A powerful sequence in Melissa Savage’s class

According to the org chart I probably shouldn’t coach teachers in my role as executive director.  Luckily ignoring org charts is woven deep in my KIPP DNA.  Seriously :),  spending time with teachers in classrooms where our kids are growing the most helps me learn what we need to do to move all our kids forward.

Melissa Savage’s students at KIPP Academy Lynn have out performed students in the ritzy North Shore suburbs nearby for the past two years.This closing sequence in Melissa Savage’s class illustrates many of the reasons her students love and excel in Science.  I posted my literal observation notes with a little play by play below.


 Aim The aim of the lesson:  Identify the name of each stage in the frog life cycle and describe the changes in each stage.
Time Narrative Analysis
8:50   Kids share responses to the questions they    completed for their independent practice.
8:52 Melissa:  Flip the page and start your exit ticket.  This class is a well oiled machine.  The exit ticket is printed on the back of the classwork so no time is wasted.  Melissa is monitoring the kids work habits with strategic stops around the room.
The kids attack the exit ticket with a flurry of annotations.
8:56 Melissa: Switch your exit ticket with someone next to you.
She reads the answers and kids check their partner’s right or wrong with no drama other than the occasional fist pump when a student knows he or she got a hard one right.Melissa: Stops at question #3 because she knows this is a common misconception: What does a tadpole have that a froglet does not have?  The tightness of this routine provides immediate feedback to students and allows Melissa to re-teach in class rather than waiting a until the next day.
Student A: Gills
What is the similarity between frog, a butterfly, and a plant?
Student B:  Metamorphosis
Student C: I respectfully disagree.  Not all of them go through metamorphosis.  The discussion habits she taught them improve the ratio of student: teacher talk.
Melissa:  Which one does?
8:58 Student D:  The butterfly Melissa: Smiles, waitsStudent D:  The butterfly goes through metamorphosis.Melissa:  What is the similarity of a frog, a butterfly, and a plant?

Student E:  They all reproduce.


Hearing the correct answer, she nods and smiles and moves on.


 She holds out for the complete sentence without saying a word. 


A student in the corner isn’t tracking.Melissa: Leander, this is your warning.
 8:59 Melissa (to the whole class) Stand and push in your chair.
Melissa: What was the most missed question?  The efficiency of other elements of her class allows Melissa to sneak in more feedback and re-teaching.  The question after wrapping up is actually a powerful summarizer (and under-used move in many classrooms).
Kids signal #4
Melissa:  I saw C says that they all have hearts.  What’s wrong with that answer?Student E: Flowers don’t have hearts.  They don’t have blood.Melissa: Smiles.  Doesn’t speak  This is one of many small ways she improves the ratio in her classroom-not responding verbally to all student answers.
9:00 As you line up for math tell me your  favorite stage of the frog life cycle.The kids exit quickly and quietly and almost all smiling as they name their favorite part of the frog cycle.  Melissa sneaks in a high five to Leander for his bounce back after receiving a warning.  Even the exit is used to get another tiny at bat with content and to build (or rebuild) relationships with each child.

4 Responses to “A powerful sequence in Melissa Savage’s class”

  1. Philinda Says:

    That’s a sensible answer to a chiellngang question

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  3. http://kfzversicherungvergleichtech.pw/ Says:

    I find I have so many ideas for series, I do a post intending to write several more, then get sidetracked chasing posts that feel more “timely”. Example – I need to finish a series on “Barriers to Worship” (the follow-ups are started but not finished). I will also do a series on “biblical foundations of worship” but I want to call it something more interesting than that.

  4. http://www.kreditrechnertop.info/ Says:

    “Judge thee by their actions and not their words.”“You are the company you keep.”I know those quotes are attributed to someone, but my mom quoted those to me a long time ago. Unfortunately the moms of BHO and his like were not like my mom…..

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