Don Marlett

Don has been an educator for 20 years. Before joining Learning-Focused he taught High School and Middle School Science and worked as a school administrator. Don has participated in school evaluations focused on the implementation of High Yield Strategies. He has presented at numerous conferences, including the Florida Association of School Administrators Conference, the Tennessee Principals Association Conference, and the Kentucky Association of School Administrators. Don leads product development, provides leadership training and coaching, and coaches educators in the implementation of the Learning-Focused Instructional Framework.

7 Formative Assessment Strategy Examples (That Aren’t Your “Same Old, Same Old”)

By Don Marlett

Let’s be real — repeatedly using the same old Formative Assessments or Assessment Prompts could be boring. How many times have you written “exit ticket” on your lesson plan this year? If you are tired of the same strategies, your students probably are too. The repeated “exit ticket” is frequently overused and bland. Worse, it…

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Developing Teacher Expertise – The Obstacle and Opportunity

By Don Marlett

It is a common practice to think about your teaching journey and wonder how you got to where you are today. 

The skills you’ve developed and the strategies you use with your students determine your expertise. It is important then, to consider, at what point are you an expert of a particular skill or strategy?

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“Reviewing” Strategies That Increase Student Achievement

By Don Marlett

How do exemplary schools use “Reviewing” strategies to increase student achievement?  When reviewing for end-of-course tests or final exams, or even unit tests, there are several things to consider doing to reinforce the High-Yield Strategies you already use with students. Now is not the time to revert to the “old way” of reviewing. Students should…

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raft writing strategy

A Guide to the R.A.F.T. Writing Strategy Across Content Areas

By Don Marlett

Why is RAFT writing one of the most effective writing strategies, particularly across all content areas and subjects? Before we share how it enables fluency and purpose, incorporates the elements of effective writing, provides students with a choice that is on grade level, and engages students to explain what they know and elaborate, let’s first…

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Facilitating Learning With a Graphic Organizer Instructional Strategy

By Don Marlett

A lesson without a graphic organizer is never as effective as a lesson with one. Strong statement? Yes. True? Also yes. When we teach, we want students to understand new concepts and skills and remember what they have learned for a long time.  Learning is a combination of the storage of information and the ability…

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effective writing instruction - classroom writing example

Effective Writing Instruction: Focus on the Right Mindset

By Don Marlett

The topic of Mindset, either growth or fixed, is one of the most discussed topics in classrooms, PLCs, and meetings over the last few years. The phrase “I can’t yet” is synonymous with our goal to improve students’ outlook of themselves and their learning.  Before we go any further, I believe that conversations on and…

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school improvement failure quote

Why Do School Improvement Plans, Initiatives, and Implementations Fail?

By Don Marlett

Educators believe in the importance of learning from our mistakes and failures, and it isn’t uncommon to hear conversations about how we should support and maybe even celebrate failures. Students should understand that mistakes and failures are an integral part of learning and growing. But as educators, do we really embrace the same mindset for…

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How does School Culture Extend to PLC and Faculty Meetings?

By Don Marlett

In the book, the culture code, by Daniel Coyle, he describes a contest that was created by Peter Skillman. Each team’s mission, if they chose to accept it, was to build the tallest structure possible with the following materials: Twenty pieces of uncooked spaghetti 1 yard of transparent tape 1 yard of string One standard…

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Learning Loss Recovery: 2 Case Studies of Successful Schools

By Don Marlett

There has been an ongoing discussion of COVID learning loss: how much learning did students forget from March of 2020 to the school’s return and how effective hybrid or complete remote learning has been since then. In a recent survey, teachers from eight different countries, including the US, reported “that students were on average two…

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catching up at kids and at-risk students

Accelerate Learning: How Do You Move Them Forward Quickly and Effectively?

By Don Marlett

Schools and school districts know the importance of communicating a shared vision of success for their students, staff, and community. This vision often focuses on the idea of preparing students for their future. But what happens to that future when students struggle, year after year, and fall continuously behind? How do we teach “at-risk” learners…

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