The ASOT Reflection

Region 9 High Reliability Schools-January 2019

Happy New Year!

We hope you enjoyed your holiday break and are back in the swing of things at school. With a new year often comes new resolutions and goals, which tie in perfectly with the first design area of the ASOT framework. Below you'll find information about two of the elements within this area, Element 1: Providing Scales and Rubrics and Element 2: Tracking Student Progress. Below those spotlights, you'll find a section on teacher goals, including how you can use those same concepts to monitor and track your own progress.

As with any goal, it tends to work best when we have someone for accountability. In this case, your own students can hold you accountable to your goal, and we would love to be involved in your goal setting and achieving!

Design Area Spotlight: Providing and Communicating Clear Learning Goals

The overarching idea of this design area is about moving students toward a specific goal. We can't provide effective scales, track progress, or celebrate student success if we don't have a learning goal. Those learning goals, however, really need to be strategic. Learning goals, then, should be broad enough in scope in order to facilitate growth over time.

According to The Art and Science of Teaching (p. 11), "the desired mental states and processes for clear learning goals are that: Students understand the progression of knowledge they are expected to master and where they are along that progression."

Strategy Spotlight: Providing Scales and Rubrics

Element 1: Providing Scales and Rubrics is important because it allows students to understand the progression of knowledge they are expected to achieve. These scales clearly outline the target skill at the 3.0 level as well as the prerequisite skills and vocabulary necessary for reaching the target in the 2.0 level.

We've put together a proficiency scales tutorial, complete with links to templates and other resources. Feel free to use this as a refresher or to help your colleagues understand what proficiency scales are and how to use them.

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Strategy Spotlight: Tracking Student Progress

Element 2: Tracking Student Progress ties in with scales because the scales assess where a student is in the progression of knowledge and mastery. The scales give a clear picture of student learning. When students are tracking their own progress on a proficiency scale, they can take ownership of their learning.

Teacher Goals

Just as we use scales/rubrics with our students, we can use scales like these to determine our own pedagogical growth.

The scale lends itself to tracking our growth. Here is an example of a tracking tool for teacher tracking (similar to the one for student progress).

A tool we created is this self-reflection journal. Once you make a copy, you'll be able to set a goal, track that goal, and have access to lots of resources to help you meet your goal.

Many of you have already reached the goal you originally set in the fall. If that is the case, the new year provides an excellent opportunity to set a new goal. Use the self-audit to determine your next course of action. Remember that your goal can be an area you want to grow or an area in which you are particularly interested. Use those ASOT elements as possible goals...and growth!

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You've got questions...we've got answers!

In one of our recent ASOT sessions, we asked participants to leave us any questions they had. We'll address some of those in this section each month.

If you have any questions for this section, please let us know by emailing Christy at

When should I use direct instruction?

Melissa says...

Although direct instruction has received a tarnished reputation recently, direct instruction still has a very essential role when presenting new content to students. We tend to associate DI with boring, lecture-oriented presentations, but information must be directly taught to students in the beginning. The content area of the ASOT model is like building blocks. It starts with the direct instruction from the teacher, then practicing and deepening from the students, and finally the knowledge application is the last step. Teachers must be mindful when using direct instruction that students attention span to retain information is very short. For a five-year-old student the average attention span is 2 minutes, and for an 18 year-old student the average is 7 minutes, so chunking content and giving a student breaks from direct instruction is a must.

The video below gives an example of a high school English teacher engaging students in Direct Instruction in various ways.

How does ASOT fit with other initiatives (Seidlitz, Fundamental 5, etc.)?

Christy says...

The great thing about ASOT is that it is nothing new, at least not really. The elements are based on over 50 years of research for tried and true strategies. That's why these initiatives fit so well with what ASOT supports and encourages. For example, Framing the Lesson in Fundamental 5 is how we communicate learning goals in Design Area 1 of ASOT. Another example is how organizing the physical layout of your classroom (Element 34) allows you to stay in the Power Zone of Fundamental 5. The QSSSA strategy in Seidlitz is an engagement strategy, which ties into Design Area 7: Engagement in ASOT; it also brings in elements of the Content category in Element 6: Chunking Content and Element 7: Processing Content, as well as others.

One thing that can help is when campuses develop an instructional framework that ties together the initiatives and how they are connected. A visual representation can help teachers utilize strategies and elements of each during planning and give teachers a toolbox of strategies to use during instruction. If you aren't sure if your campus has an instructional model that ties together the initiatives of your campus, check with your HRS leadership team to see if they are working on a framework like this.

How can I instill a growth mindset in kids?

Miranda says...

One quick tweak a teacher can do to instill a growth mindset in her students is to praise her students based on their efforts NOT their ability.

This video by Trevor Ragan using the research of Carol Dweck explains.

Resource: R9 HRS Site

We are so excited to launch our new website this year. You can find it at There is a tab just for you as an ASOT teacher complete with files and documents that will help you reach your goals. Take a few minutes to explore the site or take a look at the ThingLink below for a tour of the site. Be sure to let us know if we can add anything that would be especially helpful for you!
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ASOT in Action Submissions

We know you work hard to try new things and to be the best teacher you can be. We want to celebrate all that you do and share what is working in classrooms across our region. If you have tried an ASOT element and think others could benefit from the idea, please consider taking a few pictures or even a video and submitting them to us to be included in future newsletters or other shared resources.

You can use the form below for easy submission of your photos and/or videos or you can email them to with a brief explanation of what you tried and what you thought of the strategy.

Coming Up!

Group 4 ASOT, Part 1

Tuesday, Jan. 29th, 9am to Wednesday, Jan. 30th, 11am

301 Texas 11 Loop

Wichita Falls, TX

January 29-30 (Session#329903) is the first two-day session for Group 4 in ASOT. These sessions will be facilitated by R9 staff.

Group 4 ASOT, Part 2

Tuesday, Feb. 26th, 9am to Wednesday, Feb. 27th, 4pm

301 Texas 11 Loop

Wichita Falls, TX

February 26-27 (Session#329904) is part 2 of the 3 two-day sessions for Group 4 in ASOT.

Group 4 ASOT, Part 3

Tuesday, March 26th, 9am to Wednesday, March 27th, 4pm

301 Texas 11 Loop

Wichita Falls, TX

March 26-27 (Session#329905) is the third and final two-day session for Group 4 in ASOT.

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