Stating Goals

There are many reasons why explicitly stating learning goals is so important for both students and teachers.  During a professional development day, the staff at Iron Ridge Elementary Campus unpacked the idea of “stating goals” not only within the context of Daily 5, but across the curriculum as well.  Below is a link to our google presentation that includes our thoughts, current best practices, and ideas for future implementation focusing on why and how stating goals is essential within the learning process.

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Gradual Release of Responsibility


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Do you ever get a sneaking suspicion that this is what your students are feeling once they’ve been given a project or assignment?

Maybe it’s time to try Gradual Release of Responsibility.


Why is gradual release of responsibility an extremely effective structure in education?  Because it follows a map of transferring the learning process from the traditional “Holder of Information” (aka Teacher) to the students in a way that clearly sets them up for understanding, ownership and success.  Students assume confidence and responsibility when GRofR is done properly.  Note that the Gradual Release of Responsibility can happen within an individual lesson, but will most likely take a series of lessons to complete from beginning to end.


Above is a model of what Gradual Release of Responsibility can look like.  Notice how the lesson begins with a very high level of support from the teacher.  Once students are ready to do their independent work, the teacher needs to give very little or no support as the learner has been taught, modeled to, and worked together with guided assistance.  They have a deep understanding of what they need to do and how they can achieve their learning goal or skill.

Here is another simple graphic displaying the transfer of learning responsibility from the teacher to the student.


Yes.  Gradual Release of Responsibility takes extra time at the beginning of a lesson.  However the instances of teacher intervention and reteaching decreases significantly during the lesson.  Students have a solid plan of what they need to do, how they can achieve their learning goal, and they have a clear picture of what their final expectations are.  Teachers that use the Gradual Release of Responsibility empower their students and set them up for success with confidence and deep understandings.

Video and Writing

How can I get my students excited about writing?

Of course we all have those students who are naturally motivated writers, however we also all have those handful of kids that are…not.  I remember discussing this with my husband and he said that story writing was what he disliked most about school.  He could never think of anything to write about so it ended up a painful process for him.  Yes, we can give picture prompts and sentence starters and have brainstorming sessions and provide graphic organizers to help out, but I still ended up frustrated because I felt like I was constantly nagging some students to write.

Then, in February, I went to Google Summit in Edmonton.  One of the sessions I went to was  a YouTube in the Classroom presentation (Jim Sill).  It really got me to thinking about the impact video can make not only in terms of student creativity but in motivation and ideas.  I’ve used video several times these last few months to accompany writing projects (student blogs, story writing, journal writing, etc.) and it has absolutely made a difference in the quality of our writing.  The students seem to get much more excited to capture their visual images onto paper.  They have more schema to use their descriptive words and ideas and they are more open to write them down. Their work sounds more natural and their voice comes through much more clearly.

Here is a video that I was introduced to at that YouTube session.  I showed it to my students to kickstart strong story ideas.  They were so excited to not only get writing, but to share their stories when they were complete.  For some, this was one of the first times they’d felt success and pride for their written work.  We all loved this project, and I definitely attribute much of it’s sucess to the use of a great and purposeful video.–7ZVJmDVv4wsnzakgxuvD_vK