One of the most challenging parts of planning effective lesson instruction is crafting purposeful formative assessments that are in alignment with a lesson’s Learning Goals. Often, teachers are tempted to give students a quiz or test as a means of monitoring their understanding, and just as often, this “assessment” takes on a standardized format like multiple choice or true/false. While there is a time and a place for this type of assessment, teachers should not feel confined to this traditional approach when lesson planning. True assessment for learning may be as varied as the Learning Activities that they accompany. After [...]
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Why does the Learning-Focused Instructional Framework work so well? The highest achieving schools in the nation all use a proven framework for instruction based on learning. An exemplary instructional framework, such as The Learning-Focused Instructional Framework, provides a structure that connects all of the lessons learned from exemplary schools and address major concerns in schools and districts. Connecting exemplary practices with an instructional framework empowers teachers to plan and teach at their best and all students to reach their highest potential in every lesson. With a framework, there is a clear focus on grade level expectations, rigor, research-based strategies and [...]
How is writing used in your school to raise achievement?How do you continue to show growth with your state assessments? We asked teachers in our turnaround schools that very thing, and we were not at all surprised to hear that the number one thing they all did was to go from only having students verbalize the answer to the Lesson Essential Question to having their students answer the Lesson Essential Question in writing! They all agree that writing has made the most significant contribution in helping increase student achievement in their classrooms, as well as across their school.One example of how [...]
How is student learning monitored for flexibility and connections to real life? Monitoring student learning is an ongoing challenge. Students can complete an assignment, but still not be flexible with their learning. They have trouble making connections or explaining a task in a different way other than the examples you have used. For example, when asked how to identify the main idea of a fiction text, students often find it easy to use the important details to complete the task, but when asked to summarize nonfiction text, they want to include every detail in their summary. Students have not made the [...]
Are you asking the “just right” questions to increase student achievement? Are you answering your own questions, or are students interacting with the questions being asked? Are your questions well planned and do they have a purpose and intent? How are these questions being monitored? Focus Questions are the different types of questions that are used when teaching. They consist of Comprehension Strategy and Ongoing Comprehension Strategy questions as well as Text Structure questions, Question Strand questions, and Higher Order Thinking questions. The Questioning Strategies are the way in which you plan for and ask these Focus Questions. The Questioning Strategies [...]
Typically when principals plan for and schedule walkthroughs, they are looking at teachers and for best practices. Moss and Brookhart (2013), however, suggest that a better plan is that they begin to observe what’s happening in the classroom from the students’ perspective rather than just checking off what they see the teacher doing. In other words, what are students doing, saying, and learning? The ultimate goal of walkthroughs is to improve student learning. To be effective, walkthroughs are planned, done on a regular basis, are brief, and have a clear focus or purpose. Walkthrough teams may vary but usually include [...]