One of my grad school classes focuses on HOW to successfully implement campus innovations. I thought I might try using these steps of implementation in a small way before attempting on my innovation plan. The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling outlines a formula for executing strategic priorities by following their four disciplines: focusing on the Wildly Important, acting on lead measures, keeping a compelling scoreboard, and creating a cadence of accountability.
I wanted to use the 4 Disciplines for the STAAR test prep as a unit of study on my campus. Knowing that success on the STAAR test looks different that success on other assignments, we try to repurpose familiar reading anchor charts as test taking strategies. We also know that providing more independent reading time will increase success.
In tackling the challenge of independent reading, I worked with our campus literacy coach in creating a friendly competition among campus Learning Communities using 4DX. We established our wildly important goal, created compelling scoreboards that our readers could see every day, acted on lead measures, and created a cadence of accountability among our readers.
We created 6 scoreboards, one for each learning community, and smaller individual scoreboards for each student to view lead measures. As our readers arrived before school each day, they applied a sticker to that day of their scoreboard (11 year olds love stickers!). They then settled down to read before the morning bell. At the end of our time together, they recorded their total amount of minutes for the day.
I completed the line graph of lead measures so that each reader could easily see how their daily choices were affecting their ability to reach their goal of 200 minutes (it was the straight line down the middle). Even if they missed a day, or didn’t read as much for a couple days, it was not impossible for them to achieve the WIG.
A cadence of accountability was created by grouping individual scoreboards on colored paper per learning community. We didn’t use very competitive language, and all readers were rewarded, but there was an unspoken push within learning communities for their readers to show up and read.
In addition to giving kids enough independent reading time, test taking strategies on standardized tests are also important. I wanted my students in Learning Community 8 to reflect on their learning and use strategies in a fun, competitive way. I attempted to use 4DX in my classroom to do so.
Each student had their own folder with a scoreboard stapled to the inside front cover. On the right cover of folder were 25 strategies represented by anchor charts we have used during the year in our reading. Before beginning, we read through and reflected on how we’ve used these strategies in the past, and how we will use them on STAAR passages in much the same way. We also looked at past benchmark scores and each student established a goal for their STAAR test scores. I wanted to tie in the importance for independent reading, so I created a space for them to measure that as well.
Each student’s Wildly Important Goal was a little different, and all students were able to see that their goal was to score higher. They were able to break down this goal into an achievable controllable lead measure tied to them using specific strategies and spending time reading. They were motivated by the ability to check off strategies and earn fun stickers on their scoreboards. They knew I was holding them accountable by requiring them to annotate strategies used on STAAR passages.
Not mentioned in McChesney, Covey, and Huling’s book is PLAY. Every day, as we started class, I turned on the same upbeat song and called out each child’s name as on a game show while awarding them their folders. By the end of our test taking unit of study, each reader knew the words of our song and banged on desks in the rhythm of the music, to the slight chagrin of my neighboring classrooms. That we ended on an even higher note that we began is a measure of success to me.
As I look to next year and the implementation of ePortfolios, I will use these two examples of the Four Disciplines of Execution as a possible vehicle to ensure EP success. I have sent a Google Form to my staff with a 1-minute video on ePortfolios with 2 additional questions. 31 of 93 staff members responded, with 9 indicating an interest in forming a pilot group for EP implementation next year. I’m looking forward to showing these examples to them and coming up with a WIG for ePortfolio implementation. Together we will establish lead measures, we will create a compelling scoreboard, and create a cadence of accountability so we don’t let the whirlwind of teacher life cause us to lose sight of the importance of ePortfolios.