Sometimes we are asked to read a book that isn’t on our radar of interests. There is no option but to find a way to plow through the first few pages. It is my experience, that sometimes this is the only way to get into the depth of learning that a book can provide (and passed the mind’s negative thoughts about being asked to do one more thing on our already full plates).
This was certainly the case with the book, ‘Visible Learning for Literacy’ by Fisher, Frey, and Hattie. The opening of the book runs the gauntlet of information on Hattie’s already published workaround effect size. My mind was not in a place to absorb the ideas of effect size when I have competing voices telling me what works and what doesn’t in the classroom.
But, as I said to a colleague when I got into the meat of the book, there is really a lot of good information on the pages that are worth reading.
From a discussion about what teachers need to do to what student opportunities should be available, there were a lot of ideas to wrestle.
Some of the ideas presented in the final chapters really hit home. In my entire career, I have always completed the pre-assessments of my students. But my current school environment doesn’t require them and more importantly, my content colleagues don’t see value in them. What that meant was I for the first time was convince to let something go that I believed in.
In these pages I found the evidence and ammunition to return to my colleagues stronger. There is value in pre-assessments. And our Common Formative Assessment discussion will be richer for it. Because as you’ll find in the pages of this book – how can you discuss results and what is/isn’t working if you don’t know where the students were, to begin with.
Even though I have no idea what education will look like in the fall, I know one thing: my students will complete a pre-unit assessment.
Armed with the data of what the students know/don’t know I can then do a better job of hitting the other marks outlined in the book – scaffolding instruction, tailoring learning opportunities, and supporting surface and deep learning for all students.
One of the biggest take-aways from the reading is that what and how we, as teachers, monitor and instruct really matters if we want students to learn. And most importantly we need to be thinkers that care and want to improve for our students sake (and maybe even the future’s sake).