Whole School Improvement:
Implementing the Plan
November 21, 2011
Session Goals
• To examine and commit to effective instructional
leadership practices that support whole school
improvements in literacy and numeracy learning and
• To learn from and with each other and principals/teams
from schools working in and with similar circumstances
• To connect our individual and collective thinking during
the session to the implementation of our school action
• To expand networking among OFIP schools and build
upon shared knowledge and common learning needs
Opening Remarks
Mary Jean Gallagher
Chief Student Achievement Officer
Student Achievement Division
Assistant Deputy Minister of Education
Whole School Improvement Planning
Lucy West
Creating Our Learning
Taking a Learning Stance
Being present
Set a personal professional goal
Share your goal with colleagues in a quick
round robin
• Listen for themes; notice differences
• Allow the differences to be opening to
What gets in the way?
• Unwilling to admit we don’t know, pretense
of knowing, need to look smart, confusing
knowing with learning
• Thinking I have to do it myself; not
granting someone permission to teach us;
unwilling to ask for help; confusing
obedience/compliance with learning
• End-gaming, no time, urgency
What gets in the way?
• Believing our reality is reality; unwilling to
consider other perspectives
• Taking the obvious/traditional as
evidence—unwilling to question what is
• Feeling overwhelmed, frustrated,
impatient, anxious, distracted
• Being in a hurry, no time, unable to
prioritize what really matters
What are your obstacles to
• Please identify at least two obstacles that
might prevent you from learning today.
• Share those two obstacles with a partner
or two.
• Consider what you might do to overcome
your identified obstacles.
Self-Awareness to
• Notice when you lose focus-- BREATHE
• Notice when unclear, confused-- ASK
• Notice when disagree—WONDER
• Notice when taking things too seriously—
• Notice when judging/blaming/comparing-EMPATHIZE
Commitment to Learn
• Identify one strategy/habit of mind you
commit to practicing today.
• Name it.
• Describe it to a partner.
• Ask your partner for specific assistance in
attaining your goal.
• Notice if you actually ask for help or not.
Internal And External
• Our individual learning obstacles are
actually cultural—they are learned habits
• How do they show up in our
organizations—schools, boards, etc.
• What is the cost of engaging in cultural
norms that go against our professed
Failure is Essential
• The important experiences are all the
• It is our errors and mistakes that give us
the data we need to to learn and make
changes that bring us to solutions.
– Edgar Schein
• What happens when people make
mistakes in your school?
Share The Problem to
Invent the Solution
• Requires relinquishing some authority
• Requires accessing our ignorance
• Requires renegotiation and willingness to
be flexible
• Requires trust and respecting others to
have creative ideas and possible solutions
• Requires moving from a “hero” or “expert”
model to team models
• A team is defined by task interdependence
(not motivation or intention).
• A team is a number of people who are in a
perpetual, mutual, helping relationship.
• Do the adults in your school routinely help
each other deepen their content
knowledge and broaden their pedagogical
What are your guiding
• A consuming focus on instruction and evidence
of learning worth learning (TASK)
• Instructional change is a multi-stage process
that takes TIME and practice (Three to ten
Common Understanding
• Time and again, educators meet to try
to solve instructional problems without
a common understanding of what they
are trying to achieve in the classroom.
Instructional Rounds in Education
City, Elmore, Fiarman and Teitel
Common Definition of “Look Fors”
• It is now fairly typical for principals,
coaches, and professional developers
to periodically enter teachers’
classrooms for various purposes. It is
not typical for these various parties to
have a common definition of what they
are looking for.
Instructional Rounds in Education
City, Elmore, Fiarman and Teitel
Video 1
• Math Routine Pre-Kindergarten Class
• How many milks do we need for 16
• What is the evidence that students are
• What are the essential characteristics of
the teacher’s practice?
What did you value?
• Talk with your neighbors about what you
valued in the video clips.
• What do you wonder about and want more
information about in relation to this class?
• What judgments and conclusions did you
come to based on 3 minutes of clips?
Attendance Routine: Pre-kindergarten
Teacher: Keshawn, How many milks do you think we'll need
today for 16 children? Invitational.
Keshawn: 4.
T: You think we need 4, Keshawn? Affirming.
K: Yeah.
T: Why do you think we'll need 4 milks, Keshawn? Emphasis
on communicating the reason underlying his choice.
K: That will work.
T: You think that will work? You think 4 milks will work?
K: Yes.
T: Come on over and let's get 4 milks. Let's see if 4 milks will
work. Okay. Using his language, but posing a challenge to
all the children.
Attendance Routine: Pre-kindergarten
T: 1, 2, 3, 4.
Child: That not going to be enough.
T: You don't think it will be enough? I've given Keshawn four
milks. He thinks it will be enough for 16 children. Validating
another child’s statement. Highlighting Keshawn’s original
idea. Setting up a possible “mathematical” argument.
Child: Ms. Jackson ...the number for milks and the number for
children ...
T: What happened? Question to help the child identify what’s
K: It not enough.
T: Four milks were not enough milks for 16 children. Restating
to support language development and clarity of
Attendance Routine: Pre-kindergarten
Child; Ms. Jackson ...
T: Arkell didn't think it was going to be ... wait a minute,
Fausto. Arkell didn't think it was going to be enough milks
either. What should we do now, Keshawn? Question to
support problem solving, but emphasizing that it’s the
community’s problem also.
K: Count them.
D: Count what, Keshawn? What do you want us to count?
Eliciting specificity.
K: The milk that don't have milk.
D: The children who don't have milks? Rephrasing to
develop language and clarity.
Attendance Routine: Pre-kindergarten
Teacher: Herb?
Herb: The number ...
T: Do you think that will be enough? Focus is on
H: The number for milks and the number for
children are going to be the same.
T: Say that again. I'm sorry.
H: The number for milks and the number for
children are the same.
Video 2
• Turkey Problem--24 lb. Turkey--15
minutes per pound to cook--How long to
cook the turkey?
Video-Turkey Dinner
• Grade 3—prior to any teaching of any
multiplication algorithms
• END of Lesson: Sharing student work after
students have all solved the problem
• Teacher deliberately determines the order
in which selected partners will share.
Compare the 2 Clips
• What specific practices are common in
both clips?
• What must a teacher believe about
learning and about children to behave in
the ways these two teachers are
• What skill set would a teacher need to
have to teach content responsively rather
than prescriptively?
Adult Learning
• What are the parallels between how these
two teachers are orchestrating student
learning with how leaders might
orchestrate professional learning?
• Orchestrating professional learning (in
order to improve student learning) is the
central focus of management.
What is the essence?
• Read the transcript—what specific
“moves” is the teacher making to generate
student discussion?
• What role are the students playing?
Turkey Problem
• Dana: You guys, do you think you can come up
and show what you did? And remember, try and
explain it so we understand and then everybody
else needs to listen carefully. And if you have
questions or comments about Vicky or Amber’s
work we can ask them when they’re finished
explaining. (Dana sits with the children.) Setting
clear expectations and giving the audience a
Turkey Problem
D: And what is the 360?
Amber: How long it…
Vicky: 360
D: 360, and what does that mean, Vicky?
Vicky: That means that it is … you have to…
you have to let it cook for 360 minutes.
• D: 360 minutes. Stays focused on the meaning
of the answer
Turkey Problem
• D: 360 minutes. Who thinks they can explain how
Amber and Vicky figured this out? What did they do?
Rafe. Focusing students on each other’s
• Rafe: They counted by 15s all the way up to 36 [sic].
• D: Can you tell from there (the chart) how many 15s?
How many jumps of 15 they have to make? Focusing on
making sense of the representation and meaning of the
• Rafe: 24, because I can see the number sentence.
• D: And what did the number sentence say?
• Rafe: 15 x 24 = 360.
• D: Equals 360.
Turkey Problem
Rafe: 24, because I can see the number sentence.
D: And what did the number sentence say?
Rafe: 15 x 24 = 360.
D: Equals 360.
Turkey Problem
• D: Equals 360. Nellie, did you have something
to add? Facilitating talk among students
• Nellie: Yeah. I know what they did, but there’s
one thing that they didn’t figure out: how many
hours 360 is. Student critiquing another
student’s work
Turkey Problem
• D: How many hours 360 is. Without telling
Victoria and Amber how many hours um 360
minutes is, can somebody give them a clue
about how they might want to figure that out?
How could they figure that out? Emma F?
Giving the question to the students with
• Emma F.: I don’t know how to explain it,
but….how did they know when to stop?
• D: Well, that’s a great question. Fielding an
uptake question
Turkey Problem
• Vicky: Because…
• Amber: We counted 24 jumps. We counted
15, I mean 24 jumps.
• D: You counted 24 jumps. OK. Did you
understand that, Emma? How they did that …
they counted each jump and they counted 24
times. (nod from Emma) Let’s get back to the
clue. How could they figure out how many
hours they have to cook that? Mackenzie,
what do you think? Refocuses on previous
Additional Moves
• Asks three different students to give
clues—all three give similar clues in
different ways.
• Asks the presenting pair of students to go
back and improve/complete their work.
• Moves to a group that has a more
sophisticated solution.
Finding A Focus: Process
• What are we looking for when we enter
observe a lesson?
• Student thinking is observable in two
ways—orally and in writing.
• Talk includes academic language or
evidence of working toward us of language
• Talk patterns include student-to-student
Finding A Focus: Content
• What is the nature and characteristics of
the task students are being asked to do?
• Authentic, worthy, relevant, rich, focuses
on big ideas or essential questions, etc.
• Do all students have entry AND is the sky
the limit?
• Even when working on a “skill” the focus is
on making meaning through a search for
pattern, use of structure.
What are adults doing?
• Routinely watching each other teach
collaboratively planned lessons and
providing focused feedback on shared
practices (e.g. generating student
discourse; focusing on big ideas)
• Practicing using evidence of student
learning as the focus of the observation,
collecting verbatim notes to talk from.
What are adults doing?
• Non-defensively debriefing what happened
in the classroom in relation to the process
and content goals.
• Reflecting on how to work with students
who didn’t appear to understand and
where to go next with kids who did
• Refining the lesson to be used in the next
Instructional Leaders’ Roles
• Create the structures and cultivate the
environment of a learning culture
• Provide myriad ways for various groups to
meet around instruction and learning and
attend some of these meetings
• Provide coverage and opportunity for
people to observe one another in the act
of teacher and to then talk about it
Instructional Leaders’ Roles
• Stay focused for the long haul (3-5 years)
• Involve teachers and other stakeholders in
identifying the key 2-3 aspects of teaching
and learning that will be the focus (e.g. 1
process and 1 content)
• Visit classes to observe student learning
when not “evaluating teachers”
Turkey Problem
• Lines 23-30 –seven student exchanges
before Dana speaks again
From Naming to Spreading
Effective Instructional Practices
• How did Dana and Diane learn to teach in
a way that make student thinking visible?
• What might the parallels be when Dana
and Diane teach literacy?
• How do we spread the work from one
class to another?
• How do we spread the work from one
school to another?
Multi-step Complex Process
• Engaging all parties in learning—making
CULTURE visible to transform it
• Finding a high-leverage common focus—
improving instruction
• Creating a common understanding of
effective instruction
• Working on specific domino-effect aspects
of instruction and gathering evidence
Hierarchy of Interdependence
– The biggest multiculturalism that is going to
have to happen is within occupations rather
than between nationalities—occupations are
so rigid in how they prescribe how you are
supposed to relate to everyone else.
• Edgar Schein
– We have a 19the century curriculum; a early
20th century structure, and are trying to
accomplish 21st century goals
Networking at the break …
It’s Time to Talk to each other!
Seven Corner Topics
CORNER 1: Focus on mathematics.
CORNER 2: Coordinate and strengthen mathematics leadership.
CORNER 3: Build understanding of effective mathematics instruction.
CORNER 4: Support collaborative professional learning in
CORNER 5: Design a responsive mathematics learning environment.
CORNER 6: Provide assessment and evaluation in mathematics that
supports student learning.
CORNER 7: Facilitate access to mathematics learning resources.
A numeracy lens …
whole school improvement
Seven Foundational Principles for Improvement in
Mathematics, K - 12
• Number table participants 1 to 7
• Participants move to corner that has their number
taking Seven Foundational Principles with them
• Talking in groups of 2 or 3, discuss how the
statements relate to the numeracy component of the
school plan
A literacy lens …
whole school improvement
Extend your thinking to include literacy:
• Continue the discussion in the same group, discuss
how the statements relate to the literacy component
of the school plan
• Conclude this conversation by discussing literacy
and numeracy as part of integrated learning.
Bringing the discussions together…
• Return to table groups
• Each participant shares two key learnings from their
discussion corner
• Whole group discussion
Key Learning From The Morning
• How did the work of the morning connect to your
personal learning goal?
• How do we build stamina and the will to
persevere and what does this have to do with
• What does respect have to do with sharing the
problem, the teacher down the hall, and
engaging rather than judging?
• How do we connect values to actions —
School Team Discussions
Looking at the school plan and considering the
conversations so far …
• What questions or challenges are on your mind?
• What areas of the plan do you see as well-positioned for
moving forward as a whole school?
Discussion Groups
• System Roles
• Supervisory officers
• Share a question/challenge and an area positioned for
Bringing the conversation together …
reflecting on moving forward
• Return to home tables to share role
conversations with full table team
• As individual school teams work
together to respond to Reflecting on
the Day and Moving Forward
Connecting the Day …
Lucy West and Mike Jancik
Final Points
• Summary of the day’s learning
• Expenses
Have a safe trip home …
the learning journey continues.
Videos can be purchased from Heinemann:
• Fostering Students Mathematical Development K-2
(Kindergarten clip)
• Turkey Investigations, Grades 3-5 (Resource Package)
• Antonia Cameron, City College of New York, Maarten
Dolk, Freudenthal Institute, The Netherlands, Catherine
Twomey Fosnot, City College of New York, Sherrin B.
Hersch, City College of New York
• These products are part of the series: The
Mathematicians at Work Series