On September 23rd, 33 third through fifth grade elementary teachers attended SURN’s Elementary Nonfiction Literacy workshop. Participants attended from across 14 different SURN school divisions. In addition to the 33 participants, four teacher-leaders from SURN member divisions attended to provide leadership and support for participants.
During the first session of the three-event Elementary Nonfiction Literacy initiative, participants identified key components of student engagement, participated in a sample lesson that integrated content-area knowledge with nonfiction reading skills, and engaged in over 10 different activities that promote student engagement and learning. Participants also learned more about SURN’s Visible Leadership model and how the Elementary Nonfiction Literacy workshops fit into SURN’s larger goal of distributing leadership from central office and into each classroom. This distribution of leadership capitalizes upon a shifting focus toward student engagement by putting John Hattie’s research on high-yield teaching and learning strategies into practice in classrooms and empowering all faculty and staff to engage in dialogues surrounding these strategies.
In addition to a wealth of new ideas and opportunities to network with colleagues, participants of SURN’s Elementary Nonfiction Literacy session left with the Power Tools for Adolescent Literacy book as a resource to begin putting new ideas and strategies into practice. Participants will reconvene in February and again in April to reinforce and add to strategies that increase student engagement.