Summer Professional Learning
At the Hollyhock Summer Institute, fellows participate in a sequence of research-based professional development. The institute engages the fellows in four programmatic goals:
- improve instruction by focusing on core practices of teaching
- strengthen pedagogical content knowledge
- foster ways to develop equitable learning opportunities for all students
- build professional community within and across participating schools
The core-content sessions—English, history/social science, math, and science— focus on expanding the fellows’ content knowledge and pedagogical approach to teaching to equitably benefit all students they teach. Every fellow has an opportunity to apply the concepts learned in a rehearsal structure by enacting core practices of teaching in front of small groups of other fellows and receiving feedback.
In English, we will examine how teachers create the conditions for students to engage in deep interpretive work with texts. In Year 1 of the program, the focus will be upon intuitive strategies that help students read text more critically, as well as facilitation moves that lead to rigorous classroom discussion. Fellows will have opportunities to reconsider the texts they employ in their curriculum, and understand how to leverage ambiguity in these texts to craft authentic questions that ignite and propel rich discussion. Year 2 takes up where Year 1 left off, challenging fellows to consider how students’ reading and discussions of texts can be leveraged in service of student’s interpretive writing. We will also discuss how to create writing tasks with audiences beyond the teacher and explore the role discussion plays in a student-centered revision process.
In history, we focus on three core practices: developing and posing questions to frame engaging lesson plans; modeling the effective use of historical thinking skills; and facilitating rigorous classroom discussions using SHEG (Stanford History Education Group) principles. In the Year 2, fellows deepen their understanding of facilitating discussion with the use of formative assessments.
Our work will primarily use 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Discussions (Smith and Stein, NCTM Press) as a framework. In Year 1, fellows will work in small groups to develop task-based units that include at least one formative task and can be customized for different contexts and student needs. In Year 2 of the fellowship, fellows look more closely at facilitating productive small group work with a focus on understanding student-to-student dynamics and teacher conferrals during group work time.
In science, we will focus on several key areas: fostering equity in the science classroom, understanding the Next Generation Science Standards, facilitating class discussions, and developing coherent science units. Over the course of two years, fellows will participate in science experiences that are NGSS-aligned and will unpack the teacher moves and instructional practices needed to implement these types of lessons in their classrooms. Fellows will learn about the core practice of classroom discussion and delve deep into the idea of authentic science discourse, particularly as it relates to developing explanations and arguing from evidence. Fellows will explore equitable learning opportunities for all students and will specifically learn how to apply the Hollyhock Equity Principles in their instructional practice. Science instructional coaches will work side-by-side with fellows throughout the summer institute as well as the school year to develop coherent science units that integrate the key ideas from the science content sessions.
Opportunities to examine issues of equity in cross-content sessions will include conversations with fellows about equity in the context of schools, instruction, and teacher leadership. The program also hosts an Equity in Education conference day that brings together a diverse and expert field of researchers and practitioners to facilitate a wide range of sessions.
Instructional coaching during the school year supports and extends the Hollyhock summer experience. As part of a networked professional community, fellows meet virtually each month with their Stanford instructional coaches and other fellows from their school team or their content area. Over the course of nine video-conference sessions, fellows upload video of their classroom teaching in order to improve instructional practice, share resources such as lesson plans and supplemental materials, delve into issues of equity in their classroom, and build a community with each other that enriches their experience in the education profession.