University of Texas-University Charter School hosts “Teach and Share” event
In October 2011, the University of Texas-University Charter School (UT-UCS), a component of CIE, hosted its third annual “Teach and Share” event for UT-UCS faculty and staff. This event provided UT-UCS teachers with the opportunity to interact with their peers and learn the latest teaching tools and techniques from one another. It also gave them an opportunity to share experiences and develop greater professional relationships.
“The need for an event like “Teach and Share” arose from evaluations of internal professional development and needs assessments,” said Dr. Gwyn Boyter, Superintendent of UT-UCS. “Teachers, in particular, wanted an opportunity to learn from and connect with their colleagues.” Depending on their particular campus, these teachers are often required to teach multiple courses or grade levels, sometimes within the same class period. Therefore, they need to be very nimble and highly skilled in order to ensure that each child has access to excellent educational opportunities.
Geographically, UT-UCS is disbursed in Houston to the East, Mountain Home to the West, Waco to the North, and San Antonio to the South. “The separation and size of the campuses can create the professional isolation that teachers in the one room school house must have experienced in the distant past,” continued Dr. Boyter. “A primary goal of ‘Teach and Share’ is to physically bring these teachers together to share teaching methods.”
Each year, a theme is utilized to create a common focus for improvement. This year’s theme was “Challenge 2012: Impact through Fidelity.” To support this theme, all participants were asked to concentrate on learning a variety of teaching tools provided and supported by the district. At “Teach and Share,” staff from across the district demonstrated how they currently use these tools effectively and with fidelity.
As in years past, a request for proposals on this theme was sent to every UT-UCS staff member. The best of these proposals were selected for presentation, round table discussions and demonstrations. To meet specific informational needs, outside trainers also provided valuable presentations. A small sample of presentations includes:
- "DORA the Explorer (and DOMA)"—An overview of the DORA (Diagnostic Online Reading Assessment) and DOMA (Diagnostic Online Math Assessment) presented by Holly Engleman and Kathleen Garza.
- "Keeping Three Balls in the Air at Once: How to Teach Multiple Subjects in the Same Class"—A demonstration mini-class using CSCOPE based lessons in biology, IPC, and chemistry, to experience strategies used in teaching the multi-subject class presented by Claire Hodgin and Christee Allison.
- "Interaction! I Do, I Learn"—Explored the potential of the interactive whiteboard, presented by Adam Alvarez.
- "Effective Integration of Technology and Instruction"— A hands-on demonstration of how to more effectively integate technology into teaching and learning to boost student engagement and help improve student performance, presented by Lannon Heflin.
- "How to Teach Social Thinking"—Social thinking is a social skill prerequisite for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Persons with autism don’t naturally consider how others think, what they believe, or what they might intend. This skill of thinking about how or what others might be thinking is foundational to developing pro-social skills, and can be taught on a daily basis in school settings. This presentation was conducted by Joan Givens.
Click on any of the images below to open a larger image from the "Teach and Share" event.