With an update to the 1/10/14 post, “The Power of Instructional Coaching – Round 1,” a LYS Assistant Principal continues the conversation.


Here is the update from the second round (November) of PowerWalks conversations.  For these conversations we used the following questions:

PowerWalk Conversations Round 2

1. Do you find daily Lesson Framing beneficial in your classroom? Who benefits more the teacher or the student? Explore.

2. In your classroom experiences, does student engagement rise or decline when you are in the Power Zone?  Explore.

3. In your classroom, what factors weigh heavily in to your students being on or off task?

4. How do you use Critical Writing in your classroom now and how can you use it going forward in your classroom?  Do you view using Critical Writing in your classroom favorably or unfavorably?

5. Any other questions the data presents to you?

What has surprised me the most is our teachers’ thoughts on the value of the Lesson Frame.  To a person, our teachers state they believe the Lesson Frame helps them focus their instruction for the day and keeps them on track to provide the essential elements of the lesson. That is a good thing, but their thoughts on how it helps our students has caused me some concern. 

Our teachers feel the students pay no attention to the Lesson Frame whatsoever.  I was surprised by these responses, as I would assume students would want to know the bottom line when they walk in to the classroom each day.  Some of our teachers have their Lesson Frames posted on fancy bulletin boards while others simply just write them on the white board each day.  I provide this information because I feel I can eliminate the presentation of the Lesson Frame as to why students are paying the Lesson Frame no attention.  I have asked students while visiting classrooms each day and rarely when asked “what they are doing today in class” do they reference the Lesson Frame.

I am not sure what to make of this information. While there is no doubting the value of the Lesson Frame when our teachers are lesson planning, which we require our teachers to do, are we asking our teachers to do needless work each day?

It is very possible I am over-thinking this issue, as I am known to do at times.  This consumes my professional thoughts only because we are seeing unprecedented buy-in this school year in the tenets of the Fundamental 5.  I just do not want to undermine the job you did at the beginning of the school year and our subsequent efforts afterwards if we are requiring our teachers to complete a task each day they believe our students find no value in it.  Your thoughts? 

SC Response This is the fun part, tackling the issues hidden behind the issue.  And I have to commend your staff’s use of probing and reflective questions during individual instructional coaching sessions. Without being there to observe what is occurring here are some issues that could be driving the lack of student response to Lesson Framing.

1. Lack of Understanding. If the teacher has neither shared with students the purpose of a Lesson Frame nor referred back to Lesson Frame during the lesson, then a Lesson Frame is just one more thing on the board.

2. New to Using. If the students have been informed / taught what the purpose of a Lesson Frame is, and the teacher refers back to it during the lesson (and this rarely is the case), then students simply may require more exposure to the practice.

3. Not Using the Appropriate Format. If the teacher is not using the “I will… We will…” format, then students may not be cueing to it.

3. Too Broad. If the Objective is so general that it could relate to anything taught in the course, then many students, rightfully, ignore the Lesson Frame.  It the Closing Question is really just the stuff that the student will complete during the class, then again, it is usually ignored by the student. 

4. Teachers not opening. If teachers do not verbally open the lesson by referencing the Lesson Frame, then students will be unaware of its usefulness.

5. Teachers not closing. If teachers do not close the lesson by having the students discuss or write the answer to the Closing Question, then the Lesson Frame is of little importance. I would suggest that less that 3% of the time is a lesson closed correctly on your campus.  Nationally, an appropriate lesson closure occurs less than 1% of the time.

6. Leading versus Lagging Indicator.  If none of issue above seems to be the cause, then your students just need more time.  The change in teacher practice is the leading indicator.  The lagging indicator is the change in student performance.  The older the child and the more haphazard the change in teacher practice, the longer it takes to notice the change in students.

Don’t quit.  The Lesson Frame is a critical high-yield practice.  There is a reason why the book wasn’t called “The Fundamental 4.”

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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