Lower School Welcomes Back Expert on Reading and Writing Curriculum for Engaging Professional Development

Lower School teachers worked extensively on reading and writing curriculum with Ryan Candelario, an expert on Readers Workshop and Writers Workshop. 
Lower School teachers recently dived into a weeklong professional-development opportunity at St. Margaret’s, as the school welcomed Ryan Candelario for instruction, small-group sessions and lab-site teaching around the division’s reading and writing curriculum. 
Mr. Candelario is an expert in the Columbia University Teachers College Reading & Writing Project curriculum (also called Writers Workshop and Readers Workshop), which St. Margaret’s implemented in the Lower School several years ago. It was Mr. Candelario’s second visit to St. Margaret’s, as he did a similar week of professional development back in 2017
“There is so much research and philosophy behind this curriculum, it’s important for our professional community to engage in regular professional development to deliver the best learning experience for our students,” Lower School Principal Jennifer Blount said. “Mr. Candelario made a noticeable impact on our understanding of this curriculum when he first came here in 2017, and it was great to have him back to further explore the methods we use to best teach our young readers and writers.”
St. Margaret’s Lower School teachers spent extensive time with Mr. Candelario throughout the week. In grades K-2, the focus was on reading and teachers touched on a number of different instructional topics with Mr. Candelario, including:
  • Assessment results and how to best utilize assessments to drive instruction; 
  • Questions teachers can ask to help guide instruction;
  • Writing specific teaching points for students’ further growth.
In grades 3-5, the focus was on writing curriculum. Teachers learned, for example, to sharpen their probing questions to inspire students to expand their writing, as well as other curriculum and teaching reflections.
As part of his week, Mr. Candelario led small-group instructions with Lower School students, and also demonstrated lab-site instruction. Teachers had a chance to observe these sessions and reflect and ask questions. 
The Columbia University Teachers College Reading & Writing Project is a think tank of educators that strives to help young people become avid and skilled readers and writers. The format of Writers Workshop and Readers Workshop curriculum developed by TCRWP is a mini-lesson, no more than 10 minutes long, followed by independent reading or writing, a mid-workshop lesson, more independent reading or writing, followed by partner work. During this, small group and independent conferencing is taking place as teachers roam the room and provide pointers. 
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