Some of the most invigorating and inspiring experiences I have had as a teacher have been when we visit other schools. Last week, our third grade team had a half-day of release time to visit Adelaide Elementary. Former Wildwood teacher and friend Jake works there now, and I interviewed with Jason back in the day when I was first applying to be a teacher (I dare you to find a more passionate, driven leader — he’s great). They are an incredible bunch.
The school is calm, and you can tell the kids are excited to be learning there. Here’s their behavior rubric that’s posted in each class and in the halls.
Sondra Maier, one of the school’s literacy coaches, showed us around their Teacher Resource Center, a kind of uber-book/supply room that goes beyond just function to be a place that’s truly inspirational.
All their books are leveled so they can be pulled for guided reading groups. Each book set is in a bag with an index card, so teachers can check out an entire bag of books at a time.
I loved that the TRC seemed like a place where teachers were really being motivated to improve their practice, not just taking care of business.
When we were there, a team of 1st grade teachers were meeting to put together their reading preassessment for next fall. They were focused and working thoughtfully. I wanted to join them!
I’m a visual person, so I love that each pocket shows an approximate level of where each student is currently performing. That way, intervention specialists can make sure that no students are slipping through the cracks.
Sondra took us into two 3rd grade classrooms to observe their reading block. Adelaide uses this framework as a bit of a guide/backbone for their literacy program during the school year:
And Adelaide’s TRC doesn’t just help teachers with reading materials. Oh, no. Last year, they collected all math manipulatives from the teachers, organized them, cleaned them up, and stored them all in a central location. That way, no one winds up hoarding anything, and intervention specialists always know what materials are needed.
I’m dying to show you the organizational systems we saw in the classrooms we visited, but I’m waiting to get the teachers’ approval. Fingers crossed!