Instructional Coach Weekly Update

Week of Feb, 29-Mar. 4

Strategy Spotlight

Most of this information comes from one of my recent "Leadership for Continuous Improvement" trainings with Steve Ventura and John Hattie's work with effect sizes and his book, "Visible Learning for Teachers."


When students receive effective feedback about their learning, their speed of learning DOUBLES.

The average effect size of feedback on achievement, as documented in Visible Learning (Hattie), is 0.79. This is twice the average effect of all the other schooling effects and therefore places feedback among the top ten influences on achievement! However, this influence is variable because feedback is not always implemented effectively.

To make feedback effective, teachers must have a very clear idea of where students are and where they are meant to be and then they should aim to provide feedback that reduces this gap.

When students are learning something they need a lot of TASK FEEDBACK, As they become more proficient, they need more PROCESS FEEDBACK. And when they have a high degree of proficiency, more SELF-REGULATION FEEDBACK is required.

...Next week I will go into more detail about the three levels of Feedback and what each means. If you can't wait and want to read about it sooner, click here and scroll to page 9/chapter 7...


- Praise should not be confused with effective instructional feedback.

- 80% of feedback that a student receives in a day is from other students and 80% of it is wrong. We need to find ways to improve the accuracy of peer feedback.

- Feedback should give students information about: Where I am going? How am I going? where to go next?

Past Two Weeks

- Small group reading lessons in 5th grade

- Writing lessons in 4th grade

- Check in's with teachers

- Work on our Reading Strategy site with Barbara

- Planning and preparing resources and materials for teachers

- Full day LCI training - Leadership for Continuous Improvement with Steve Ventura

- Drop in observations

- Meetings with Math Data Team leaders to select priority standards

- Scope and Sequence work for unit plans for next year with a teacher

The Week Ahead

- Teaching/Co-teaching daily writing lessons in 4th grade

- Teaching/Co-teaching daily small group lessons in 4th grade

- Teaching/Co-teaching daily small group lessons in 5th grade

- Team planning meetings

- Meeting with Susan O'Dell to discuss interventions, whole group reading, and small group reading best practices

- Half day meeting with other IC's and Jennifer Burkhart to figure out next steps for Persuasive/Argumentative training for 5th grade

- C4K half day training webinar

Resources and Ideas

Vocabulary - anytime you are looking up student friendly definitions (for IRA's, SGR novel studies, main selection vocab work, etc.) I always use a "Learner's Dictionary." These will give you multiple definitions but all in simple, student friendly definitions. I like using this one:

Google for Kids - Here's a short article explaining (it's ".co" not ".com"), how it works, and the types of articles that will pop up when students search something. It works in the same manner as google but is heavily filtered.

Fry's Phrases - like Fry's instant word lists of sight words? Try Fry's "Phrase Lists"! There are 600 different phrases students can work through - click here to check them out.

Red, Yellow, and Green Questions - a couple of years ago we all got a class set of red, yellow, and green laminated question stem cards. This is a great strategy to use with students to not only teach them about different kinds/levels of questions and how to write good questions, but also how to correctly answer questions using complete sentences, using text evidence, forming a complete response, restating the question in their answer, etc. I am putting an original and a colored cardstock version in everyone's mailbox. I can make you a class set if you let me know!

How do we keep writing moving forward without data teams?

I know it has been awhile since data teams have met and we won't be meeting this week so it looks like we're another 2 weeks out until data teams meet again. I know several teams have expressed their concern with this and unfortunately there's not much we can do about it this year. However, I did talk to Barbara to see how teams in her building were planning and moving forward without data team meetings and she said the majority have had quick meetings (before or after school or during prep times) to keep things moving in the data team's process. So hopefully no one is putting writing on the back burner for another two weeks because we all know our students need writing instruction. If you/your team would like me to help please let me know!

Don't forget... 4th and 5th grade should be doing at least ONE full "Real Narrative" unit before the end of the year. Third grade will spend the majority of their year focusing on writing multiple "Real Narratives." Third grade needs to do at least ONE full "Informative/Explanatory" unit, while 4th and 5th grade spend the majority of the year on this type of writing

Fifth grade will hopefully be trained soon so they can switch to Persuasive/Argumentative as their main writing focus next year while teaching at least one full "Real Narrative" unit and one full "Informative Explanatory" unit. If third and fourth grade gets trained on "Persuasive/Argumentative" they will need to teach at least one full "Persuasive/Argumentative" unit each year in addition to their main writing focus.