Midway Middle School was established as a Professional Development School during the 2014-2015 school year. Data revealed more students from diverse economic backgrounds have enrolled at the campus and state assessment scores showed instructional practices of past years were not promoting success for ALL students. Junior-level teaching students work in PDS classrooms. Teaching candidates focus on writing lesson plans that support a 5E approach: Engage (capture students’ interests), allow students to Explore (hands-on/minds-on investigations), facilitate the Explanation (emphasis on student rather than teacher explanation), challenge students to Elaborate (apply new learning in expanded contexts), and to Evaluate (formative assessments) throughout the lesson. MMS administration and the Baylor PDS faculty agreed to collaboratively implement the 5E lesson plan as a best practice on the campus to improve student learning. Instructional specialists worked with teachers in their content areas in order to understand the 5E lesson plan model and to develop a common language, instructional tools, and assessment methods that aligned with teacher candidate expectations. Teachers then collaboratively created a 5E lesson in order to help with the instructional transition. Finally, each in-service teacher and teaching candidate were given “cheat sheets” for each element of the 5E plan that they could quickly reference as a support tool. PDS efforts to collaborate and implement best practice will continue through the 2015-16 school year.
Written by Barbara Bowden, Midway ISD, Site Coordinator, edited by Becky Warren, Midway Middle School