In my ECS 100 placement the teachers at the school I am at have what they call collaboration meetings. The meetings are held on a day 4, during the first period after lunch. They find it easier to do these meetings during the school day, rather than having everyone try to fit a meeting in after classes. The teachers are divided into junior(grades K-3), senior (grades 4-8) and Learning resource. My placement is in an English as a Acquired Language(EAL) class and my cooperating EAL teacher has to attend all three groups so I tagged along to the junior and senior meetings.
One of things I found really quite ingenious was that in order to conduct these meetings during class time the classes did learning buddies. The older grades would buddy up with a younger class to read to them during the 45 minute meeting. If it was the junior teachers meeting the senior teachers would supervise both classes and vice versa. Holding the meetings during class time was also a great idea because it ensured that it the meeting moved in an efficient manner so everyone could return to their classrooms in 45 minutes. The topics discussed were quite interesting as well.
In the meetings I was able to attend the teachers discussed many things but reading and math were top priorities. They have one teacher who is really excited about math at all grade levels and is doing a presentation at each meeting on something math related. I discovered the reason patterning is a big focus in math, it lays the foundation for everything else, it allows the students to see relationships in numbers rather than just formulas. The junior teachers are working through the book Writing Strategies by Jennifer Serravello. The school used some of their professional development fund to buy the book for all the teachers in the school. The senior teachers are going through Reading Strategies by Jennifer Serravello. Each teacher is required to pick a chapter, summarize it, implement one of the strategies in their classroom and then share their chapter at the meeting. I was very glad I was able to attend a few of these meetings. I am eager to get both books for myself and read them.
The best discovery from this first foray into professional development is that your more experienced colleagues are a wealth of knowledge. I am looking forward to my next opportunity to learn.