Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cornell Notes & Philosophical Chairs

Today and tomorrow I am a presenter in my district for AVID Path Training in Social Studies. Basically it's two days of time with middle and high school teachers to present 'best teaching practices' to them. The great thing about the training is that we actually 'do' and model the work.

Today we focused on topics like Using Poetry, Cornell Notes, Jigsawing, Quick Writes, and Philosophical Chairs. Two things jump out to me and seemed to be significant. First, teachers really appreciate well-prepared and on task professional development. A teacher stopped me and my partner about an hour in and announced how excited he was that this training was going so well. He has been through three professional development experiences this summer and was stunned that we were on the ball. It was great to see how appreciative he and others were.

The other thing that stood out was how two techniques went over well with the teachers. The first was Cornell Notes. It may have been the best and most clearly designed Cornell Notes lesson that I have taught. (I might finally be getting the hang of this thing) Here is the power point that I used to introduce C Notes:

At the end of the power point, I distributed a sample of US History Cnotes with a grading rubric on the flip side. Then I had each of the participants grade it for themselves. Then we did "4 Corners" and had the teachers go to an A, B, and C corner (There were no Ds). After discussing it in their corner group, one person presented the faults they had with the notes.

This was a wonderful way of emphasizing with the teachers what good note taking is and how they could do this with their students to impart just how to take notes and what the teacher is looking for. I think it went over very well.

Also we did a wonderful Philosophical Chairs debate. The teachers got into it. The first thing I did was show my power point on PChairs to introduce the rules:
AVID HISTORY PATH: Philosophical Chairs PPT
Then we modeled Philosophical Chairs with this question:
Should the "Cash for Clunkers" program be continued by Congress?
The debate was split in 1/2 and was very lively, but well mannered. I think the teachers got a great feel for just how they can use it.

I am looking forward to presenting Engaging the Text, Document-Based Questions, Free Response Questions and Socratic Seminar tomorrow. This has been a wonderful group to work with. I can't believe that school starts in less than 2 weeks!


Lindsay said...

Thank you for sharing these wonderful materials. I know I really value well run professional development, and I hate when I feel like presenters are unprepared and wasting my time. Thanks again.

Duez said...

Thanks for reading and commenting Lindsay.

I'm pretty excited about school starting back up again. Hopefully things can keep improving.

Good luck to you this year.