Know Thy Impact…

You can measure the positive impact a teacher has on a child by the stories they tell.

My family attended a funeral a few days ago for our sweet 83 year old neighbor.  The service was beautiful as friends and family members shared stories of the remarkable impact our neighbor and her devoted husband had on so many people in our community. Our girls were in awe of the stories told and grateful they had the opportunity to enjoy time with her as well; however, there was one story that created great emotion for all of us.

Our neighbor was a teacher for four years in the 1950s. One of her students stood up directly in front of us and shared a story, addressing the crowd with her maiden name. With a quivering and tearful voice, he shared how much she encouraged him, believed in him, and impacted his career direction. Our neighbor was his fourth grade teacher and it was evident the emotions of this positive impact still remains. As I reached for more tissues, I was reminded of the joyous demeanor she displayed when she shared her experiences as a teacher.

Hattie (2015) defines impact within the Visible Learning mantra know thy impact with four questions:

  1. Is the impact valid?
  2. Is the impact equitable?
  3. How great an impact are you seeking to achieve?
  4. What teacher practices are most related to student learning?

I will never know what test scores revealed about her student’s learning; however, I can be certain that our neighbor’s principal could answer yes to the first two questions and the third question could be answered this way, high achievement beyond or own expectations. The fourth question connects me to the formative assessment process. Our on going instruction is founded on the evidence we have about our students’ learning as the purpose of assessment is to guide instruction. I can only assume the guidance and instruction received by this student provided him with continued success. The unequivocal impact in her classroom was revealed in her student’s life and shared in a powerful and reflective story. As Hattie shares, almost everything in education works, but is it working sufficiently above the average of all possible influences?

What does success look like in your school or in your classroom? Are you leading better than your best? Is your leadership good or is it great?

A New Literacy Journey

A Literacy Journey

The empowering journey of reviewing ELA materials has begun! Our district is in the process of a new adoption and pretty  literacy materials alongside the integration of amazing new technology can initially sway my opinion. While new materials were shared last week, I was focused on how I could fit instructional materials and foundations into my current literacy values.  Hence, it was time for a paradigm shift!

After listening to significant guiding thoughts from our Instructional Coach, Dani Burtsfield, in collaboration with Dr. Mary Howard, it is essential to reflect on what we value and what we do not value in literacy instruction before we begin to review and purchase instructional materials. It seemed so obvious when I type it… however, I completely missed it. The photo above includes materials that have been graciously shared by authentic literacy loving colleagues in our district. I asked to borrow these after I reflected on my own instructional literacy values.

  1. Formative assessment guides the intentional, explicit, and systematic instruction of:
    1. Phonemic Awareness
    2. Phonics/Spelling
    3. Vocabulary
    4. Fluency
    5. Comprehension
  2. Intentional and explicit strategy instruction and practice
  3. Rich literature continuously in the hands of students
  4. Interactive read alouds shared by students and teachers
  5. Consistent differentiated instruction to meet the needs of all learners
  6. Guided writing instruction, practice, and presentation
  7. Reading is writing and writing is reading

OK! Now, I am ready to proceed with the ELA material review! 🙂