My school has a small recess yard and cafeteria which causes many staggered recesses and lunches by grade level. The classrooms are also situated in the wings of the school roughly by grade level. All of this leads to teachers connecting only with other teachers at their grade level for most of the day. This builds little sense of community amongst the teachers in the school. One way that we are working to end this grade level isolation and add some professional development opportunities is through peer observation triads designed to be composed of teachers at different grade levels. The teachers chose three areas of interest such as depth of knowledge, book groups, or problem solving. Next, the teachers were sorted into mixed grade groups depending on their preferences. Then the teachers had time to talk about what they wanted the other teachers to look for in their lesson. The other 2 teachers observed the lessons in their triad mates classrooms. Finally, the teachers were given time to debrief and discuss what they had observed. These triad observation cycles happened twice during the school year. The results: teachers formed connections with teachers at different grade levels; they were able to see what lessons in their area of interest looked like at different grade levels; and they gained extra trained eyes to help them see how their lesson went as they tried something new. A win for every one. Perhaps this could benefit your school.
Idea No. 452