FIP Video of the Week


8th grade ELA teacher, Mrs. Stewart, explains how she uses rotating stations in her classroom to collect and document evidence of student learning.


  • How does Mrs. Stewart create a classroom environment that fosters student ownership of learning?


  • How do you assess individual students' progress in a large class?


  • What will you do to create a classroom environment that allows for collecting and documenting evidence of student learning?


This blog post was written by Kathy Sturges. Kathy is a FIP Specialist for the Southwest Region, a part of a regional support system available to help your LEA advance the use of formative instructional practices. 



Richard Allen Schools is on a mission to "eye" FIP in every classroom and they are well on their way!

Staff members leave a "FIP Slip" when they spot FIP happening anywhere in the school.

Staff members leave a "FIP Slip" when they spot FIP happening anywhere in the school.

This year, as part of the FIP Implementation Plan, the Richard Allen Schools in Dayton and Hamilton, OH identified a core team to deepen their learning. This professional learning community (PLC) identified specific learning targets for themselves. They devote personal learning time, between weekly FIP team meetings, to deepen their understanding of FIP content. They utilize the resources on the FIP Your School Ohio website, including the FIP learning modules, videos, file room and the blog to differentiate their personal learning goals.

During the three hour weekly FIP team meetings, they spend time synthesizing the collective learning and considering ways to support colleagues in the use of FIP. In an effort to move away from a compliance approach to professional learning and towards a true formative learning system, the PLC thought they could better encourage involvement by spotlighting classrooms where evidence of FIP was seen.

A highly creative and artistic FIP team member created the “FIP slip” to visibly mark the classrooms where FIP was spotted. During their daily work, FIP team members look and listen for evidence of those practices being implemented in classrooms throughout the schools. “Eyeing FIP” slips are placed just outside classrooms where FIP is noticed. The staff love being recognized and some have even become competitive about getting “eyed.”

In the past, teachers were required to engage in the FIP Foundation modules with reflective conversations occurring during wavier day activities. This particular mode of implementation showed little change in practice however. But, when actual examples of FIP are recognized, teachers have begun to show more confidence in their practices and have been more willing to share their FIP success stories with others.

The FIP team continues to meet weekly and frames their work around: confirming their personal learning; confirming their practice; and confirming their commitment to grow FIP throughout the Richard Allen Schools.

The burning question is, who will be “eyed” next?

FIP Video of the Week

Leading a FIP District

Hear from the superintendent, principal, and assistant principal at East Muskingum Middle School to learn about their journey with formative instructional practices.


  • What processes need to be in place for teacher and leader collaboration to occur?
  • What commitments need to be made by leadership to promote district-wide reform?


  • If you visited a FIP classroom, what would you expect to see?
  • How do you avoid not “wasting time” teaching what students already know?


  • Whether you are an assigned leader or an informal leader, how will you move the FIP process forward in your school or district?
  • What steps will you take to ensure that students know where they are going, where they are in the learning, and what they need to do to close gaps in learning?




FIP: From Learning Targets to Student Ownership

This blog post was written by Neil Roseberry. Neil is a FIP Specialist for the Northeast Region, a part of a regional support system available to help your LEA advance the use of formative instructional practices. 

In April, we visited the classroom of 3rd grade teacher, Michelle LaGruth, at Falls-Lenox Primary School to examine what FIP looked like in her classroom. Nine months later we returned to follow up.

Since our last meeting, how have Formative Instructional Practices changed in your classroom?

“I think that the biggest difference is that I now plan all of my lessons around the learning targets and am able to differentiate those targets in a more effective way than I did before. I still want to get better at providing the correct targets for each student based on their needs. That is the most difficult part! I have found that the students really have become dependent on the learning target to understand where they are headed. I have also heard parents asking about learning targets. My student feedback has also changed a bit. I have found that I am doing a better job of connecting the feedback directly to each learning target. Before, my feedback would sometimes stray away from the target and students were probably receiving too much feedback. Although it has been difficult, I have really worked on highlighting only one or two things at a time for students to improve upon.”

Have you noticed any other changes with student achievement?

“One thing that has definitely changed is the way students talk now. I mentioned that I hear parents asking about learning targets, but students are also talking the same language. Since the district set the two goals of clear learning targets and effective feedback in all classes K-12, you can see and hear the difference in student focus. We have seen this effect their achievement. Our BLT (Building Leadership Team) has been tracking data and we can see real achievement differences since the building and the district has taken on these goals. I believe it has been so important for us to have a vision and understand that we are all (K-12) headed in the same direction!”

How do the students in your classroom take ownership of their work and their achievement?

“We, as a grade level unit, have worked on this and continue to improve it as we speak. The first thing we have done is to make sure that students understand where they are achieving as it relates to the learning target. In some cases, we then have students set a goal for their improvement. It can be an individual goal that is achievable for them. Although I don’t do it for every subject, for some subjects, like math, I have the students chart their growth based on the learning target and their goal. That way they can see exactly how much they have improved. I started with math because it seemed to be the easiest to adapt to this process. Other teachers at my grade level have used the idea to chart improvement in other areas. We also have started to include the students in meetings we have with parents. The students become a major part of the process. Because of this, they are more focused on their goals and achievement. “

What have you found to be the most challenging part of implementing Formative Instructional Practices?

“To be honest, I can answer that in one word - time. We never seem to have enough time; time to plan, time to collaborate, time to conference with students, time to just reflect on our practices. There is so much being thrown at us right now that sometimes I think my head will explode. With the amount of testing that is taking place to the implementation of OTES, we sometimes have very little time to just focus on instruction. I really wish that there were not so many things because I can see the importance of all we have talked about, but sometimes don’t have the time to implement or improve what I need to.”

What are the next steps for you and your classroom?

“I plan to continue to improve in all the areas we have discussed. I want to find better ways to provide the correct learning targets and to assess that students really understand where they are and where they are going. There are so many more techniques that I can try to implement that will help the students become more a part of the learning process. I also want to continue to help the parents understand that we are looking for mastery of knowledge!

Just one of the ways the students track their progress on specific learning targets.

Just one of the ways the students track their progress on specific learning targets.

Mrs. LaGruth is a 3rd grade teacher at Falls-Lenox Primary School. The school is a first through third grade building in the Olmsted Falls City School District. The District serves 3,800 students and is located 19 miles west of downtown Cleveland.

FIP Video of the Week

The Formative Classroom

Mr. Kelsey explains what it means to have a formative classroom and why it's important for all educators to be using formative instructional practices.


  • What are the formative practices that are a natural part of band class?
  • What is the importance of immediate feedback in helping students reach expectations?
  • Why does Mr. Kelsey not grade every performance?


  • How do you provide immediate feedback to your students?
  • How can you apply what Mr. Kelsey does to the grade and subject that you teach?
  • What types of ungraded practice are prevalent in your classroom?


  • How will you make formative practices a natural part of your classroom?
  • How will you build a classroom culture that allows for students to do work that is formative and ungraded?

New Tool: Course Selector

When I talk to my teacher friends and family members about FIP Your School Ohio, they often ask me which resources are the best ones for them.

There are so many modules, which one should I take? Are there guides or handouts I could share with my team? I saw that blog post you wrote, but is there anything else for my grade level?  

Because we're connected, I'm usually able to answer their questions and match their grade levels, subject areas, and interests with the modules or resources that would be just perfect for them.

Here’s a prime example: about a year ago, I suggested to my mom – who teaches first grade in Oakwood City Schools – that she complete FIP in Action: Mathematics, Grade 1—Problem Solving Adding Three Numbers. It was a module was completely new to her, and she used it to prepare for an observation with her principal. She thought the module was extremely valuable, so she even walked her team through the module during one of their professional development days. You can read a little bit more about her experiences with FIP and teaching here.

But my experience with suggesting modules is not unique! Everyone on the FIP Your School Ohio team is always making these kinds of recommendations for the teachers in their lives. So based on our success working with the educators we know, we wanted to create a way to help everybody find these “perfect for you” resources to easily personalize your learning.

After a couple of months of hard work, we are so happy to announce the debut of the FIP Course Selector! For every grade level, subject area, interest, and experience level with formative instructional practices, FIP Your School Ohio provides professional learning modules for educators across the state. Now, you can create your own unique learning path aligned to your professional experiences and needs with the Course Selector tool.

An Example of Using The Course Selector for Personalized Learning