Long Range Plan - GESD41 - Page 12

The District 41 Model
Workshop Model
Over the past decade, the workshop model has been shown
to be one of the most effective differentiated instructional
models. District 41 has used the workshop model in literacy
since 2007. Using workshop in all content areas ensures that
each student is highly engaged, the learning is differentiated,
and students are working on “just right” materials as well
as materials that will stretch their thinking. Workshop is
a rigorous yet affirming educational model that can be
outlined as follows:
• Mini-lessons are used to model skills or strategies.
• Students practice the skill or strategy together with the
• Students break into groups based on similar needs; the
teacher works with
each group in guided instruction.
• Students work independently or collaboratively to
develop the skill or strategy, share their work with the
class and engage in class-wide discussion.
Learners crave feedback to grow, and conferring is a
differentiated way to provide it. At the heart of the
workshop, this conversation between two (or more)
creates a deeper understanding of a student’s thinking
and processing and is an opportunity to coach and nurture
students. The decisions about why and how to engage in a
conference with a student are shaped by 1) the relationship
with the student and 2) by the instructional intentions or
purpose for the conference.
Assessment for learning provides students and teachers
with information they can use immediately to improve
performance by differentiating instruction to meet the
learner’s needs in the moment. Research shows that
students do better when regular assessment shows them the
way forward. Assessment for learning begins when teachers
help students understand what “right” looks like, and
provide frequent feedback taking care not to overwhelm
them. The students’ role is to use feedback to see where they
are in relation to where they want to be, and to determine
how to do better.
Teachers and students are partners in the process: for
example, students could create a student-friendly version
of a scoring rubric, create practice versions of tests to help
them study or accumulate evidence of their learning in
growth portfolios. They can also partner with teachers by
leading their parent/teacher conferences.


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