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HMS - Where Your Mind, Body, and Spirt Soar!

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What Works in Education - Hattie's List of the Greatest Effects and Why it Matters

From Grant Wiggins' Blog (author of Understanding by Design)

In Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning by John Hattie, he rank orders factors that have the greatest effect size in student achievement.

Here are the factors, according to his synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses related to achievement, that have an effect size of .7 or greater (significant gains):

  • Student self-assessment
  • Response to Intervention
  • Teacher credibility (in the eyes of the student)
  • Planning instruction using the information gained through formative assessments
  • Classroom discussion
  • Teacher clarity
  • Feedback
  • Reciprocal teaching
  • Teacher-student relationships fostered

*Everything on Hattie's list had a greater effect on student achievement than the student's background. We can and do make a difference!

Reflect: How does this information connect to our school goals?

Our Vision: If every Horning Middle School staff member develops a deeper understanding of our students’ background knowledge, academic/social strengths and needs, and goals, then we will create a better opportunity for all of our students to be successful.

Our Mission: Through increased inquiry, conferring, and collaboration across all contents, students will increase their academic discourse and performance.

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Conferring: The Heart of the Work

Blog by Isabel Sawyer, national consultant at Center for the Collaborative Classroom

Conferring is not the icing on the cake; it is the cake.

Conferring truly is the sweet spot of all that we do.

It is through conferring that we build community with our students; conferring affords us the opportunity to reach into every single learner in our classrooms. Conferring is not just an add-on. It is a critical component of our work in classrooms. But, this is the part that is hard for teachers. We often don’t know the questions to ask our students.

Conferring: A Conversation

Instead of thinking about the right or wrong questions to ask learners, perhaps we should think about conferring as a conversation. Lucy Calkins tells about working with a group of teachers one day. She read aloud a story written by a child: My grandfather was sick. He went to the hospital. He died. He went to God. Then, she asked the participants how they would confer with that student. Some of the questions they suggested asking were: What would you add to your story? What did the hospital look like? Finally one teacher raised hand from the back of room and said, "I am probably wrong, but I think I would just hug the child and say I am sorry about your grandfather."

A Framework for Conversation

In order to help us think about conferring as a conversation rather than a question and answer session, think about this framework:

  • Listen
  • Think
  • Teach
  • Try

This structure would work for every single conversation we have with children. Listen to what the child has to say; think about what is most important to praise them for and help them with; teach them one thing that is new and give them a way to try it out. We were reminded that the focus should be on the bigger, more global instructional issues—not event-specific tasks. Teach a child a strategy for spelling unknown words; don’t teach her how to spell a specific word. To win a prize, be the first person to talk to Mr. Wegner about a memorable conference you have had with a student.


We should keep in mind Donald Murray’s wise words

when we enter into a conference with a student:

How should we respond to a look, a piece of blackberry pie, a kiss, a death in the family, a joke, to the sneaky warm of the winter sun when it touches a hand?

As a human being.

There can be no way—no single, correct, preconceived way—

for one human being in the dynamic, ever-changing context of a human interaction

to respond to another human being.

Below: Conferring examples from Cris Tovani:

What do you notice about these conferring sessions with students?

What language does the teacher use?

What does she learn from what the students say and do?

Might your conferring sessions or conversations with students evolve after viewing these examples? How/why?

If you are reading The Art of Changing the Brain, how does this conferring session relate to what we are learning and discussing?

Cris Tovani: Talk to Me
Cris Tovani: Conference with Shaq (from "Talk to Me")

Books by Cris Tovani

Cris Tovani continues to work with at-risk high school students. She is down-to-earth, understands teachers, and is inspirational.
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Seventh Grade Fundraiser

Seventh grade students are reading, writing, and discussing topics and books through an interdisciplinary unit of study about the Middle East. The fundraiser below connects to their learning and interest in helping others. If you would like to participate, please contact Haley Draeger, Rosemary Karnowski, Melissa Lance, or Barb Church.
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