#NEETurns10: The Top 10 Activities Available in EdHub
Administrators began using classroom observations through the Network for Educator Effectiveness in 2011 and quickly began reporting that their teachers needed professional development support to meet the instructional expectations of the indicators and rubrics. NEE first met this need by providing PDFs for each indicator that included a short explanation of the indicator and included links to related articles and websites.
The PDFs were a great help to our members, but the NEE team wanted to do more. We developed a set of goals to guide the creation of a new system of professional development. The materials had to be:
- made available on an online platform, giving teachers as-needed access without a need for travel or substitute teachers.
- included in the basic NEE subscription at no additional cost for schools.
- written to specifically support the NEE indicators and the expectations described in the NEE rubrics.
- presented in short activities to allow easy completion in one sitting.
- designed to include opportunities for learning, planning for use, classroom trial, and reflection.
And so, the EdHub professional learning library was born. The first version of the EdHub Library was piloted during the 2014-2015 school year. The library launched with only a few “books” on the shelves and focused on the skills of NEE Indicator 7.4: Monitoring the effect of instruction on individual and class learning. Now, EdHub provides more than 500 learning activities covering all NEE indicators, and the EdHub materials are available to all NEE member schools inside the NEE Data Tool.
As a part of NEE’s 10th anniversary celebration, we wanted to share some of the most popular activities available in EdHub and some of our favorite EdHub milestones.
1. Beginning Teacher Support
The beginning teacher support module provides support specifically for beginning teachers. The materials are designed to meet the requirements for Missouri schools, but they provide a great set of “first steps” in PD for any new teacher.
2. Dyslexia and Learning
The materials on dyslexia also originated in response to a state mandate. This module provides districts with foundational content about dyslexia for their teachers and an opportunity to reflect on the ways dyslexia might affect the students in a teacher’s class, then develop a plan to meet their needs. The online training can be used in large or small group settings or by teachers working individually.
3. PD Quick Modules
The PD Quick activities provide school administrators with activities they can use in face-to-face settings to begin faculty meetings or launch work sessions. Each short activity contains a learning component designed to activate thinking, a processing strategy, and a connection to classroom practice. Currently, there are 13 PD Quick activities in EdHub, and a new one is slated for launch at the end of December.
4. Building Instructional Skills
School administrators reported having difficulty in determining which EdHub modules and activities would best meet their teachers’ needs. In response, we developed the Building Instructional Skills modules. Each of these modules addresses one NEE indicator and is broken into three activities:
- Introduce the skill
- Advance the skill
- How-to list of effective strategies to use with students
An administrator can suggest the first activity for teachers who know little about the instructional strategy. Teachers who seem to be stuck receiving the middle scores for an indicator can learn how to advance their use of the strategy by using the second activity. All teachers can benefit from learning additional ways to effectively use the instructional strategies through the third activity.
5. NEE Training Materials
The NEE suite of evaluation tools has grown over the years, allowing each district to customize the evaluation system to meet their needs. With this growth, it became impossible to train new administrators on the use of all components in a reasonable amount of time. The online training materials provide administrators with the ability to learn about the tools their district has elected to use and return to the materials to refresh their memories as needed.
6. Formative Assessment Strategy Cards
The NEE Help Desk received so many calls asking for the location of these strategy cards that we put a shortcut right at the top of the EdHub page. The 75 cards can be printed and cut apart for use when planning lessons. Each card provides instructions for the effective use of one research-based formative assessment strategy. The card also shares why and how it works and is tagged to help teachers quickly identify the type of strategy they need.
7. The Learning Organizer
The first version of the EdHub Library was developed on a platform that was separate from the NEE Data Tool. Teachers and administrators had to log into this separate site where each teacher’s learning journal entries were stored. EdHub now exists within the NEE Data Tool and incorporates a learning organizer. Teachers can create a learning organizer for each activity they complete in EdHub and share it with their evaluator. Rather than providing a pre-set prompt for the activity, teachers are asked to summarize their learning, connect it to their classroom practice, create a plan for how they intend to use what they learned, and return later to reflect on the success of their efforts. The Teacher Learning Organizer is tied to the NEE indicators while the Counselor, Librarian, and Speech Pathologist organizers are tied to their professional standards. Upcoming reporting features will allow building and district administrators to compile data related to the professional development work completed by teachers.
8. Getting Started with NEE
The NEE trainers do a great kick-off for new-member school districts. They thoroughly explain the system to teachers and help transition all stakeholders to the NEE philosophy of growth and improvement. But, what about new teachers who join schools after the kick-off? We developed the Getting Started module to introduce new teachers to NEE’s multiple measures available to schools, reinforce the simple but powerful NEE mission, and bring new faculty members up-to-speed with the NEE system ensuring they have a positive beginning in their new district.
9. Classroom Videos
The NEE Help Desk also fields numerous requests for videos of classroom instruction that can be shared with teachers to exemplify the NEE Indicators. EdHub offers two collections of classroom videos that are organized by NEE indicator.
- Indicator Scoring Practice Videos: These videos assist building administrators as they calibrate their observation scoring. After viewing the video, the administrator examines the NEE rubric for the indicator and selects the appropriate score. A team of “master scorers” generated a score for each video along with an explanation of why that score is appropriate for the video. The master score and explanation can be revealed to help the administrator fine-tune their scoring practices. The videos can also be shared with teachers to show them what a specific score “looks like” in the classroom.
- Indicator Video Exemplars: This collection of videos is intended to be used with teachers. Rather than providing a master score, the focus of each video is placed squarely on the language of the rubric. After watching the video, teachers can reflect, individually or in a group, on what was observed. Teachers are encouraged to consider ways in which the instructional practice could be improved.
10. The NEE Peer Observation Process
NEE recommends that every teacher receive 6-10 classroom observations paired with feedback each year. Time constraints challenge administrators to meet this baseline recommendation, let alone exceed it. However, a large body of research shows that teacher reflection on instructional practice, as provided through observation/feedback loops, can be a valuable method for improving effectiveness. The NEE Peer Observation Process is a new module that explains the NEE process that can be used for:
- teacher self-reflection on instructional effectiveness.
- observation of others as models of effective instructional practice.
- feedback from others on instructional practices.
The process is beneficial regardless of whether a teacher works independently or with colleagues and can be conducted live or through video recordings. This process allows teachers to reap the benefits of additional cycles of observation and feedback without overburdening administrators.
That wraps up the EdHub Top Ten. Be sure to watch the NEE Data Tool Announcement section to find a list of new EdHub additions each month. NEE is committed to providing the professional development needed for our schools to achieve instructional growth and improvement, leading to real differences in student learning. The first 10 years of NEE have seen EdHub grow from a fledgling program to a robust system of PD that many members count as a highlight of the NEE system.
Cathie Loesing creates professional development materials for the EdHub Library and provides user support for customers of both EdHub and NEE. She has extensive experience as an elementary teacher, school librarian and instructional coach with Missouri public schools. Cathie provided professional development training for K-12 teachers throughout Missouri and other states before joining NEE.
The Network for Educator Effectiveness (NEE) is a simple yet powerful comprehensive system for educator evaluation that helps educators grow, students learn, and schools improve. Developed by preK-12 practitioners and experts at the University of Missouri, NEE brings together classroom observation, student feedback, teacher curriculum planning, and professional development as measures of effectiveness in a secure online portal designed to promote educator growth and development.