Professional Development Overview

During our early dismissals and professional development days, we will focus on two goals:
  1. To develop a professional learning culture where 100% of teachers are engaged in the Authentic Intellectual Work (AIW) process, with high fidelity, to increase student learning through conceptual teaching.
  2. To create a professional learning culture where 100% of teachers are using the Alouds teaching strategies, with high fidelity, to increase student learning.
​​What is Authentic Intellectual Work?
The goal of this professional development initiative is increased student learning by engaging students in authentic intellectual work. Authentic Intellectual Work (AIW) is defined by three criteria-construction of knowledge, through disciplined inquiry, to produce discourse, products, and performance that have value beyond school.

The AIW framework establishes criteria for teaching that:
  • maximize expectations of intellectual challenge for all students,
  • increases student interest in academic work,
  • supports teachers’ taking time to teach for in-depth understanding, rather than superficial coverage of materials,
  • provides a common conception of student intellectual work that promotes professional community among teachers of different grade levels and subjects, and
  • most important, equip students to address the complex intellectual challenges of work, civic participation, and managing personal affairs in the contemporary world.
What are the Alouds?
Our professional development has been dedicated to increasing reading comprehension of all students.  We have been actively studying best practice methods to improve reading instruction and growth.  We are teaching strategies to help students comprehend passages whether they are fiction or nonfiction.  Through these strategies, students are learning to identify how authors help us become better readers.  For example: some authors use pictures and labels, some have glossaries and/or indexes in their books, and others may use bold print, italics, or descriptive words to help the reader understand better what they have read.  Good readers pick up on strategies that authors use and they, in turn, use them to become better readers.
We are also learning about different text structures such as question and answer, sequencing, compare and contrast, cause and effect, etc.  From this learning, students see what good writing is and does.  This helps them become better readers and writers.  Much of the teaching of these strategies is accomplished by doing Read-alouds, Talk-alouds, and Think-alouds.
The Nonfiction Read-aloud
A nonfiction Read-aloud is simply reading aloud to students. Read-alouds of informative, expository prose can be very brief, sharing as little as a sentence and illustration, or a single paragraph. One of the major instructional purposes of the nonfiction Read-aloud is to provide an opportunity for students to learn science, social studies, mathematics, and other curriculum concepts. Our long-term goal, however, is for students to use similar text as learners and independent readers (Emily Calhoun, Revised 2001).
The Talk-aloud
Talk-alouds provide an opportunity to model the reader– writer connection, so students can “see” and hear how an experienced and skillful reader relates to and uses what the author has provided. Talk-alouds often include mentioning something you noticed or appreciated about the text. Comments may include discussing what you noticed about the relationship between the cover, the title, and the first line, and how they all worked together to announce the primary message of the book. Or, you might address what you noticed about how the author organized the text to get across the message. It is during Talk-alouds that we can address anything that relates to the communication loop between the author and the reader (the reader–writer connection). Our long-range instructional purpose for Talk-alouds is to have students be aware of and use the reader–writer connection themselves (Emily Calhoun, Revised 2001).
The Think-aloud
Think-alouds provide an opportunity to share with students your use of comprehension processes or strategies as you gather meaning from and use written text. In Think-alouds, this may include how you determine the main idea or the author’s purpose, use the author’s organization of text, access and use prior knowledge, and how reading often creates new questions for us to answer.
Essentially, you are modeling for students how you gather meaning from text, explicitly telling/modeling for students the comprehension process or strategy you are using to understand the author’s message. This also includes how you think about or approach the task of gathering meaning using that strategy. One of the major instructional purposes for using Think-alouds is to model the use of reading comprehension processes and strategies for students; however, our long-range goal is to have students use these processes and strategies themselves (Emily Calhoun, Revised 2001). 

Contact: Kevin Teno, Director of Educational Services