Dublin Villager

Dublin City Schools

Best practices on display to nation's educators

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What some Dublin teachers do in the classroom will soon be on view for other educators across the nation.

Choice Literacy, a professional development company, visited ten Dublin City Schools recently to tape educators in the classroom to offer some of the best practices used within the district.

"Dublin was chosen because there are many teachers in the district who are nationally known for their work in literacy education through their books, blogs and leadership roles in reading and writing organizations on the state and national levels," Choice Literacy founder Brenda Power said in a news release from the district.

Franki Sibberson, a fourth-grade teacher at Indian Run Elementary School, did some freelance work with Choice Literacy before getting involved in the most recent project.

"I fit two days of learning in an afternoon," Sibberson said of the videotaping.

Small group work, conferencing, online writing and reading and writing workshops were all filmed in Sibberson's classroom from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

"We had a full afternoon," she said. "They went to 10 schools in five days and cameras were on the whole time. It's exhausting."

Indian Run teacher Max Brand was called into service for the project because he has written books on literacy and had also worked with Choice Literacy before.

"They followed up with the people who had written for her and were known nationally, so there's background on those people," Brand said.

Brand works with kindergarten-age students for the extended ELI program that helps get students up to state-required reading levels.

"The program taped 21/2 hours of working with the kids, and everything is the first take," Brand said.

"Everything the kids said, the kids said. There is no second tape.

"People are able to see what happens in a real classroom. What's unique about the group she videotaped with me is I had 10 kids and only one is a native speaker of English."

Brand said the videotaping didn't interrupt students in his class, who went about their normal business.

Sibberson, however, said her students saw they were making a difference.

"They were pretty excited and a little nervous when they saw how big the cameras were," she said.

"It makes the kids realize teachers can learn.

"It's pretty empowering for kids and really fascinating teachers can learn from what they say," Sibberson said.

"They see the power of their work impacting more than the kids sitting next to them."

Whereas other teachers will learn from viewing what these teachers do in the classroom, it also acts as a learning opportunity for the teachers themselves.

"I think that's the most important part of this," Brand said.

"It helps me continue to refine my craft so I can be more in tune to what the kids are doing," he said. "I want to be a very responsive teacher. The videotape does not lie."

For Sibberson, the lesson will lie in watching others taped around the district.

"It's always helpful to watch other teachers teach," she said.

"With videotaping, you can do it on your own time and can stay in real time without having to be there.

"I can go back and watch what I'm doing, but I'm also excited to watch all the other ones," Sibberson said.

"There's no way I'd be able to visit 10 classrooms over the course of a year."

Teachers were not paid for the videotaping, Sibberson said, but some were given free memberships to Choice Literacy.

"Our teachers are really committed to professional learning," Sibberson said.

"It's one piece of hundreds of things we've done to make sure we're on top of things."

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