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Melissa Han

Facilitation WALO Signature Assignment for Teacher Leadership Program

One afternoon I stumbled upon an email from Mindy:

Hi Melissa, I've been thinking about the deeper learning conference and how we are supposed to do a workshop ourselves. I have an idea for one but I really don't want to do it on my own. Do you have one planned yet? I have really enjoyed getting to know you and I think you are a great speaker and facilitator. If you don't have anything planned yet, would you want to do one together? My idea is to discuss bringing protocols into the classroom as a way to scaffold collaboration and create equity. I would love to talk more if you are interested. (No worries if you have another plan!) Let me know what you think,

I felt nervous at the thought of speaking in front of people I didnt know. After thinking more about it, I realized that I wouldnt be lecturing, Im facilitating a conversation. Plus, I would co-facilitate it with Mindy. Cori also came alongside us to form a tri-facilitation team. I loved the idea of preparing, facilitating, and reflecting on this experience with my graduate school colleagues. I took great comfort that I would share this experience with colleagues that have been embracing challenges and facing off fears in their own professional settings. We would do the same with this opportunity together. I jumped in! The last time I led a protocol in our graduate class, I received valuable feedback that would push me to grow. One particular comment haunted me:
Guiding people through the process: Somewhat Effective This one was tricky! Be bold when something goes awry. It is ok to step in and as you practice this, it will begin to feel more natural.

This haunted me because I struggle with how to step in when someone veers off the protocol. I get wrapped up in not wanting to offend the person doing the veering that the purpose of the protocol, equity, safety, time, and group

intelligence, is no longer protected. This experience hit close to home because I saw myself doing this at my school setting among my colleagues. I have essentially abandoned those who I was to protect to save myself. This sounds harsh. But its crucial to maintain safety so that innovative ideas and equity flourish. I wanted the opportunity to facilitate with Mindy and Cori to push me to guide people through the process more effectively and I wanted to learn how to collaborate with others in preparation for the protocol workshop. I trusted that this opportunity would also prepare me to do the same at my school. We decided to continue with the idea of scaffolding collaboration with protocols for our workshop in the Deeper Learning Conference. We met in person, exchanged emails, and gave each other feedback as we crafted our workshop idea and plan on a Google doc. After submitting our proposal, we received feedback to change the discussion from building on conversation challenges to building on when conversations went well. Cori, Mindy, and I met before the workshop to fine tune the details of what we would present, ask of participants, time management for each section so that we could finish in 90 minutes, and the roles we each wanted to take. We all decided to take sections that we felt uncomfortable doing but needed to push ourselves to grow. This was our workshop outline with our respective roles:

Scaffolding Collaboration: Using Protocols in the Classroom (our


Mindy Ahrens

Melissa Han

Cori Brooks

Mindy- Building community (10 min) Welcome/introductions: Grad students HTH, learned about protocols for staff meetings, started using them in the classroom for the same reasons Post it game- Write a question on your post-it that can be answered very quickly. ex. What is your favorite ice cream? Ask a partner, switch questions, find a new partner. See how many people you can get to in 3 minutes. Melissa- What is a protocol? (5 min) We have all had classroom conversations that have gone wrong. Focusing today on what has gone right and how to build on those bright spots. Protocols are safe, structured conversations and are a tool to make more classroom conversations go well.

Benefits equity- all voices heard time- set amount of time group intelligence- members come to a shared understanding & push each others thinking safe environment- established through norms and structure

All- Success analysis protocol (adapted) (45 min total) Explain (2 min): purpose, norms, protocol steps Preparing a case (5 min): Participants write about a specific time where a classroom discussion worked. Sharing (10+ min): Each participant shares their experience for 2 min. each (total time depends on number of participants) Compilation(10 min): Group discusses and compiles the commonalities within the group using a poster to record. Debrief (5 min): Participants will debrief the conversation with their small group Put up commonalities lists: ***If time, groups could share out lists

Cori- Discussion (25 min total) Journal (5 min): What struck you (or what did you notice) about the protocol process? Where did you see evidence of equity, time management, shared intelligence, and safety? Keep Talking protocol (4 min) Find a partner that you havent talk to yet today. Talk for 1 min. without stopping about question 1. Find a new partner for question 2. Purpose to practice active listening (no responding to the talker) new insights come out after talking for a while Whole group share out (15min) Popcorn out evidence of each benefit Mindy- Take home: Pass out packets containing various protocols that could be used in the classroom. If time, talk about how we have used them in our rooms.

This was the agenda we gave to our participants:

Scaffolding Collaboration: Using Protocols in the Classroom

Mindy Ahrens

Melissa Han

Cori Brooks

Building community Welcome/introductions Post it game

What is a protocol? -a safe, structured conversation -a tool for making classroom conversations go well Benefits Equity Time Group Intelligence Safe Environment

Success analysis protocol (adapted)

Discussion Journal What struck you (or what did you notice) about the protocol process? Where did you see evidence of equity, time management, shared intelligence, and safety? Keep Talking protocol Whole group share out

Protocol Resources McDonald, J., Mohr, N., Dichter, A., & McDonald, E. (2007). The power of protocols: An educator's guide to better practice. (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. National School Reform Faculty: Center for Collaborative Education: High Tech High Graduate School of Education:

Since we were going to build on conversation experiences that have gone well, we decided to use the Success Analysis Protocol and adapt it for the workshop. We gave each participant a copy of the protocol:


Purpose To engage colleagues in collaborative analysis of cases from practice in order to understand the circumstances and actions that make them successful ones, then to apply this understanding to future practice. Norms Hard on the content, soft on the people Share the air Be kind, helpful and specific Steps 1. Preparing a case (5 min) Reflect and write about a specific time where a classroom discussion worked well. Each participant reflects and writes a short case describing one area where they are finding success or making progress in their practice. The case should include specific details concerning his/her own involvement in it what he/she did that may have contributed to its success. It should also account for other factors that may underlie the success, including any favorable conditions. 2. Sharing (2 min each) In small groups, the first person shares his or her case of successful practice. Others take notes. This continues for each group member. 3. Compilation (10 min) The group compiles on chart paper a list of specific successful behaviors and underlying principles that seem characteristic of the cases presented. 4. Debriefing (5 min) The facilitator leads a debrief on the experience, focusing on the following: What worked well? How might teachers or students use this protocol or a variation of it to reflect on their work?

There were a few unknowns that could affect the flow and timing of our workshop. We didnt know who would come to our workshop since many other workshops were offered at that same time, but after looking at the conference program ours was the only workshop about the use of protocols. We assumed that since we described our workshop as more of an introduction to the value of using protocols in the classroom, our participants would be new to the idea of protocols. This was our workshop description:
Scaffolding Collaboration: Using Protocols in the Classroom
Mindy Ahrens and Melissa Han High Tech Middle and Audubon K-8 Thread: Structures and Strategies to support Deeper Learning Do you have trouble getting students to work together? Do you notice that the same students are always speaking up while others hide behind them. We propose a solution to this problem by

offering various protocols to fit different learning situations in your classroom. Come experience a protocol for yourself and discover why they allow all voices to be heard and create a collaborative culture.

We also didnt know how many participants would come. This would affect how long the Success Analysis protocol would last. We decided that if there were plenty of participants then we would split into three groups. If there was a smaller amount, then Mindy and I would each facilitate a small group and Cori would help us stay on track with time. We prepared what we could and needed to be flexible to make adjustments along the way. On the day of our workshop, we all felt the nerves bubbling to the surface. We made our copies, prepped the room, and went over last minute thoughts. As eight participants trickled in, we got into position. We followed our agenda and were in sync with the planned time. We had the participants count off one, two and divided them into their respective groups. Mindy facilitated one group, I the other, and Cori managed our time. I was surprised to find that my four participants were all administrators. As they each shared successful conversations, I noticed that they all had previous experiences with protocols. This was not what we expected. They mostly had some buy-in to the process. I couldnt help but wonder why they were attending our workshop. I chose not to ask my group this because it wasnt part of the protocol. During the sharing portion of the protocol, one participant next to me shared that she saw value in the protocol process but didnt like how the conversation was timed. It felt awkward for her, especially when someone was on a roll and then they needed to stop. Since she was sharing this during the sharing portion of the protocol, others began to step into the conversation with her. I was already feeling the burden of her disapproval of the time that I had to push through my fears and protect the conversation. I needed to trust the process, so I said, Thank you for sharing your concern about the time. That is a common concern. We will talk more about that when we debrief the protocol. She smiled and we moved on. I silently blew a sigh of relief inside my head. As we proceeded with the protocol, a participant volunteered to write our groups compiled list of specific, successful behaviors and underlying principles that seem characteristic of the cases presented.

Although time was a concern, the group stated that holding participants accountable to following set protocols and routines created safe environments. Mindys group compiled the following:

We then gathered both groups together and Cori led us in the discussion portion. Both groups responses were synthesized into the following:

I was struck by how the participants felt strong facilitation and listening to understand enabled a safe environment and equity. Although they shared how time could be manipulated, they still felt that when structured, it enabled others who tend to hesitate, to speak. We finished the discussion and shared how we used various protocols with our students and colleagues. We included these protocols in a packet for the participants. At the end, we invited the participants to fill out exit cards for us. Some of the exit card responses included the following:

After reading through the feedback from the participants, I noticed that they understood the purpose of protocols and appreciated how we did the protocol and other activities with them. I believe this revealed how important equity is in fostering safety. I also appreciated the honesty of how others would have appreciated more time and examples to talk about the practical uses of

protocols with students. Looking back, we could have increased the time in the small group debrief or discussion section as a whole group, to dig deeper in practical uses or talk about trouble shooting. Would it have been appropriate to do a quick share out of participants hopes of the workshop in the beginning and then implement it? I can see how it could work if there was one facilitator. It would be tricky for three facilitators to do this without throwing off the whole workshop. I think that I could have made adjustments in my small group to fill this need. Id like to learn how to be flexible to adjust the protocol to meet the needs of the group while maintaining the structure. It feels like a dance that I am still learning the steps for, when to step in, step out, and change direction while maintaining the dances rhythm. I am grateful that I was able to strengthen how I guided people through the protocol process. I was able to find a way to be bold by protecting the purpose of protocols while being sensitive to the person. This experience built more confidence in me to be able to do the same when I facilitated a Looking at Student Work protocol at the Deeper Learning conference later that afternoon. My hope is that these experiences will prepare me to facilitate the Fears and Hopes protocol with my school colleagues later this month. We are encountering difficult situations with students where there has been an increase in rebellion. We are also encountering difficult staff situations where mistrust is festering like poison in our community. I needed this and the previous WALOs to keep building the boldness and sensitivity in me to be able to facilitate the upcoming Fears and Hopes protocol with my colleagues so that we can find mutual purpose and begin building up our students, each other, and our community. This felt like part one for WALO 3. I will post my reflection of part two with my school colleagues. Im going to climb that ten foot pole!