Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Our Quest Toward Great Work

3 Kinds of Work
A reflection after attending WSRA’s Mary Howard Leadership
In the spirit of "prayer cards" & trying not to harbor "lost learning."  Thanks to @HowePrincipal and @LauraKomos for helping us realize that we were engaging in some lost learning.

Three Kinds of Work
1.                Bad Work
2.                Good Work
3.                Great Work
In short, bad work is the aimless, mindless, pointless practice and tasks we want to eliminate.  Good work is effective in moving students forward and therefore we should celebrate it.  However, it is great work that we want to expand.  This is the work that is meaningful to you, that has an impact and makes a difference.  It inspires, stretches, and provokes.  Great work is the work that matters. It’s characterized by high quality texts as a central learning tool + Independent reading as a vital literacy component +  deeper levels of pleasurable and thoughtful literacy +high-quality student talk designed to heighten learning + Written tools to support and extend learning over time+ Explicit instruction to promote proficient reader strategies+ Emphasis on a gradual release of responsibility model (I do; We do; You do).
How to turn good work  into great work?  Mary presented the following sample chart.  You may put your instructional blocks or techniques that you wish to reflect on in the left column.  On your own or collaboratively, fill out the chart. 

Bad work (aimless, mindless, pointless)
Good Work (what can we celebrate)
Great Work (What can we accommodate)
Guided Reading

Shared Reading

Word Work

Ongoing Assessments

After filling out the chart, review it and think about what can be eliminated.  Mary suggests eliminating game day, one size fits all activities, crossword puzzles- worksheets- search and find, too hard text, Round Robin reading .  Secondly, choose one (she stresses, just one!) area of high priority to focus on shifting your practices to great work.  Design a plan to infuse more great work in that one particular area. 
In a nutshell, avoid bad work by asking yourself ,“Will this make kids’ learning more meaningful, purposeful, authentic, and enthusiastic?”

We look forward to the discussions that this activity will bring to our teaching teams and schools!

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