At Pleasant Valley, we work together for the best of our students. All of our teachers participate in what are called Professional Learning Communities. At the grade level at each school, the team of teachers, along with instructional coaches at each building, track student progress and collaborate to increase the rigor and efficacy of lessons.
One of the ways these PLCs work together is in a Math Studio, which focuses on habits of mind and interaction, a math best practice. Essentially, habits of mind and interaction teach students how to interact with math, think about it in different ways, and talk about their thinking. In the kindergarten Math Studio we visited, the kindergarten team at Pleasant View worked with Teacher-Leadership coordinator Stephanie Seier, along with the Mississippi Bend AEA, to develop a lesson about sorting. PLC Teachers support the host teacher, in this case, Mrs. Doyle, by listening to what and how students are speaking about the lessons.
This lesson was about sorting. Students studied pictures on the screen and were asked to take private reasoning time to formulate their own thoughts and ideas about what traits made the dogs similar. Then students explained their thinking to a partner before sharing with the whole group. After the lesson, students were given a bag of items to sort. In teams, they decided how to sort them - by color, by size, by shape - whatever they liked. Then the PLC team asked students questions about their thinking, helping them explain why they chose to put certain items in certain boxes.
After the lesson, the team discusses what each student knows about the math concept, what students have yet to learn, and how students engage in math by using habits of mind and interaction.