great intelligence and vision through its transition from the “National Staff Development Council” to its forward-looking 21st century identity.

NEXT WEEK, watch for Cathy’s reflection on one of the most memorable presentations at Learning Forward 2018 – the keynote address by author, teacher, and leader Margaret Wheatley, titled “Claiming Leadership as a Noble Role.”