Tips and Suggestions

The two-hour, study-group time can be structured in a number of ways. A highly successful structure we have used involves:

  • 15 minutes for sharing using the MYST routine. Teachers can come to groups having completed a MYST reflection and then share with a partner one aspect of MYST-either Me, You, Space, or Time—that was particularly salient for them in the past week. Participants can find a partner as soon as they arrive to start the sharing. This ensures that the group does not have to wait for everyone arrives until getting started.

  • 1 hour for the LAST protocol. In advance of each meeting, the VT facilitator/coordinator should identify individuals for each role in the protocol: a facilitator, a presenting teacher, and a documentor. These roles should change each week so that everyone has a chance to assume each role. 

  • 45 minutes to share and discuss current use of routines. This can be done either within the whole group or pairs. Participants should be encouraged to share struggles, questions, and puzzles about routines as well as their successes.

An alternative plan for new study groups starting on their own might involve practicing and discussing a new routine each week. This could be done using the video examples, the facilitator leading the group through a routine, or having a group member prepare a routine they are thinking about using in their class. The group should focus on ways of adapting and using the routine with different content and ages of students.

In some schools, only a small group of teachers will be meeting in a study group. In these situations, it is important to keep the rest of the school informed about what is happening in those groups and to invite them into the process. This can be done by:

  • Making documentation from the LAST protocol available to everyone.  If the documentation is done a white or blackboard, it can be photographed, and the photographs shared digitally.  The documentation can also be typed up and shared, either electronically or by posting the documentation in a location where others have access to it, such as a staff room.

  • Making the schedule of study groups public and inviting others to join when they have the opportunity.

  • Posting student work and thinking routine documentation in public locations where everyone can see it.

  • Inviting teachers to visit classrooms to observe and give feedback.