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  • Writer's pictureJim Mercer

SamTastic Weekly Tip: 2/5/24 - Hello! Happy first week of February.

Hello!  Happy first week of February.


I’ll bet you are in the GREEN this morning and looking forward to a day filled with work designed to improve teacher practice and student learning.  These planned instructional events are the sweetest part of the day for most SAM teams.  It feels good and you can see the results.


I enjoyed the keynote presentations at the conference in Fort Lauderdale.  Each was filled with ideas SAM teams can use.  Kim Marshall’s keynote, Making Student Achievement Central to Teacher Supervision and Evaluation, provided seven ways leaders can have a positive impact on teacher practice.  The first, seeing instruction and conversing with teachers, face-to-face, is the most popular way SAM leaders spend their time.  Take a look at the remaining seven; number 4, Coaching teachers on the “retrieval effect”, caught my attention. 

 “Retrieval practice is a valuable teaching strategy that involves recalling information from memory to strengthen learning and improve long-term retention. By incorporating this approach into instruction, educators can effectively enhance students' understanding and retention of course material across various subjects and grade levels”. Summary, Perplexity AI Search

Simple?  Yes.  Teachers who use this basic teaching practice get better results.  They understand that that creating a long-term memory is a process, not a single step. 


Early in my teaching career I was asked to lead an effort to redesign my district’s elementary math curriculum using a spiral design.  This made sense to me.  It aligned with how I was taught to teach. 


“A spiral curriculum is a teaching approach where key concepts are introduced and then revisited multiple times, with each encounter deepening the complexity of the content. This method is attributed to Jerome Bruner and is grounded in cognitive science and brain-based learning."  Summary, Perplexity AI Search


All seven of Kim’s suggestions require the same thing:  Intentionality.  What will you do today?  How will you follow up on your good work tomorrow?  Can you connect your time data to improved practice? 


A few resources:

  1. HD Video of Kim Marshall’s keynote will be released later this month.

  2. Washington University in St. Louis, Using Retrieval Practice to Increase Student learning

  3. Pooja Agarwal, Powerful Teaching:

  4. The Main Idea, PD idea on book Powerful Teaching

Music Video: I Am a SAM


Executive Summary: SAM team Success:

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