Gradual Release of Responsibility


image from

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.


Powerful Uses of Twitter

Twitter image2

By @mSchlemko & @sahlinvic

What It Means to be a Networked Educator

by Alec Couros via flickr

 Twitter in 60 Seconds

Twitter can…

  • Extend your personal learning network (PLN)
  • Keep you up to date on current research, trends and news
  • Give you access to new ideas about what you are passionate about
  • Help you get feedback from peers and experts
  • Connect you to global collaboration

Twitter is an excellent social media tool that allows you to do all of this in an instant.

twitter 2

Our Professional Journey

  • Daily professional development—PLCs extended
  • Help and support from peers and experts

Todd Whitaker

Michael Fullan

Mike Mattos

  • Chat groups based on my needs and areas I would like to grow and contribute


  • Answers/feed back from peers that understand the challenges of the education field
  • Global connections for myself and my students

@Ms.J’s Class

2J Twitter

  • Social connections with others globally, locally and within your own building




Traci Landry (@tlandrydtsd)
11-08-22 2:29 PM I think being on twitter is like attending the best conference in the world and you get to pick the speakers.

IREC Teacher Reflection


Why Twitter for Schools?

Iron Ridge Elementary Campus



  • Engages parents & community
  • Changes that stories about school
  • Educates parents & community about current pedagogy


  • Starting to use for collecting & reflecting on data


5 Reasons to Use Hashtags to Gather Data

Digital Citizenship

What do you need to think about in the area of digital citizenship for yourself, your staff and for your students?

Livebinder 7 Habits of Digital Citizenship

WCPS Digital Citizenship Resources

Connected Kids by Mark McWhinnie WCPS

How to Get Started with Twitter and Building Your PLN

Video: Twitter for Teachers – Part 1 – Setting up Your Twitter Account

Twitter for Teachers – Part 1 from shannon smith on Vimeo.

Video:Twitter for Teachers – Part 2 – Creating Your Twitter Profile, Sending a Tweet and Replying to a Tweet.

Twitter for Teachers – Part 2 from shannon smith on Vimeo.

Video: Twitter for Teachers – Part 3 – Retweeting, Favorites and adding to your PLN

Twitter for Teachers – Part 3 from shannon smith on Vimeo.

Useful Twitter Links

Twitter for Educators:  A Beginners Guide

28 Ways Teachers are Using Twitter in the Classroom

Welcome to The Twitter4Teachers Wiki!

Reflections of Pedagogy, Technology & Change

“When you are engaged with others doing something meaningful, you can accomplish wonders.” (pp. 70). This quote is from a book by Michael Fullan called Stratosphere. From my perspective, this describes our journey at our school.

Our staff often celebrate and reflect what we have accomplished via collaboration. Our lead team (admin, special education facilitator/coach, & instructional/tech coach) also get together to reflect. The number one celebration theme for the past few years continues to be common language amongst staff, students and parents.  It started with the 7Habits language, then it gained momentum with the comprehension/thinking strategies and the gradual release pedagogy and now it’s carrying on with the DAILY 5 structure as well as purposeful technology integration including class blogs, student blogs and BYOD in  K-4 environment. Here is some of our baseline data for pedagogical change throughout the last few years:

  • All staff read The Leader in Me by Stephen R. Covey and were trained in the 7Habits

  • Some school council members read The Leader in Me

  • All staff collaborated on developing mission/vision

  • School council educated in 7Habits & digital citizenship

  • All staff read Reading for Meaning by Debbie Miller book and some read Strategies that Work by S. Harvey & A. Goudvis to extend their learning

  • All staff in-serviced and instructing comprehension strategies with common language

  • All staff teaching using gradual release of responsibility model to set up instruction for small groups and individuals

  • All staff assessing literacy using the Fountas & Pinnell system

  • All staff educated and implement our 7Habits of Digital Citizenship

  • All staff have class blogs and some also are exploring with student blogs

  • Grade 1-4 class implement BYOD

  • ¾ staff have been in-serviced in Daily 5 by “The Sisters”

  • All staff moving towards flexible classroom space/environment

  • School has been leveraging social media to:

    • develop professional growth

    • connect classrooms globally

    • engage parents and community

As I read Stratosphere by Michael Fullan, I realize even more what an incredible journey- pedagogically & technologically- we are traveling. Fullan states that “Pedagogy, technology, and change knowledge operating in concert will become a powerhouse of learning.” (pp.71).  I believe we are beginning to experience this:

1. Pedagogical change by implementing comprehension/thinking strategies within a gradual release of a responsibility model and flexible classroom environment model.

2. Technology integration by having the opportunity to facilitate our U21C project: Pedagogy First that provided time and support for teachers to collaborate.

3. Change knowledge by purposefully planning, innovating and building capacity: “…leadership and teaching is proactive in the sense of helping other people create a world they didn’t know they wanted.” (pp. 68).

It’s exciting work!

* Cross post from

IREC’s Excellent Learning Environments Journey

photoAs a school division our  (AISI) Alberta Initiative for School Improvement initiative is to create Excellent Learning Environment for all learners. We are in the first year of a three year cycle for this goal. In year one, our goal is to obtain a working knowledge of the 12 ELEs. This means that we can have a conversations around the ELEs, understand the vocabulary and be able to visualize what each component would look like in a classroom. In year two and three, we will dive even deeper into further creating Excellent Learning Environments in our classrooms.


Excellent Learning Environments (ELEs) are:


Where are we at?

As a school we felt we have a good working knowledge of the 12 ELEs. This is due, in part, to the past 4 AISI cycles providing us  knowledge and understanding around many of the 12 components one at a  time. Therefore, each Professional Learning Team (PLT) has  chosen  one ELE   to work on deepening their understanding, building their skill set and exploring their new knowledge. Each teams goals are posted in the previous post  IREC Education Plan 2012-2013 Goal 2.


As a school we have chosen to research and implement new knowledge around ELE #1 – Culture and Expectations.

As well as, gain new knowledge and a better working understanding in ELE #4 – Planning; Utilizing a Backwards Design Framework.

Culture and Expectations:AISI 6

When we discuss culture and expectations we don’t only mean are the students happy and safe (which we truly know is important).  We are  also discussing is the classroom and the school set up in a way that allows teachers the time to work with students individually or in a small group setting. Do the other children have meaningful learning activities to take part in? Have they worked together with their class to build their independence and their excellent work habits? Is their differentiated learning opportunities for all learning needs?


As the AISI Leader I am fortunate to attend monthly AISI meetings where we have the opportunity to do in depth learning and hands on activities to build my understanding of each ELE. This allows me to bring the knowledge that our leadership team identifies as a need for us back to our staff. I work very closely with the other members of our leadership team to plan and carry out professional learning opportunities for our staff. We meet on a regular basis to plan and discuss how we are doing within our own school setting.