November 30 – Responsive Teaching

Today’s CRM session was all about responsive teaching.

Responsive to what you ask?

One of the critical components of ensuring that a process like CRM works, is that the process needs to be responsive to the needs of students, as well as to the needs of the teachers supporting them.

Early in October, all of our students in 5-8  (we are using the tool in 2-10 across the division)were required to complete the MIPI…Math Intervention Programming Instrument, created by EPSB, is a screening tool is based on the early level outcomes from the previous year. There are three goals that we are focused on at the school

  1. Inform Instruction
  2. Provide timely information to identify student needs  for planning and instruction
  3. Initiate collaboration and conversation amongst teachers at the school and district level

As part of CRM in early November, with the assistance of the school lead and division consultants, teachers had embedded time to graph and analyze the data and begin to see the correlations within their grade and as well, gaps that were on the continuum of 5-8.

One of the expectations during the results analysis as well as next steps was the requirement that all subject area teachers were in the sessions.  The necessity that all teachers have an understanding of the difficulties students were having, as well as their ability to place math and then numeracy strategies into their subject areas was magical.  For example the grade 7 teachers discussed collaborated on  how each of them specifically could add math to science, social and Language Arts.  Todays focus was what teachers want and need.  “What do I do with the data, and how will I do it?”  Collaboratively, of course!

Grade 5 Teacher’s response to the data

  1. Refresher
  2. Use stations to refine skills and focus students showing you what they know
  3. 15 minutes/station (60 minutes – 20 minutes of wiggle room)



Unit of Study Teacher table Technology Games Word Problems/Basic Facts
Practice skills worked on during the week Journals

Teacher questioning

Picture prompts

4 square (solve, explain, draw)


See Guided Math

partner/group games Worksheet

Student created

Vocabulary practice (sum, addition, etc.)

exploration/inquiry questions


Grade 8

Academic Vocabulary Science

  • perfect squares
  • square roots
  • squares
  • percents
  • Ratios (concentration)
  • rate
  • proportional reasoning
  • positive fractions
  • mixed numbers
  • integers
  • concretely
  • 3D objects
  • surface area
  • rectangular prism
  • triangular prism
  • right cylinders
  • volume
  • congruence
  • polygons
  • circle graphs
  • line graphs
  • bar graphs
  • pictorially
  • symbolically
  • Two-variable
    • Related but need to think of the word in the specific context
  • linear-relations
  • pythagorean’s theorem
  • nets
  • pictographs
  • probability

When we talk about what collaborative response really is, Hewson states that this shift of moving from sole to collective responsibility and perspective is at the heart of collaboration.  We believe that too.  We continue to challenge the status quo and change culture…one week at a time.

Always more to learn…..

Monday was a fabulous day.  As a school team, consisting of myself, my assistant principal/facilitator, the school counselor/grade 5 teacher as well as a grade 7 lead teacher, we attending the first session of Kurtis Hewson’s CRM for School Leadership Teams. This first session was on ensuring effective CRM meetings, and we were not disappointed.

I signed the OLA school team up for this series of sessions as I instinctively knew that I wasn’t able to fully articulate exactly what CRM is or the benefits of adopting this process.  How do you effectively ‘tell’ a staff about a process that will transform teaching and learning for both themselves and for their students without getting the eye-rolling, glazed look from staff thinking  “ugh – one- more-thing-to-do”  look?

So I signed them up and took them to the source. We attended, participated, laughed, and enjoyed many ah-ha moments throughout the day. We’ve planned next steps, and are committed to effective CRM meetings and moving slow to go fast.

Despite being a part of CRM for the past 5 years, I thought that I might hear a few new things, or ideas and wanted to attend to support my new staff.  Was I surprised!   I was excited to dig in and get moving with ideas and supports for the staff, as well as fresh ideas on how to support staff and students and run CRM effectively in the school.

Many of Kurtis’ methods beg repeating, but my take-homes include:

  • CRM is a process that fits every school demographic, K-12
  • Don’t forget to keep asking the “what if’s“?  “What would happen if we tried this?”  “What would we see if”?
  • Administrators MUST be part of the process for CRM to work
  • CRM is not RTI ( response to intervention)
  • CRM supports the progress of ALL students and the development of ALL staff

But the best one?

Currently, Collective Teacher Efficacy has the 2nd highest ranking for affecting student learning in the classroom.  According to John Hattie, (who developed a way of ranking various influences in different meta-analyses related to learning and achievement according to their effect sizes), visible learning and teaching occurs when teachers see learning through the eyes of students and help them become their own teachers.

Now if that isn’t enough for supporting CRM, I don’t know what is……..


Beginning CRM…our first step into the challenge!

Wow – what a day!  Our first day with the CRM model at OLA and the teachers seemed both overwhelmed and excited.  We started our model with 80 minutes for each grade group ( above you will see our grade 7 staff as well as some of our division consultants) as we worked through the topic of Assessment.  Teachers had time to dialogue about what was working in their practice as well as where they will need supports to guide their teaching and student learning.

Thinking back to the process of CRM when it first began in my past school, I recall that one of the main goals of the process was to begin to develop common language and consistent practices throughout the school.  Beginning at OLA, this first step is also the first one that my AP and I wanted to embrace.  Often, with so many initiatives and practices in a school and division, teachers receive PD and some support, however after the PD and collaboration ends, teachers are again left on their own to work in isolation.

Working smarter, not harder, it’s up to the School Leaders to find ways to ensure that staff receive continued support for all the expectations that are placed on them – both professionally and personally.

Some think that embedding time for CRM has to be done prior to scheduling options, gym and library time as well as timetabling recesses, lunches and supervision.  Yes, that would be idea.  However with my moving to a school after all the scheduling had been done, we were still able to create time for all teachers to meet 80 minutes each week, during the school day to collaborate and support students.  It can be done and still run a balanced school budget. How you ask?  Stay tuned for more info.

I am also part of the Edmonton Regional Learning Constortium Community of Practice for CRM with Kurtis Hewson et al.  To sign up for this exciting endeavour and to see the CRM practice in a variety of settings be sure to sign up for the series. Click here for more info.