William M. Ferriter

William M. Ferriter is a sixth-grade science teacher in a professional learning community near Raleigh, North Carolina. A National Board Certified Teacher, he has designed professional development courses for educators nationwide.

View full profile

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Bookworms will love 'In Praise'

Read This: In Praise of American Educators

Categories: PLC

This post is part of a series on In Praise of American Educators (And How They Can Become Even Better).

Let’s start with a simple truth: As a full-time classroom teacher, I have spent the better part of the past fifteen years wrestling with failed policies, frustrated by the suggestion that practitioners are to blame for everything that is wrong with American schools, and paralyzed, waiting for meaningful change that never seems to come.

Read more

Simple Sharing is not collective action

Don’t Mistake Simple Sharing for Collective Action

Categories: PLC, Technology

In a recent article titled Meeting the Challenge of Infusing Relevant PD in Schools, Lyle Hamm and Kevin Cormier argue that professional learning communities — which encourage colleagues to relentlessly question their practice together in service of student learning — often fail as a professional development strategy primarily because they require peers to come together for weekly face-to-face meetings with one another:

Imagine being an educator and getting up each week during a Canadian winter and travelling into a PLC session for a 7:00 a.m. meeting prior to preparing to teach all day. Or perhaps even more exhausting for educators is attending a session for one hour each week after they have finished teaching all day. This adds minimal value to the pedagogy of the educator; instead, it potentially creates mild to major anxiety and toxicity among staff and affects the school culture negatively.

Read more