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Guest Blog: Lead & Learn Fellows' Perspective

February 7th, 2017
Note: We are pleased to welcome guest bloggers and 2016 LDC Lead & Learn Fellows Susana Velasco, Maria V. Blanco, and Adriana Avila from Florence Avenue Elementary in California. In this article, one in a series of blogs by Lead & Learn Fellows, they describe their experience at the conference as presenters.

LDC has enriched and enhanced our practice by adding the technological component, the critical thinking across the curriculum and grade levels including our special education classroom. In addition, it has engaged and energized our students in ways we never thought possible. That reflective piece of instruction has become stronger and much more viable in our lesson planning and delivery of instruction.

Our experience/perspective as an LDC Lead & Learn Fellow at the conference was, to a certain extent, preplanned and pre-conceptualized. It was supposed to be a clear-cut, rehearsed presentation of our experience with LDC; it became a reflection piece, a connection to other teachers who are ready for this journey or have notions of this endeavor.

Why did we choose our presentation topic? It called out to a much-needed discussion at the time. It was the hook, if you’d like to call it so; it was the reason for the change in planning and delivery of instruction with a purpose.

The LDC journey and the factors that led us to embrace LDC as an instrument of change in our classroom was again a need for change. It was the implementation of the Common Core State Standards that helped change our shift, and what better tool than LDC to get us to that end result. For example, some of the “problems of practice” that LDC helped us solve included the differentiation of instruction within and across the realms of special education. It allowed for flexibility in the delivery of instruction. The lessons are there and make themselves manageable for special needs students in both lower and upper grades.

Since this past year was our first year of implementation, inquisitive teachers did question the process and wanted to know more about it. One change we observed in our students was an increased confidence to question and find results, solutions, and explanations. In our practice, we became more cognizant of our delivery of instruction. Questions did arise: Were we clear enough? Was the task comprehensible?

LDC effected collaboration between colleagues and departments because of the novelty and the outcomes of inquisitive student minds arising from well-thought-out tasks that were planned out with strategic mini-tasks to follow and a comprehensible writing piece at the end. LDC enhanced our professional learning because it is so much like the National Board Certification—It is demanding of the teacher to think about student’s needs, teacher standards that encompass a need for collaboration. It is without a doubt a true component to teacher professional planning and reflection.

At this point, our goals for 2016–17 with regard to LDC in our teachers’ practice will be to invite and train our colleagues. We are going to “share the wealth.”

 

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