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About Douglas Fisher
I am a Professor of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University (www.sdsu.edu) and a teacher-leader at Health Sciences High & Middle College. (www.hshsmc.org). I focus my work on improving students' learning and impacting professional learning communities. I write to clarify my own thinking and to share what I have learned from my experiences with teachers and educators around the world.
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Classroom management is traditionally a matter of encouraging good behavior and discouraging bad by doling out rewards and punishments. But studies show that when educators empower students to address and correct misbehavior among themselves, positive results are longer lasting and more wide reaching. In Better Than Carrots or Sticks, longtime educators and best-selling authors Dominique Smith, Douglas Fisher, and Nancy Frey provide a practical blueprint for creating a cooperative and respectful classroom climate in which students and teachers work through behavioral issues together. After a comprehensive overview of the roots of the restorative practices movement in schools, the authors explain how to
* Establish procedures and expectations for student behavior that encourage the development of positive interpersonal skills;
* Develop a nonconfrontational rapport with even the most challenging students; and
* Implement conflict resolution strategies that prioritize relationship building and mutual understanding over finger-pointing and retribution.
Rewards and punishments may help to maintain order in the short term, but they're at best superficially effective and at worst counterproductive. This book will prepare teachers at all levels to ensure that their classrooms are welcoming, enriching, and constructive environments built on collective respect and focused on student achievement.
Translate the science of learning into strategies for maximum learning impact in your classroom.
The content, skills, and understandings students need to learn today are as diverse, complex, and multidimensional as the students in our classrooms. How can educators best create the learning experiences students need to truly learn?
How Learning Works: A Playbook unpacks the science of how students learn and translates that knowledge into promising principles or practices that can be implemented in the classroom or utilized by students on their own learning journey. Designed to help educators create learning experiences that better align with how learning works, each module in this playbook is grounded in research and features prompts, tools, practice exercises, and discussion strategies that help teachers to
- Describe what is meant by learning in the local context of your classroom, including identifying any barriers to learning.
- Adapt promising principles and practices to meet the specific needs of your students—particularly regarding motivation, attention, encoding, retrieval and practice, cognitive load and memory, productive struggle, and feedback.
- Translate research on learning into learning strategies that accelerate learning and build students’ capacity to take ownership of their own learning—such as summarizing, spaced practice, interleaved practice, elaborate interrogation, and transfer strategies.
- Generate and gather evidence of impact by engaging students in reciprocal teaching and effective feedback on learning.
Rich with resources that support the process of parlaying scientific findings into classroom practice, this playbook offers all the moves teachers need to design learning experiences that work for all students!
Winner of AM&P EXCEL Bronze Award
Your Students, My Students, Our Students explores the hard truths of current special education practice and outlines five essential disruptions to the status quo. Authors Lee Ann Jung, Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher, and Julie Kroener show you how to
- Establish a school culture that champions equity and inclusion.
- Rethink the long-standing structure of least restrictive environment and the resulting service delivery.
- Leverage the strengths of all educators to provide appropriate support and challenge.
- Collaborate on the delivery of instruction and intervention.
- Honor the aspirations of each student and plan accordingly.
To realize authentic and equitable inclusion, we must relentlessly and collectively pursue change. This book—written not for "special educators" or "general educators" but for all educators—addresses the challenges, maps out the solutions, and provides tools and inspiration for the work ahead. Real-life examples of empowerment and success illustrate just what's possible when educators commit to the belief that every student belongs to all of us and all students deserve learning experiences that will equip them to live full and rewarding lives.
Students learn to read and write best when their teachers balance literacy instruction. But how do you strike the right balance of skills and knowledge, reading and writing, small and whole group instruction, and direct and dialogic instruction, so that all students can learn to their maximum potential?
The answer lies in the intentional design of learning activities, purposeful selection of instructional materials, evidence-based teaching methods, and in strategic groupings of students based on assessment data. Together, these create the perfect balance of high impact learning experiences that engage and excite learners. In this hands-on essential guide, best-selling authors Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and Nancy Akhavan help you define that balance for your students, lighting the path to implementing balanced literacy in your classroom. Their plan empowers you to integrate evidence-based approaches that include:
• Instructional materials comprised of both informational and narrative texts.
• The best uses of instructional delivery modes, including direct and dialogic instruction.
• Grouping patterns that work best to accomplish learning aims for different learners at different stages.
• Instruction in foundational skills and meaning making, including oral language, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency,
vocabulary, comprehension, and writing.
• Technology used as a tool for increasing learning of a specific literary process.
All the tips and tools you need to realize the goal of balanced literacy learning are included, with classroom videos that show strategies in action. Tap your intuition, collaborate with your peers, and put the research-based strategies embedded in this roadmap to work in your classroom to implement or deepen a strong, successful balanced literacy program. Grow as a reading and writing teacher while leading your students to grow as readers and writers.
"Every student deserves a great teacher, not by chance, but by design" — Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, & John Hattie
What if someone slipped you a piece of paper listing the literacy practices that ensure students demonstrate more than a year’s worth of learning for a year spent in school? Would you keep the paper or throw it away?
We think you’d keep it. And that’s precisely why acclaimed educators Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie wrote Visible Learning for Literacy. They know teachers will want to apply Hattie’s head-turning synthesis of more than 15 years of research involving millions of students, which he used to identify the instructional routines that have the biggest impact on student learning.
These practices are "visible" for teachers and students to see, because their purpose has been made clear, they are implemented at the right moment in a student’s learning, and their effect is tangible. Yes, the "aha" moments made visible by design.
With their trademark clarity and command of the research, and dozens of classroom scenarios to make it all replicable, these authors apply Hattie’s research, and show you:
- How to use the right approach at the right time, so that you can more intentionally design classroom experiences that hit the surface, deep, and transfer phases of learning, and more expertly see when a student is ready to dive from surface to deep.
- Which routines are most effective at specific phases of learning, including word sorts, concept mapping, close reading, annotating, discussion, formative assessment, feedback, collaborative learning, reciprocal teaching, and many more.
- Why the 8 mind frames for teachers apply so well to curriculum planning and can inspire you to be a change agent in students’ lives—and part of a faculty that embraces the idea that visible teaching is a continual evaluation of one’s impact on student’s learning.
"Teachers, it’s time we embrace the evidence, update our classrooms, and impact student learning in wildly positive ways," say Doug, Nancy, and John. So let’s see Visible Learning for Literacy for what it is: the book that renews our teaching and reminds us of our influence, just in time.
Watch: An Introduction to the Teacher Clarity Playbook
On a clear day, you can learn forever— that’s the adapted lyric you’ll be happily humming once you’ve covered this playbook, because you will have mastered using learning intentions and success criteria, the twin engines of Teacher Clarity. This template-filled guide shows you how to own it, do it, and live it—and your students will be more successful as a result.
Teacher clarity is both a method and a mindset, and it has an impressive effect size of 0.75 (Hattie, 2009). "It’s teaching that is organized and intentional," explain Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, Olivia Amador, and Joseph Assof. "It brings a forthrightness and fairness to the classroom because student learning is based on transparent expectations. And when we are clear, our students can better plan and predict, set goals, and acquire a stronger sense of how to judge their own progress."
Succinct, smart, and swift, this book’s nine learning modules takes you systematically through a process that begins and ends with standards. With abundant cross-curricular examples that span grade levels, planning templates for every step, key professional learning questions, and a PLC guide with video and PowerPoints, you have the most practical planner for designing and delivering highly effective instruction:
- Identifying Concepts and Skills
- Sequencing Learning Progressions
- Elaborating Learning Intentions
- Crafting Success Criteria
- Modifying Learning Intentions to Include Language Expectations
- Determining the Relevance of the Learning
- Designing Assessment Opportunities
- Creating Meaningful Learning Experiences
- Establishing Mastery of Standards
Designed for PLCs or independent teacher use, The Teacher Clarity Playbook helps practitioners align lessons, objectives, and outcomes of learning seamlessly, so that the classroom hours flow productively for everyone. For any teacher striving to be more organized and have stronger relationships with students, this is the book that shows you how.
Visible Learning® Supporting Resources
The Teacher Clarity Playbook, has been recognized for focusing on practices that have high effect sizes and will help you translate the groundbreaking Visible Learning research into practice. When educators use strategies that have high effects (greater than 0.40), they can accelerate student achievement. The power of the Visible Learning research lies in helping educators understand which factors have the highest impact on student achievement so that educators can begin making strategic decisions based on evidence that will utilize their time, energy, and resources to the best extent possible.
The Visible Learning research is based on Professor John Hattie′s unmatched meta-analysis of more than 1600 research reviews comprising 95,000 studies, involving more than 300 million students—the world’s largest evidence base on what works best in schools to improve student learning.
Rich tasks, collaborative work, number talks, problem-based learning, direct instruction…with so many possible approaches, how do we know which ones work the best? In Visible Learning for Mathematics, six acclaimed educators assert it’s not about which one—it’s about when—and show you how to design high-impact instruction so all students demonstrate more than a year’s worth of mathematics learning for a year spent in school.
That’s a high bar, but with the amazing K-12 framework here, you choose the right approach at the right time, depending upon where learners are within three phases of learning: surface, deep, and transfer. This results in "visible" learning because the
effect is tangible. The framework is forged out of current research in mathematics combined with John Hattie’s synthesis of more than 15 years of education research involving 300 million students.
Chapter by chapter, and equipped with video clips, planning tools, rubrics, and templates, you get the inside track on which instructional strategies to use at each phase of the learning cycle:
Surface learning phase: When—through carefully constructed experiences—students explore new concepts and make connections to procedural skills and vocabulary that give shape to developing conceptual understandings.
Deep learning phase: When—through the solving of rich high-cognitive tasks and rigorous discussion—students make connections among conceptual ideas, form mathematical generalizations, and apply and practice procedural skills with fluency.
Transfer phase: When students can independently think through more complex mathematics, and can plan, investigate, and elaborate as they apply what they know to new mathematical situations.
To equip students for higher-level mathematics learning, we have to be clear about where students are, where they need to go, and what it looks like when they get there. Visible Learning for Math brings about powerful, precision teaching for K-12 through intentionally designed guided, collaborative, and independent learning.
What it really means to "read closely."
What could Fern Arable, Jay Gatsby, and Winston Churchill possibly have in common? They all need masterful teachers to help students revel in their complexity. And Nancy Frey and Doug Fisher are just the two mentors to help you make that happen.
Call it close reading, call it deep reading, call it analytic reading—call it what you like. The point is, it’s a level of understanding that students of any age can achieve with the right kind of instruction. In Rigorous Reading, Nancy and Doug articulate an instructional plan so clearly, and so squarely built on research, that teachers, schools, and districts need look no further.
The 5 Access Points Toward Proficiency
- Purpose & Modeling: Teachers think aloud to demonstrate critical thinking and how good readers always know why they are reading.
- Close & Scaffolded Reading Instruction: Teachers engage students in repeated readings and discussions, with text-dependent questions, prompts, and cues to help students delve into an author’s ideas.
- Collaborative Conversations: Teachers orchestrate collaborative learning to get students in the habit of exercising their analytical thinking in the presence of their peers.
- An Independent Reading Staircase: Teachers artfully steer students to more challenging books, with strategic bursts of instruction and peer conferences to foster metacognitive awareness.
- Performance: Teachers offer feedback and assessments that help students demonstrate understanding of text in authentic ways and plan instruction based on student understanding.
There’s more . . . Also included are illustrative classroom video clips available via QR codes along with an online Facilitator’s Guide with PowerPoints--making Rigorous Reading the only resource a teacher, school, or district needs to seriously stretch students’ capacity to read and comprehend text.
Every teacher wants engaged students. No student wants to be bored. So why isn’t every classroom teeming with discussion and purposeful activity centered on the day’s learning expectations?
Consistently finding a rhythm—where students progress through relevant and challenging content—isn’t easy. But not only is it possible, it can also seem effortless when teachers have the right design for genuinely engaging students.
Classroom dynamics are inherently complex, as multifaceted as the personalities in the room, so where should a teacher begin? Engagement by Design gives you a framework for making daily improvements and highlights the opportunities that will bring the greatest benefit in the least amount of time. You’ll learn about relationships, clarity, and challenge, including
- How getting to know each student a little better can fundamentally change the classroom dynamics—and how to do that
- What it means to be an "intentionally inviting" teacher, and how it gives you an advantage in creating an environment conducive to learning
- How to bring more clarity to key aspects of your work—and how it can reap substantial rewards for you and your students
- How opening the culture to student voice—listening to students—is linked to academic motivation, and how to use it to shape your day-to-day planning
- The best ways to increase learning for your students, boosting the proportional value of their school year
Understanding engagement—and actively pursuing it—can make all the difference between forging a real connection with students and having a classroom that’s simply going through the motions. Engagement by Design puts you in control of managing your classroom’s success and increasing student learning, one motivated student at a time.
If there ever was a time for our heroic school leadership to persevere, it’s now. Because now, well over one year since the pandemic stretched the resilience and reserves of our school systems, it’s time to "rebound." It’s time to leverage this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reboot teaching and learning as we know it so that we magnify the effective practices from the past while leveraging the so many recent lessons learned.
This is where Doug Fisher, Nancy Frey, Dominique Smith, and John Hattie, coauthors of The Distance Learning Playbook series, are ideally equipped to serve as your collaborators.
Inside Leading the Rebound: 20+ Must-Dos to Restart Teaching and Learning you’ll find immediate actions, mindsets, and approaches to take if we’re to reimagine and improve our schools and school systems. Step by step, you’ll discover explicit guidance on how to:
1. Take care of yourself
2. Take stock and find the path
3. Rebuild teacher agency
4. Rebuild collective teacher efficacy
5. Foreground social and emotional learning
6. Change the learning loss narrative
7. Guide teacher clarity
8. Ensure instructional excellence
9. Use assessments for a range of purposes
10. Design and implement interventions
11. Win back parent-teacher relationships
12. Establish restorative practices
13. Avoid stealing the conflict
14. Enhance teacher-student and student-student interactions
15. Develop early warning systems for attendance, behavior, and course completion
16. Confront cognitive challenges to learning
17. Ensure equitable and restorative grading
18. Enhance PLCs
19. Provide empathetic feedback
20. Host honest performance conversations
21. Maintain your social presence
22. Future-proof teachers and students
What’s more Leading the Rebound is backed up with all kinds of resources--including VISIBLE LEARNING® research, sample planning tools, and other essential tips and strategies--to provide you with a start-to-finish roadmap for navigating this absolutely critical next leg in our journey toward a "better normal."
Are we missing the opportunity to reach struggling learners from the very beginning? Are we hastily--and unnecessarily--referring students to intervention programs that substitute for high-quality core instruction? What if we could eliminate the need for intervention programs in the first place?
Response to Intervention (RTI) programs are only as powerful and effective as the core instruction on which they’re built. High-quality instruction, then, is the key ingredient that helps all students excel, and it’s at the heart of Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey’s unique approach to the RTI model--Response to Instruction and Intervention, or RTI2.
In Enhancing RTI, the authors argue that students learn best when classroom instruction and supplemental intervention mirror each other in both content and purpose. This book provides K–12 teachers with the knowledge and tools they need to implement a cohesive RTI2 system that helps all children learn by proactively addressing their needs. To this end, you will learn how to
* Integrate and align core instruction and supplemental intervention.
* Assess your own classroom instruction, in addition to your students’ responses to it.
* Strengthen existing school improvement efforts within an RTI2 framework.
* Utilize systematic feedback to raise student achievement.
Fisher and Frey maintain that the RTI2 model not only promotes active student learning, but it also, when done right, promotes a culture of hardwired excellence at all levels of instruction.
For more than a year now, we educators have been tested and tested again. We’ve been stretched, we’ve been pulled, we’ve been put through the wringer. But now it’s time to "rebound." It’s time to bounce back, come back better, and benefit from the many lessons learned to reignite engagement, accelerate learning, and move forward with fresh optimism and better systems for schooling.
Enter Doug Fisher, Nancy Frey, Dominique Smith, and John Hattie, whose Distance Learning Playbooks have supported more than a half million educators across pandemic teaching and who are here now to advise you on this next, absolutely critical leg of our ongoing journey.
Complete with tools and strategies, prompts and exercises, Rebound: A Playbook for Rebuilding Agency, Accelerating Learning Recovery, and Rethinking Schools will help you:
- Address the collective traumas we have experienced during the pandemic and rebuild our sense of agency and self, so that we can attribute student success to both teachers’ and students’ efforts
- Evaluate what we have learned about remote teaching and learning to determine what to carry forward and what to leave behind
- Shift the narrative from learning loss to "learning leaps" and implement instructional and assessment practices that ensure our students reclaim lost knowledge, build skills, develop agency, and accelerate gains
- Redefine classrooms, learning experiences, the ways schools operate, and the very idea of schooling itself
"The greatest travesty that can arise for schools after 2020/21," Doug, Nancy, Dominique, and John write, "is to rush back to the old normal, and learn nothing, or little, about what worked well. That’s why this book has focused on rebounding, and taking the opportunity to create an even better schooling system, one that serves even more students, and focuses more on what matters most."
"Let′s agree not to reduce the impact that our expectations have on students′ learning. What if we talk about learning leaps instead of learning loss? What if we identify where students are in their learning and identify critical content that they must learn now to accelerate their performance n the future? And what if we raise our expectations for students rather than lower them?"
—Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, Dominique Smith, and John Hattie