The FIP in Action: Advancing FIP through PLTS module shares the story of three teachers working together in their third grade PLT to plan and implement new standards using the four core components of FIP.
As I completed this FIP in Action module, it made me think of my experience working with the third grade team of teachers at McMullen School in Loudonville-Perrysville Exempted School District. Last year, I had the opportunity to embed myself into this third grade team to observe and join in on their work. This third grade team of teachers worked effectively as a team to implement the four core components of FIP, much like the third grade math PLT in the module. The McMullen third grade teachers were very adept at using data to inform their decision making regarding the upcoming English Language Arts Unit 4 implementation. Working together, the teachers identified areas of strength and weakness based on their data from the Unit 3 summative assessment and the Unit 4 pre-assessment. They decided to focus the ELA Unit 4 instruction on making connections before, during, and after reading and using visualization to support reading comprehension. They deconstructed the standards, created student-friendly learning targets, and decided on a learning progression. Students were given the clear learning targets for these standards in the form of Jan Chappuis’s Stars and Stairs strategy. The teachers posted large charts featuring the learning progression of learning targets for the two identified focus standards. The teachers gave each student a smaller version of the chart so that they could keep track of their learning.
These teachers are implementing many research-based best practices in reading. Research-based best practices are very symbiotic with FIP, generally designed for teachers to facilitate learning and students to take ownership of learning. Direct instruction was provided strategically but did not consume the entire lesson. Rather, students were very engaged in learning activities designed to promote student learning of specific learning targets. In addition, peer collaboration was expected and encouraged. The teacher used the best practice of “I Do, We Do, You Do” as the framework for their daily English Language Arts and mathematics lessons. This practice allows for and encourages student ownership of learning. In the “I Do” part of the lesson, the teacher provides direct instruction and directions for the work that students are going to do. In the “We Do” part of the lesson the teacher and students work collaboratively to ensure that all students know and understand the learning targets. In the “You Do” part of the lesson, students work independently to practice and provide evidence that they are learning or have mastered the learning targets.
During the English Language Arts period of instruction, the students visited a computer station, a writing station, an independent work station, and a guided reading station with their teacher; students stayed in the same group throughout the Unit 4 period of instruction. The teachers frequently pulled small groups of students together for differentiated instruction based on formative assessments done frequently during the week. In addition to the use of the “I Do, We Do, You Do” lesson framework, the teachers used many other research-based best practices in English Language Arts and mathematics. For example, I observed students learning with the use of graphic organizers, white boards, and computer programs.
These teachers were truly facilitating the learning of their students, and students were excited to take ownership of their learning. Students worked together, providing peer feedback to one another. I was quite impressed as students worked hard to prove to their teachers that they had mastered a learning target. The students were very invested in mastering learning targets so that they could move their post-it-note name card to the next level on the stars and stairs learning target poster and record their evidence in their personal student folder that went home every week for parents to view. Formative instructional practices are embedded in the culture of these third grade classrooms. Viewing FIP in Action: Advancing FIP Through PLTs will be useful for teams of teachers interested in implementing formative instructional practices.
Written by Sandra Sanderson. Sandra is a FIP Specialist for the Ohio Central Region, a part of a regional support system available to help your LEA advance the use of formative instructional practices.