Florence teachers become students in professional development exercises

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Monday saw a reversal of roles within the Florence City School System.  With the students staying home, the teachers became pupils for an intense day of learning.

“What about, I can identify key characteristics of the state of Alabama on a map. Is that a learning target?” asked the moderator for target learning to a gym full of teachers.

Kindergarten through fourth grade teachers in Florence City Schools participated in professional development inside the Forest Hills Elementary School gymnasium.  Their focus was target learning: intentional assignments which can be taught quickly and be more engaging for students.

“I have several kids who are now looking at my board to see what my learning target is even before I ever say anything about it, because they are interested and they’re motivated and they’re already trying to find out what are we learning about today,” said Heather Pounders, a teacher at Weeden Elementary.

Teachers started learning about the target learning concept last school year.  The learning system puts more responsibility on the children because they assess their own work after completing it.

“I teach first grade. For a 6-year-old to be in charge of their own learning, it’s just amazing,” stated Kristin Grider of Harlan Elementary School.

Teachers here believe it has already increased the student's engagement and they're excitement about learning.

The Florence City School System plans seven days of learning for their teachers each school year.  Each teacher within the school system participated in target learning seminars at different locations.

Target learning reflects the school system’s theme this year "To Be Intentional."