Making Evaluation Meaningful: Transforming the Conversation to Transform Schools


PJ Caposey

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    Praise for Making Evaluation Meaningful by PJ Caposey

    PJ Caposey has developed a great resource on teacher evaluation that actually provides realistic, encouraging, and supportive guidance instead of an arbitrary checklist!

    Larry Ferlazzo, Teacher, Author and Education Week Teacher Advice Blogger Luther Burbank High School Sacramento, CA

    PJ Caposey does it again! He writes with authority, relevance, and passion about a topic often researched and often avoided by practitioners. He shares tips and needed mindset shifts as well as concrete examples of how to maximize the inherent power in the evaluation process. He outlines how to take a process required by law into a meaningful and powerful learning journey for all involved. Caposey masterfully lays out a coherent structure for making evaluation meaningful and for equipping would-be evaluators with the “how” and “why” for conducting critical conversations. This compelling manuscript is a must-read for graduate students studying to become school leaders and practicing school leaders alike.

    Mike Lubelfeld and Nick Polyak, School Superintendents, Authors of The Unlearning Leader Co-moderators of #suptchat on Twitter Deerfield, IL

    Evaluation is an incredibly important and time-consuming responsibility for educational leaders. Caposey shares practical methods and notions that will move your evaluation process from good to great. Promoting the success of every student is directly tied to the type of feedback evaluators provide to teachers. Making Evaluation Meaningful will change your mindset and push your school culture in a positive direction.

    Brad Currie, Dean of Students and Supervisor of Instruction Chester School District Chester, NJ

    Quality feedback informs and provides practical suggestions for improvement and is pivotal if the goal is to improve teaching and learning. PJ Caposey, through a practitioner lens, has developed an incredible guide that not only helps to demystify the evaluation process, but also provide ready-to-use strategies to ensure reflection and growth are the result. In the end, evaluation must be meaningful for both parties. This book will help get you there.

    Eric Sheninger, Author/Consultant, Senior Fellow/Thought Leader International Center for Leadership in Education Cypress, TX

    One of the most daunting and frustrating challenges for school leaders is making teacher evaluation count. Implementing a model is not enough. Through practical examples, PJ Caposey has discovered how to do the things school leaders want to do—build on strengths, develop shared meaning, and ultimately improve student learning. These goals are attainable with the principles shared in Making Evaluation Meaningful.

    David Geurin, Graduate Education Professor Southwest Baptist University and Regent University Bolivar, MO

    PJ Caposey’s book Making Evaluation Meaningful is an important read for administrators and teacher evaluators as it addresses the overarching challenges with teacher evaluation, starting with the biggest issue in education, oversimplification. The book seeks to provide solutions that make evaluators more adept at providing teachers with better feedback to ultimately improve the learning culture in a school. Evaluation undoubtedly impacts culture, so the way we approach the process can and will have ripple effects.

    Starr Sackstein, AuthorHacking Assessment: 10 Ways to Go Gradeless in a Traditional Grades School; Blogging for Educators; Teaching Students to Self-Assess; and many more Long Island, NY

    For years, building leaders have been agonizing over teacher evaluations, pouring countless hours into a practice that consistently fails to produce the desired result: more meaningful conversations that produce improved quality instructional practices and increases in student achievement. In his book, Making Evaluation Meaningful, PJ Caposey shares a step-by-step framework filled with quick and easy-to-follow “Tips for Tomorrow,” as well as detailed examples to help you shift your mindset and become a more effective instructional leader. This book will leave you questioning your own evaluation system while at the same time inspiring you to re-commit the time and resources needed to help grow and develop your teachers.

    Jimmy Casas, CEO ConnectEDD, Inc. Des Moines, IA

    Dr. PJ Caposey is an award-winning practitioner and a leader on a mission. His continual pursuit to increase student and teacher success is also the foundation of his latest book, Making Evaluation Meaningful: Transforming the Conversation to Transform Schools. Dr. Caposey delves into one of education’s most sacred cows: teacher evaluation. He provides research, strategies, and insight into transitioning this often mundane and meaningless chore into a systematic process that is purposeful, reflective, and powerful.

    Right out of the gate, Dr. Caposey examines common evaluation practices, both good and bad, and provides a tool-kit of strategies to increase both teacher and administrator effectiveness throughout the evaluation process. He honestly recalls his own naivety and boldness in conducting evaluations early in his administrative career that resulted in fear and compliance. This book is a worthy guide, packed with practical and helpful strategies for both the evaluator and the evaluated, to establish an evaluation process that creates positive and effective protocols to strategically meet the learning needs of both students and staff.

    Julie Adams, NBCT Author, Educational Consultant Rocklin, CA


    It is important that we support initiatives in schools that make a difference. It seems that often, this is not what happens with teacher evaluation. We place tremendous time, energy, and resources into doing something that we “know we should do,” even if we can find little utility in the process. On top of the lost resources, we also add stress. This is not a winning combination, yet year after year we stumble through this process.

    It is essential that we realize that people, not programs or policies, are what make schools great. We must inspire teachers and school leaders with strategies that help provide meaning to a job that can be overwhelming and stressful. In many ways, this is almost antithetical compared to much of the rhetoric surrounding teacher evaluation. That is precisely why this book is so exciting.

    PJ Caposey has done an excellent job in understanding the human element of teacher evaluation. He demonstrates that he understands that no single framework or evaluation protocol is going to change a single teacher’s behavior by itself, let alone an entire school. He moves from this paradigm and then examines every element of the evaluation process in an attempt to make it more practical, user-friendly, and most importantly, effective.

    Making Evaluation Meaningful: Transforming the Conversation to Transform Schools is precisely what the educational community needs right now to continue to grow and change the conversation surrounding teacher evaluation. Teacher evaluation has been an exceptionally hot topic in schools for about a decade, and most districts have radically transformed their practices in order to meet the trend of the day. What has happened is little to no improvement in overall school outcomes and a ton of teacher and administrator stress. I love this book, because it can help decrease stress for all parties involved and it puts forth a plan where the evaluation process can actually help teachers grow.

    There are two sections of the book that are particularly valuable—the discussion of the pre-conference and the improvement bank section. PJ does a great job of critiquing the pre-conference, by describing what many schools do but few people critically think through. It is discussed in detail with easy, tangible suggestions for improvement. Additionally, the back of the book contains a great compilation of improvement suggestions that can have real-world impact for many teachers. As PJ affirms, no administrator intentionally does a poor job in evaluation, but some lack the tools needed to provide meaningful feedback. The improvement bank section provides more than “some” tools—it is the Menards, Lowe’s, or Home Depot of teacher evaluation, offering a plethora of resources.

    This book is very exciting! PJ and I have worked together on multiple ventures, and I have always been a fan of his work, but this book is of particular value. Every chapter hits readers on multiple levels. It is philosophical and practical—it will change your paradigms and your everyday routine. PJ shares stories that many of you can relate to and he demystifies the cumbersome evaluation process into a series of smaller processes and systems, but most importantly, he never loses sight of the human nature of our schools and the evaluation process.

    To paraphrase from my 2011 book, What Great Teachers Do Differently, any educator can study lists of guidelines, standards, principles, and theories. The difference between more effective educators and less effective colleagues is not what they know. It is what they do. The reason this book is so effective is that PJ does a great job of helping people understand what they need in order to do their job better. This is a practical, well-read, and potentially game-changing book when it comes to teacher evaluation. I trust you will enjoy it as much as I did.

    Todd Whitaker Distinguished Adjunct Professor, PK12 Leadership University of Missouri Columbia, MO


    Teacher evaluation has been a hot topic in education for over a decade. Increased emphasis on teacher performance originated from the era of accountability ushered in by No Child Left Behind. Since then, powerful and dynamic evaluation frameworks have been popularized, and a great deal of time, effort, and energy has been invested in transforming the once uneven and often routine process. After nearly a decade of effort and implementation to systematically improve evaluation processes in education, two things remain constant. First, achievement scores by nearly all measures have not significantly improved, and second, the overwhelming majority (95 plus percent) of teachers are found to be proficient or better in most states (Dynarski, 2016). This leads to the conclusion that current evaluation procedures are not fundamentally improving teacher performance. This book is intended to shine a new light on the evaluation process to help transform our practices as educators and ensure that the time spent in evaluating teachers is meaningful for both administrators and teachers.

    Why I Wrote This Book

    I was once working with a district to revamp their evaluation procedures. On the second day of training, the chief administrators were called away, and I was left to work solely with the active practitioners. A principal, inspired to be more honest with the “bosses” out of the room, remarked, “I spend at least 80 hours per year evaluating teachers. How do I make sure that it is meaningful for both the teacher and for the school—because right now I am pretty sure it is not?” In that one short instance, I realized exactly why I was doing work centered on evaluation. Evaluation had become cumbersome, stressful, and time consuming, all while losing its apparent meaning to administrators and teachers alike.

    In writing this book, I hope to do my part to help fix what ails the evaluation system. My experiences support and I truly believe that teacher evaluation when done well can systematically transform a school. My steadfast hope is that this book provides principals with the tools they need to make the process meaningful, comfortable, and streamlined. Additionally, I hope to demonstrate how, when done thoughtfully, the evaluation process can serve as the tie that binds all school improvement activities together.

    With this book, I hope to provide the following for educators and the schools they serve:

    • Improved teacher practice as they receive better support from their principals
    • Improved student achievement because of better principal and teacher performance
    • Clarity and purpose for administrators; making them more effective and their role easier
    • Improved school culture as a result of clear evaluative expectations and protocols and with an increased focus on conversations to promote teacher growth
    What This Book Is Not

    This book is not a competitor to the established frameworks commonly used in schools. This is designed to be a tool that administrators can use to better implement the high-quality frameworks that are already in place. This book is not something you do once to fix a problem—it is a guide to transforming your school through a series of actions. More importantly, the focus of this book is to help teacher evaluators to rethink their role in the process and to help them critically analyze how they can adjust their practice to better serve their teachers and their school.


    This book is written for teacher evaluators and those who are working hand in hand with teachers to help improve their practice on a daily basis. It is also my hope that superintendents and other district leaders read this as well. My experience informs me that teacher evaluators often feel isolated and rather unsupported. District leaders must too see themselves as instructional leaders who provide the resources and support necessary to construct a system that is meaningful and purposeful for all involved. It should be noted that the final few paragraphs of the concluding chapter are a direct plea to superintendents, with some logical next steps they can take to begin serving as leaders in this process.

    Goals for the Reader

    Ultimately, I wrote this book to accomplish one primary goal—make the reader a better teacher evaluator. This can be accomplished by exploring the following, smaller, objectives:

    • Help the reader understand the broad-reaching impact that teacher evaluation has upon student achievement, school culture, and sustained professional growth.
    • Break down each element of the evaluation process in detail and help the reader to improve both through “quick fixes” and through cultivating a lasting mindset and paradigm shifts.
    • Convince the reader that communication and confidence are key elements to being a great evaluator that truly supports and encourages teacher growth.
    Special Features

    This book is designed to be user-friendly, by placing as many tools as possible in the hands of practitioners.

    • Personal Experiences and Stories

      Personal experiences with districts and administrators drive this work, informed by research on best practices. Well-intentioned administrators who are struggling to make the evaluation process work for them will find that the stories resonate with their own experiences. The stories shared will help readers to personally connect with the content and help them understand that they are not alone in the struggle in trying to make evaluation meaningful.

    • Tips for Tomorrow and Mindset Shifts

      Every chapter has a handful of Tips for Tomorrow, designed to be tools an evaluator can implement immediately. These smaller transitions toward positive practice help to keep the reader engaged and demonstrate easy ways in which incremental progress can be made. In contrast, Mindset Shifts are larger paradigm shifts. People often debate whether you can think your way into new behavior or if you have to behave your way into new ways of thinking. The combination of Tips for Tomorrow and Mindset Shifts appeal to both ideals and if employed, will lead to sustained change.

    • Culture Assessment

      The connection between school culture and the evaluation process is often not readily apparent. When explored, however, the influence of evaluation and administration’s role within the process have a significant impact upon the culture of a school building. Since this connection is not easy to see for some, this book contains a culture assessment focused largely on teacher evaluation. This tool will not only provide great insights for practitioners; for most, it will also create a sudden sense of urgency when they begin to look at both evaluation and culture through new lenses.


      The book breaks down the seven ways a school leader can use evaluation to systematically transform the culture of their school. A playbook is given on how to leverage the evaluation process to positively influence the culture of a building so that it better serves the needs of both the adults and students within it.

    • Suggestion for Improvement Bank

      At the conclusion of the book, a suggestion for improvement bank is provided. Often, administrators provide little to no feedback on how a teacher can improve their practice. As a result, the evaluation process becomes an assessment of value to the organization instead of a systematic process to help teachers grow. The reason for lack of suggestions for improvement is not evaluator effort as commonly believed—it is instead the perceived lack of valuable input to provide as an evaluator. As a result, sample suggestions for improvement are provided as an addendum at the end of the book.

    • Dos and Don’ts for Teacher Self-Assessment

      Teacher self-assessment is a practice performed with different parameters in different ways throughout the United States and other countries. While the benefits of self-assessment are known, teacher evaluation can also bring forth anxiety for administrators. A simple dos and don’ts checklist provided in this book will allow administrators to have a strategic approach to teacher self-evaluation in order to capture all the benefits while mitigating the vast majority of the risks.

    • Evaluator Self-Assessment

      One of the best features of this book from a practicality standpoint is an evaluator self-assessment that captures the three major phases of the process: pre-conference, observation conversation, and written document provided to the teacher. This not only serves as an assessment of practice, but also serves to help evaluators begin with the end in mind. A quick glance at the desired outcomes helps evaluators to remind themselves of what is truly important and to work to improve their own professional practice.

    • Connections to Popular Frameworks and Best Practices

      While this book is not intended to compete with popular evaluation frameworks, it certainly acknowledges they exist and works to create clear connections between these tips to transform the conversation and the existing frameworks. Additionally, the book works to incorporate what we know as best practice through the work of Hattie (2012) and Marzano, Frontier, and Livingston (2011) to better guide evaluators in their attempt to use research to support their teachers.

    • Online Resources

      Visit for additional resources to improve and transform schools.


    I would first like to thank my wife, Jacquie, and our children, Jameson, Jackson, Caroline, and Anthony for continued support and encouragement. My greatest hope is that something I write someday benefits you or someone you care about.

    I would also like to thank my Board of Education—John Smith, Kristine Youman, Tim Devries, Tim Flynn, Marsha Welden, Jill Huber, and Matt Rhodes. Your belief in me and willingness to provide me autonomy with accountability allows me to pursue all of my professional dreams. I cannot thank you enough for that opportunity.

    Additionally, many thanks go to my Leadership Team, faculty, and staff at Meridian CUSD 223. I am beyond fortunate to walk alongside you and hope that I provide you one-tenth of the inspiration that you provide me.

    Lastly, thank you to Tom Mahoney. Everyone should have a mentor and friend like Tom. He challenges me every time I speak with him and I grow as a result.

    Publisher’s Acknowledgments

    Corwin gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following reviewers:

    • Rich Hall, Director of Elementary Education
    • Henrico County Public Schools
    • Henrico, VA
    • Dr. Louis Lim, Vice-Principal
    • Bayview Secondary School
    • Richmond Hill, Ontario
    • Beth Madison, Principal
    • Robert Gray Middle School
    • Portland, OR
    • Angela M. Mosley, Principal
    • Essex High School
    • Tappahannock, VA
    • Tanna Nicely, Principal
    • South Knoxville Elementary
    • Knoxville, TN
    • Kathy Rhodes, PK–3 Principal
    • Hinton Elementary
    • Hinton, IA

    About the Author

    PJ Caposey has had a wide range of educational experiences throughout his career. Mr. Caposey’s educational career began by receiving the Golden Apple Scholarship in high school, which supports students in pursuing their dream to teach by providing scholarship money and training in return for a commitment to teach in a need-based area. Mr. Caposey did just that after completing his studies at Eastern Illinois University by teaching at Percy Lavon Julian High School in the inner-city of Chicago. After completing his administrative certification at National Louis University, Mr. Caposey served as an assistant principal in Rockford Public Schools before becoming the principal of Oregon High School at the age of 28. After arriving at Oregon High School, Mr. Caposey and the school received many honors. Personally, PJ was acknowledged by winning the Illinois Principal’s Association/Horace Mann Partners in Education Award and IPA Principal of the Year for NW Illinois. Additionally, Mr. Caposey personally has been selected as an Award of Merit winner by the Those Who Excel program sponsored by the Illinois State Board of Education, was honored as one of the nation’s top young educators when announced as an Honoree for the ASCD Outstanding Young Educator Award, and has been named an ASCD Emerging Leader. PJ was named one of 25 superintendents to watch nationally by NSPRA and won the INSPRA Distinguished Service Award of Excellence in 2016 as well as being named to the 40 Leaders under 40 cohort in the NW part of Illinois. More important, Oregon High School was named one of the nation’s top high schools by US News and World Report in 2012 and one of the top 2000 high schools in the country by Newsweek in 2013. Meridian has also been named a District of Distinction by District Administration magazine and is home to 1 of 20 schools in the nation named a School of Opportunity. PJ recently earned his doctoral degree through Western Illinois University and continues to write and guest blog for many websites such as Huffington Post, Eye on Education, ASCD, Edutopia, My Town Tutors, and Test Soup. PJ has also penned two books—his most recent co-authored with Todd Whitaker—named Building a Culture of Support: Strategies for School Leaders and Teach Smart: 11 Learner-Centered Strategies to Ensure Student Success. In addition, Mr. Caposey also serves as an adjunct professor for Aurora University within their educational leadership department and a principal coach for the Illinois Principals’ Association. PJ is a sought-after presenter, consultant, and professional development provider and has spoken at many local, state, and national conferences. A short list of those entities which PJ has presented on behalf of include ASCD, Illinois Principal’s Association, National Rural Educators Association, and AdvancEd. PJ also enjoys the opportunity to work in different consultative capacities for schools and other organizations. PJ served as the Oregon High School principal for four years and currently is in his third year as the superintendent of Meridian 223. He is married to a teacher who works with gifted students and lives with his four children: two sons, Jameson and Jackson; and twin toddlers, Anthony and Caroline, in the Northwestern part of Illinois.

  • Resource Suggestions-for-Improvement Bank

    Topic, Subject, Components

    Potential Suggestions for Improvement to Be Provided to the Teacher

    Content mastery and pedagogy

    • Work to not impose adult teaching preferences that may not align to how children think at given times

    Resource #1: Piaget’s Stages

    • Work to understand brain development and stages of development of students at given ages

    Resource #2: What’s the Brain Got to Do With It? 10 Brain Facts for Educators

    • Demonstrate mastery of content and truly appear to drive instruction instead of being the facilitator of a textbook or canned curriculum

    • Use data to drive what instructional strategy you use to deliver what content—do not fall into routines or ruts

    • The ability of a teacher to provide clear goals to begin any unit is essential. It demonstrates the teacher knows what is important and to be valued so that the students may know the same.

    Resource #3: Learning Outcomes

    • Intentionally work to develop content knowledge or pedagogical skill through your choice of the following

     ○ Online learning

     ○ Graduate courses

     ○ Conferences

     ○ Articles, books, etc.

    Data, knowledge of students, stage of development

    • Work so that students understand their own data and set ambitious, yet reasonable goals for themselves

    Resource #4: Setting Goals: Who, Why, How?

    • Give a survey and disaggregate results based on learning preferences, heritage, and student assessment of current skill at the beginning of semester or year

    Resource #5: A Questionnaire for Students on the First Day of School

    • Work to not impose adult teaching preferences that may not align to how children think at given times

    • Work to understand brain development and stages of development of students at given ages

    Resource #6: A Quick Guide to the Middle School Brain

    • Substantial student data are needed to determine the type and intensity of necessary intervention—work to gather such information for all students

    • Note that students in intervention should be expected to grow more than one year in that time frame given the additional time and intensity of service

    Resource #7: The Next Generation of Response to Intervention

    Instructional outcomes

    • Set a core goal for each unit

    • Use student contracts to outline specific goals

    Resource #8: Grades 6-8 Goal Setting

    • Employ true essential questions

    Resource #9: Essential Questions

    • Have students copy objectives each day and report out on their progress toward them sporadically during the unit

    • Have students commit to writing their expectation for performance against each stated outcome prior to a unit beginning

    Resource #10: Accelerate Student Achievement for All by Increasing Student Self-Assessment and Expectations

    • Clearly articulate learning outcomes daily and then measure student progress toward them. Once data is collected, make sure to adjust instruction, but leave instructional objectives firm

    • The teacher providing clear direction as to where student learning will lead increases student achievement

    • Plan for differentiation—do not just react. Create multiple pathways to success for each essential outcome and continue to build tools to ensure you can serve all learners

    Resource #11: Planning for Differentiation

    • Take time to learn what differentiation truly means on a deeper level.

    Resource #12: Carol Tomlinson Presentation

    Understanding available resources

    • Ensure that as a teacher you know all potential support systems available to a student in your district to provide intervention or enrichment

    • Be able to articulate how you matched resources to student skill level instead of simply accepting what was in the classroom

    Resource #13: Differentiating the Content

    • Create a log (electronic preferred) of available resources for all students

    • Identify one person outside of the school setting you can learn from and work with to better serve your students

    • Work to find mentors to match students with outside of the school environment. These can be professional mentors or simply someone to read with and to help with homework

    Resource #14: The ABCs of School-Based Mentoring

    Coherent instruction, grouping plans, lesson planning

    • Group students using a variety of criteria (academic data, common interest, past experience, introvert/extrovert)

    • Vary group sizes, roles within the group, and objective of the group setting

    Resource #15: Instruction Based on Cooperative Learning

    • Design work around positive interdependence, group processing, social skills, promoting face-to-face interaction, and understanding having responsibility to yourself and to the group

    Resource #16: Positive Interdependence, Individual Accountability, Promotive Interaction: Three Pillars of Cooperative Learning

    • Two quick examples are QAR and Think, Pair, Share

    Resource #17: Question Answer Relationship: Teaching Children Where to Seek Answers to Questions

    • Clear connections and goals are established linking their learning to desired outcomes and other disciplines when appropriate

    Resource #18: Aligning the Curriculum

    • Remember if you assign something and receive 25 similar products it was a recipe, not a project

    • Implement a tried and true lesson planning system or template such as Understanding by Design

    Resource #19: Making the Most of Understanding by Design: A Summary of Lessons Learned

    Designing assessment

    • Feedback should be provided in a timely and corrective manner (should inform kids as to how to improve)

    Resource #20: POD – Idea Center Notes

    • Find ways for student self-assessment to take place where teacher’s role is to validate student opinion

    Resource #21: The Effects of Self-Assessment on Academic Performance

    • Allow for student-led sessions to discuss overall feedback themes and allow for peer to peer teaching to take place based on general findings

    • Ensure student mastery over criteria being assessed to a point where they can predict their own performance—and have them communicate their expectations in writing

    • Formative assessment should align directly with both learning objectives and upcoming summative assessments

    Resource #22: Assessment Blueprint: Aligning an Assessment to Course Standards, Content, Skills, and Rigor

    • Formative assessments are only useful if that data are used to adjust teaching methods and/or provide additional support for struggling students

    Resource #23: The Impact of Formative Assessment and Learning Intentions on Student Achievement

    Classroom environment, teacher-student relationships

    • Earn trust by showing trust to students

    Resource #24: Building Trust With Students

    • Students do not care how much know until they know how much you care

    Resource #25: Building (and Maintaining) Rapport in the Classroom

    • Provide students with not only an objective, but also the WHY as to its importance and the HOW as to how they will need to show you they understand

    Resource #26: Examples of Organizational Why, How, What Strategy

    • View your job as creating a roadmap for learning for each child. The child should be able to tell you where they are at along the way (at any given time)

    Classroom culture

    Intentionally teach grit

    Resource # 27: Perseverance and Grit Can Be Taught

    • Personalize recognition for hard work and high-quality performance

    Resource #28: Tips for Encouraging Good Attendance in the Classroom Through Incentives and Recognition

    • Use PPP (Pause, Prompt, Praise) for students who are struggling or need additional scaffolding

    Resource #29: Pause, Prompt, Praise

    • Have students keep a weekly log of EFFORT and ACHIEVEMENT—provide feedback

    • Student expectations for their own performance is a great predictor of actual performance—create an environment and strategies for them to set their own standard which you support them in reaching as opposed to you setting the standard for them

    Resource #30: Not All Teaching Practices are Created Equal

    • For students to assume ownership of their learning, they must be given certain levels of autonomy and the ability to take risks

    Resource #31: Developing Responsible and Autonomous Learners: A Key to Motivating Success

    • Teacher provides laser like focus for students as to what needs to be learned, why it is important, and how they can demonstrate mastery

    Classroom procedures

    • Clear learning intentions apply to routines and classroom based skills as well as essential curricula. Clarity in expectations help to allow students to take ownership of classroom procedures

    Resource #32: Managing Classroom Procedures

    • Take time to teach the desired behavior and then demand it is executed

    • If you (the teacher) demonstrate how valuable class time is, the students will begin to value it as such as well

    Classroom management, student behavior

    • Clear, unwavering, equitable behavior expectations are the key to a well-managed class

    Resource #33: Frequent Monitoring and Student Recognition Whiteman Elementary School

    • Operate from the paradigm that students misbehaving are not doing so to disrespect you, but are acting out based on the crises taking place in other parts of their lives. Do not take it personal

    Resource #34: Trauma Informed Approaches to Classroom Management

    • Referrals are a part of the management process, however, they indicate that internal (classroom) management processes did not yield the desired results. Referrals mean that student behavior should change—and it should also indicate adult behavior should change

    Physical environment

    • Remove physical barriers between teacher and students

    • Spend more time among students than in front of them

    • Work tirelessly to ensure classroom accessibility for all students—should be a top priority when designing the physical layout of the classroom

    • Discussions work best when students can see other face-to-face. Given that classroom discussion is a high yield strategy keep that in mind when organizing your room

    • Add one new technology tool to your repertoire each month

    Resource #35: 15 Tech Tool Favorites From ISTE 2016

    Communicating with students; teacher clarity

    • Using metaphors and similes intentionally help to provide opportunities for connection for students—do so intentionally and daily

    • Clearly communicate the learning objectives in a manner students can use to ultimately self-assess their own learning

    Resource #36: Writing Measurable Learning Outcomes

    • Increase power and presence in speaking by eliminating pauses, Umms, Oks, You Knows, etc.

    Resource #37: Verbal Fillers in Public Speaking

    • Use explicit knowledge of student preferences to tailor individual instruction to their needs (skill deficiency—not learning style). This is particularly useful when working with struggling learners

    Resource #38: Is Learning Styles-Based Instruction Effective?

    • Set a core goal for each unit and each day, and explain why it is important and how students need to be demonstrate their understanding

    Resource #39: Six Strategies to Help Students Cite and Explain Evidence

    Questioning and discussion

    • Ask students to identify similarities and differences using Venn diagrams and other graphic organizers

    Resource #40: Venn Diagram Lesson

    • Have students use figurative language, metaphors, and similes to explain important concepts

    Resource #41: In a Manner of Speaking: Figurative Language and the Common Core

    • Make use of content frames or semantic feature analysis

    Resource #42: 11 Brilliant Ways To Frame Critical Content: A Complexities Chart

    Resource #43: Semantic Feature Analysis

    • Ask students to predict what would happen if one or two elements of a situation were changed

    Resource #44: Teaching Inference

    • Use the popsicle stick method of calling on students with a redundant system to provide “security” for students

    Resource #45: Popsicle Stick Method

    • Employ Hypothesis Proof note-taking

    Resource #46: Taking Column Notes

    • Employ at least a 5-second wait time after asking questions and NEVER answer your own question

    Resource #47: Wait Time and Education

    • Effective questioning can serve as ongoing formative assessment for the classroom as well as individuals

    Resource #48: Formative Assessment Strategies: Asking Powerful Questions for Greater Student Engagement

    • Question scaffold based on Bloom’s taxonomy

    Resource #49: Bloom’s Taxonomy

    • Teaching students the Piagetian stages of development and Bloom’s taxonomy explicitly will help students to think through their thinking

    Resource #50: Teaching Students Bloom’s Taxonomy

    • Remember: answering questions is a subtle way to formatively assess—call on non-volunteers

    • Script 3 to 5 higher order questions for each class period designed to instigate authentic classroom discussion

    Student engagement

    • All note-taking should involve a student-generated further questions and summarization section

    Resource #51: Introduction to Note-Taking

    • Employ graphic organizers—they force students to manipulate content instead of simply regurgitate

    Resource #52: Instructional Strategy Lessons for Educators

    • Strategies include:

     ○ Content Frames

    Resource #53: Content Frame

     ○ Semantic Feature Analysis

    Resource #54: Semantic Feature Analysis

     ○ KWL

    Resource #55: K-W-L (Know, Want to Know, Learned)

     ○ QAR

    Resource #56: Question-Answer Relationship (QAR)

     ○ Hypothesis Proof Note-Taking

    Resource #57: Column Notes

    • Formalize a goal-setting process that engages student in a daily self-assessment of their progress toward a goal

    Resource #58: Student Goal Settings on Pinterest

    • Script 3 to 5 higher order questions for each class period designed to instigate authentic classroom discussion

    Resource #59: Higher Order Thinking Questions

    Assessment, instructional assessment, formative assessment

    • Work to ensure that neither you nor a student is ever surprised by a student’s performance on an assessment

    Resource #60: The Best Value in Formative Assessment by Stephen Chappuis and Jan Chappuis

    • Formative assessment should directly tie to summative assessment which should directly tie to Essential Outcomes/Core Standards, etc.

    Resource #61: Assessment and the Teaching and Learning Cycle

    • Measurement of a lesson’s success should be the student progress toward the daily outcome—use a variety of strategies to measure

     ○ Exit tickets

    Resource #62: Exit Tickets: Checking for Understanding

     ○ Journal entries

    Resource #63: Learning From Formative Assessment by Jennifer Atkinson

     ○ Individual whiteboard responses

    Resource #64: Classroom Techniques: Formative Assessment by Kelly Goodrich

     ○ One minute essay

    Resource #65: The One-Minute Paper

     ○ Any number of tech-aided survey tools such as Kahoot or Flubaroo

    Resource #66: Find a Formative Assessment Tool in Kahoot!

    Resource #67: Google Docs + Flubaroo = Formative Assessment in a Snap

     ○ Three Facts and a Fib

    Resource #68: 3 Facts & a Fib

     ○ My Favorite No

    • Assessment data—both local and screener should guide intervention programs and SAT referrals

    Resource #69: Linking Progress Monitoring Results to Interventions by Jennifer N. Mahdavi and Diane Haager

    • Instruction should always change to meet the needs of students who have failed to master content as originally presented

    Resource #70: 3 Ways Student Data Can Inform Your Teaching by Rebecca Alber

    Teacher flexibility, teachable moments

    • Have the courage to allow students to stir the conversation and you as the expert can work to highlight teachable moments and reign in off-topic rants

    Resource #71: Embracing Teachable Moments by Gabby Ross

    • Learning matters more than coverage—always leverage opportunities to deeply engage your students

    • Work to create lesson plans that allow for adaptation and increased depth of conversation when appropriate

    • Teacher Excellence and Support System

    Resource #72: Possible Strategies to Enhance Instructional Practice


    • Great reflection is based on data, not feelings. Formative evaluation should fuel whether or not a teacher found the lesson effective or not

    Resource #73: Teaching Strategies: The Value of Self-Reflection by Janelle Cox

    • Employ micro-teaching

    Resource #74: John Hattie’s Top Ten Visible Learning Takeaways—Number Six: Microteaching

     ○ Video a lesson to get a better understanding of what actually is taking place during a lesson

     ○ Work with a cohort of teachers to observe each other and provide thorough feedback and suggestions for improvement

    • Improvement suggestions provided by the teacher indicate depth of thought and not just more of the same slower, faster, better, etc.

    Resource #75: Expanding Our Teaching Repertoire: Why Is It So Important and So Bloody Difficult?

    Record keeping

    • Students should have a responsibility in keeping their own records and progress toward stated goals

    Resource #76: The Art and Science of Teaching/When Students Track Their Progress by Robert J. Marzano

    • Grade books should be updated regularly—falling behind in grading is not appropriate

    Resource #77: Seven Keys to Effective Feedback by Grant Wiggins

    • Students can be in charge of creating late and missing work folders for students who are not in attendance

    Resource #78: The Absent Binder

    • Students can update social media and other electronic platforms with learning objectives, notes, and pending assignments

    Resource #79: Social Media in the Classroom: 16 Resources for 2015 by Joy Nelson

    Parent communication

    • No parent, student, or teacher should ever be surprised by a summative assessment score. Formative assessment should provide information to proactively address student skill deficiencies

    Resource #80: Proactive Parent Communication

    • Communicate based on the “Fence and 2” method. Anyone on the fence of an A or an F and/or anyone who has rapidly moved two grade values deserves attention—whether positive or negative

    • Employ student-led communication in all facets, including PTCs

    Resource #81: Implementing Student-Led Conferences in Your School by Patti Kinney

    • Leverage student technology to your advantage—if you have two minutes at the end of class, have students email their parents a current self-created progress report and CC you on the message

    Team mindset, role within the school, participating in a PLC

    • A poor district has no leadership, in a good district administration leads, in a great district—teachers lead. We need you. Find something you are passionate about

    Resource #82: The Importance of Learning From Other Teacher Leaders

     ○ Join a pre-existing committee

     ○ Drive work in an area you are passionate about

    Resource #83: Teaching and Leading from Within: A Courage & Renewal Program for Educators

     ○ Do not fear anything being too big or too small—if you are interested in brain based learning then start a group, etc.

    • Lead the effort to install a peer to peer observation practice in our schools

    Resource #84: Teachers Observing Teachers: A Professional Development Tool for Every School

    • Take time to micro-teach mini-lessons with colleagues providing feedback or video your own classroom to provide yourself a different perspective to inform future improvement efforts

    Read—Join a professional scholarly journal, go online and read educational blogs, or read some literature on education. Knowledge is power.

    Resource #85: Professional Development Tips for Teachers by Janelle Cox

    Participate—Go to educational conferences or workshops, or attend online seminars. Participation in these types of event will make you a more effective teacher.

    Join a Group—There are many groups you that you can join, online and off. All of these groups are a great source of information as well as inspiration. You can learn a lot from other professionals who have years of experience.

    Observe Your Peers—An effective teacher takes the time to observe other teachers. These teachers can be a great source of knowledge for you. You can find a new strategy to teach or behavior management plan to implement.

    Share—Once you have improved your performance, then you should share your knowledge with others. Contribute to your profession, and others will be thankful.


    • Be a champion for those traditionally underserved

    Resource #86: Teaching and Classroom Strategies for Homeless and Highly Mobile Students

    • Our goal is not equality, our goal is doing what it takes to ensure all kids are successful (equity)

    Resource #87: Equity vs. Equality: 6 Steps Toward Equity by Shane Safir

    • Do not allow work in teams, grade levels, or PLC to devolve into anything outside of talk that best meets the needs of our students

    Resource #88: Every School Has One: Principals Share Tips For Working With Negative People


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