More Than an Acronym

This blog post was written by Kristy Draher. Kristy is a Grade 8 ELA and Reading Teacher at London Middle School. 


Teaching is a profession of acronyms. I learned this early on in my college career. I had stacks of flashcards full of acronyms and their respective definitions. I could tell you what an IEP is, what IDEA stands for, and what the common symptoms of ADHD or ODD are. Even as recently as four years ago, however, I couldn't tell you what FIP stood for. While FIP (formative instructional practices) may be a newer acronym in the world of education, the culture behind a FIP school isn't. I use FIP in the classroom easily and effectively and the FIP practices have become part of my students’ and my daily routine.

When the students walk into my 8th grade classroom they know that they have to work to their fullest potential. They know where to locate the learning targets – they hear me use them in conversation, and they are able to explain the goal of the lesson. My students are actively engaged in their own learning, and are comfortable in assessing themselves. Using a quick and informal self-assessment process allows me to get an idea of where every student is, and who might need some reinforcement before moving on. This encompasses four of the FIP practices: students are engaged, students take ownership of their own learning, learning targets are clear, and feedback is effective.

I am passionate about teaching and even more passionate about guiding my eighth-graders to become well-rounded critical thinkers. The use of FIP in my classroom and in my building has created a culture that is student-driven. We have embraced the FIP philosophy, and it can be seen throughout all grade levels and subject areas.

Learn more about FIP here.