Friday, February 12, 2016

A Principal Asks... Lesson Frames in the Performance Classroom

A new, but learning fast, LYS Principal asks:

SC,

I was wondering if you could give me some pointers on how to have my music teacher close his lessons effectively?  He is struggling to understand how Lesson Framing integrates in a performance based class and frankly, so am I.

Thanks!

SC Response
A great and common question.

First, a primer on The Lesson Frame.  The Lesson Frame has an ‘Objective' (what WE WILL learn today in class) and a ‘Close’ (how I WILL demonstrate that I truly learned what I needed to learn today).

In the academic classroom, the two best ways for the leaner to demonstrate that she got ‘IT' is to discuss the key elements of the ‘IT’ with a peer (a quick turn and talk), or write the key elements of the ‘IT’ down (a quick critical write).

The prompt for the ‘Close’ should push the learner to the Application level of rigor, or higher.  This is important because in academic classrooms, students primarily operate at the knowledge and comprehension levels of rigor.

The performance classrooms (art, band, choir, sports, vocational, kindergarten, etc.) are slightly different than the academic classrooms.  In those classrooms, proof of getting ‘IT’ is often the finished product. Examples: the straight weld, the traced ‘A’, or the executed procedure.  So in many cases the ‘Close’ in the performance classroom is a show and explain activity.  

Also, in these performance classrooms, the students are often operating at the application level of rigor.  When teachers are able to close with more than ‘show me;’ if they can get students to connect, justify, or consider what if... Then student thinking can be easily pushed passed the application level of rigor.  This in a word is... AWESOME.  

Finally, when the class is working on a group performance or project, the format of the Lesson Frame may be flipped.  For example, the band will play something at the end of the period.  In this case the objective could be the ‘I WILL’. I will work on my piece of the song. The close could be the ‘WE WILL.’  We will come together and play the song as a group.

I hope this points you in the right direction.

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: American Association of School Administrators Conference; National Association of Secondary School Principals Conference (Multiple Presentations) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Transparency and Trust

Recently, I was presenting to a group of campus principals on the importance of transparency in leadership practices.  How we must be clear and redundant in our communications of our expectations, procedures, policies and even daily schedules.

The daily schedule statement created a little unrest and one principal shared, “I can’t agree with that.  If I post my schedule then the teachers won’t work all the time.”

To which I replied, “And we wonder why teachers don’t trust administration.” 

If you are worried that your staff will quit on you if you don’t maintain the element of surprise, then you either need new leadership practices or a new staff.  And in my experience it is usually the former, not the latter.

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: American Association of School Administrators Conference; National Association of Secondary School Principals Conference (Multiple Presentations) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Creative and Fun Diploma Endorsements

Here’s an idea for High School Principals and Superintendents.  With your high school diplomas, create an avenue for students to earn creative and fun endorsements.  (Note: This idea is borrowed from MIT.)

At MIT, when students graduate with their very prestigious degree, in many cases there are additional endorsements stamped on the degree. Examples of this include the ‘Pirate’ and ‘Charm’ endorsements.  To earn the Pirate endorsement, a student must take and pass the PE courses of sailing, fencing, pistol and archery.  To earn the Charm endorsement, students take a number of non-credit courses in elements of social grace (a valuable life skill for the uber-smart).

We could do the same thing in our high schools. Offering afterschool and ‘club’ like courses in any number of subjects.  Imagine students earning endorsements in Charm, Coding, Citizenship, Consumer Engineering, Advanced Languages, Trail Blazer, etc.

We talk about educating the whole child and motivating students, how about putting tangible action to those words.  Plus, these endorsements would look good on a student’s resume and college application. Thus, making our students slightly better candidates than the students from rival high schools. Which is also know as maximizing student opportunity.   

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: American Association of School Administrators Conference; National Association of Secondary School Principals Conference (Multiple Presentations) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Reader Asks... Small Group Instruction and The Fundamental 5

A teacher asks the following:

SC,

I have used the Fundamental 5 very successfully in both an elementary and high school setting.  I am an advocate.  However, at my elementary school there is now a big push to only teach in small groups and have the other students work on other activities.  The students rotate sections until all small groups have been taught.  I do not like this because I feel it is totally against The Fundamental 5.  I have had much success with The Fundamental 5 at the 4th grade level.  I would like your opinion on the matter.

SC Response
Thank you for your question. Small group instruction and rotations are commonly used in elementary schools.  Used correctly they are highly effective.  Much more so than the whole group instruction that is typically observed at the secondary level.  In fact, we coach secondary schools on how to use those practices and at the secondary school where I was the principal, it became the standard instructional format.

That being said, the key phrase is, “Used Effectively.”  I have observed more elementary classrooms that ineffectively used the practice, than the opposite.

As for your questions, the use of the Fundamental 5 in a small group / rotation setting can and does integrate seamlessly. Here are some examples:

1. The Lesson Frame: Only frame the direct teach station (where you are delivering the main instruction to your small group). There is no need to frame the activities at the stations.  After all, when the stations are planned correctly, the activities are the practice elements of the direct instruction that is being delivered, that you did frame.

2. Work in the Power Zone:  When you are with your small group, you are in the Power Zone.  And since all the groups will rotate to and thru you, every student receives the benefit of proximity instruction.

3. Frequent Small Group Purposeful Talk: This is easy to incorporate.  At every station, have a question you want students to discuss while working.  A question that forces students to think beyond the comprehension level.  You can check the quality of the discussions by calling on students at the end of the class.

4. Recognize and Reinforce:  Again, this is easy to incorporate.  The small group, direct teach station will provide lots of authentic opportunities to take advantage of; and when students are rotating, point out the hard work and effort that you observed while they were engaged in the tasks of the station.

5. Write Critically: There are a number of ways you can address this, the easiest is to actually have a quick write station with a critical writing prompt.

Do these things and I promise that you will go from a small group/rotation skeptic to a proponent in no time.

If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to ask and if this is something your campus might need some training on, let your Principal know that we would love to work with the teachers at your school.

Thank you,  

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: American Association of School Administrators Conference; National Association of Secondary School Principals Conference (Multiple Presentations) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Monday, February 8, 2016

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of January 31, 2016

If you are not following @LYSNation on Twitter, then you missed the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of January 31, 2016 when they were first posted.  And if you are on Twitter, you might want to check out the Tweeters who made this week’s list.

1. The first, best tool for becoming an expert in instruction is high volume, formative classroom observation. (By @LYSNation)

2. Don't let what is out of your control interfere with all the things you can control. (By @CEverettEdD)

3. Great schools don't do what's easiest for the adults in the space. They do what's best for kids even when it's really tough! (By @TonySinanis)

4. Vouchers don’t offer students the same civil rights protections they receive in public schools. (By @rweingarten)

5. Just found out the Texas A&M University - Commerce is using, The Fundamental 5 (Cain & Laird)! That's now over 25 colleges and universities!! (By @LYSNation)

6. If you're not failing everyday, you're not paying attention. (By @lorimcole)

7. Our goal SHOULD be that what we train people on ends up IN the classroom! (By @CEverettEdD)

8. I succeed because I am willing to do the things most people aren't willing to do. (By @MMotivate)

9. Read, The Fundamental 5 (Cain & laird) with my teachers. It sparked great conversations. We’re forming new habits to better impact students. (By @aprilamoney)

10. Do you know what I like about 81,000? It's the number of copies of the Fundamental 5 (Cain & Laird) that have sold to date! Thanks LYS Nation!! (By @LYSNation)

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: American Association of School Administrators Conference; National Association of Secondary School Principals Conference (Multiple Presentations) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Friday, February 5, 2016

It's An Honor To Be Nominated

Yesterday, a friend and fellow LYSer sent me a link to a blog post with a message, “Hey, check out the lists!”

The post is an active poll to identify some of today’s top education policy thinkers, chucked in age groups. I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for these type of polls so of course I clicked the link and started reading and voting. The group in their 20’s, was the list where I recognized the fewest candidates, The group in their 50’s, I recognized the most candidates.  But the group in their 40’s... there was the big surprise.

As LYS Educators (like you) continue to be relentless in their focus on maximizing student opportunity, our beliefs and practices are slowing spreading from state to state. Bottom line, People Are Noticing.

So check out the poll, the link is below. Then vote early and vote often.


Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: American Association of School Administrators Conference; National Association of Secondary School Principals Conference (Multiple Presentations) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook