Collecting success stories throughout the lifespan of the community is a powerful strategy for developing, articulating and sharing new knowledge. Stories are an authentic way to illustrate what is possible, describe what cannot be easily codified, and engage others. Quotes, video clips, photos and work samples can help stories come alive and provide tangible evidence of changes in practice, increases in results, and enhanced understandings.
The final wrap up of the community is an opportunity for participants to share their unique success stories so they can all learn from each others’ experiences. Developing a story to share with the group also encourages participants to reflect more deeply on their own learning, identify what is working (and what isn’t) and make plans for how they will continue to change and add to their practice in the future.
To make time for sharing everyone’s stories, communities of 20 to 30 typically invite participants to prepare two to six slides for the face-to-face wrap up session, and speak to them for two to five minutes. It is helpful to have a basic framework, often in the form of three or four questions, for participants to use to structure their stories. Slides can include photos of students at work, examples of students’ work, quotes, summary statements and observations.
During the first year of the Literacy for All community of practice, the consortia created a series of four videos demonstrating how participating teachers were using the four blocks of literacy with students with significant disabilities. Filming was done in four classrooms representing a range of contexts, from a self-contained classroom in a specialized school to a grade-level classroom in a rural community school. These videos and their accompanying learning guides became not only a convincing documentation of the results of this one-year community of practice, but also a valuable professional learning resource for educators and school leaders across the province and beyond. For examples, view these Literacy for All videos.
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