William M. Ferriter

William M. Ferriter is a National Board Certified Teacher of sixth graders in a professional learning community in North Carolina. He has designed professional development courses for educators nationwide.

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Student feedback can include: "I noticed that..." and "I'm not sure I see..."

Practicing Peer Feedback: More Observations, Less Evaluation

Categories: Instruction

Over the last several years, I’ve done a ton of experimenting in my sixth-grade classroom with peer feedback—structured opportunities for students to give and receive feedback from one another.

That’s primarily a function of efficiency. Teaching close to 120 students with a wide range of skills and abilities every single year makes it darn near impossible for me alone to provide feedback to the learners in my classroom. If the best feedback is both timely and directive—an argument that Bob Marzano made nearly a decade ago—we need to teach students to look for guidance and support from one another, rather than simply waiting to receive feedback from classroom teachers, who are perpetually buried in stacks of papers that need to be graded. Read more

Interviewing teachers for a PLC

The Most Important Interview Question I Bet You’ve Never Asked

Categories: PLC

Let me start with a simple truth:  There is no single decision made by the principal of a professional learning community more important than who to hire to fill vacancies on individual learning teams.

After all, the teachers that you hire today are likely to be a part of your faculty – working with students, influencing colleagues, shaping decisions, impacting public relations – for years to come.  Heck, the teachers that you hire today are likely to be a part of your faculty long after you have left for a new position.  Read more

Driving change

Want to Drive Change? Stop Planning and Start Acting

Categories: 21st Century Skills, School Improvement

I read a really interesting Matt Mullenweg article this week detailing one of Apple’s greatest strengths as a brand:  Their willingness to ship first and polish products later.

Mullenweg points out that every game-changing Apple device — including the iPod, iPad and iPhone — was panned by reviewers when it was initially released. And in many cases, reviewers were right:  The earliest versions of many of Apple’s most successful products were far from perfect. Sometimes, that imperfection was a result of flawed product design or important features that the company hadn’t anticipated. Other times, that imperfection was a result of an inability to access required component parts at costs that could make each individual product affordable.

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Get feedback from students

When Was the Last Time You Asked STUDENTS for Feedback?

Categories: Assessment, Instruction, PLC

Over the course of the last few years, I’ve been working hard at developing a system for keeping kids posted on the essential outcomes for the units that I’m required to teach at school.  While I know that’s a pretty basic practice, it is also an essential one.  Most experts — think Hattie, Reeves and Marzano — will tell you that kids are more likely to meet your expectations when they know just what those expectations are.

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