Small System Cycles

Teachers have the single largest impact on what students learn in the classroom. What teachers do and say, how they present content, how they provide feedback, how they provide additional support when needed, and how they build relationships with students makes a difference in the learning of the students in their classrooms. How might you use the Small System Cycle, or the IPOF model, to help you to continue to improve outcomes for your students?  

One way to think about small system cycles is by exploring the Instructional Learning Cycle (ILC) process.  The ILC is a defined process that promotes collaboration and collective responsibility within a teacher team by setting up structures for short-term cycles of improvement. Upon review of data, teacher teams determine a focus for each short-term cycle. Following the IPOF logic from above, think about the following ILC description through the IPOF lens.  What might be the input, process(es), output, and feedback?

The ILC short cycles of improvement are meant to last 2 to 4 weeks and are guided by a teacher team identifying a measurable objective aligned to state standards and determining an instructional strategy for implementation during a specific round of the ILC.  The ILC process includes a series of collaborative meetings held by content-area or grade-level teacher teams. Each meeting provides an opportunity for teachers to reflect on the quality of instruction and the evidence of student learning. Collaborative meetings also allow teacher teams to analyze their combined implementation and impact data to build a sense of collective responsibility for the learning of all students. Between meetings, teachers implement specific instructional strategies and gather student data through formative assessment. Each teacher collects and analyzes data on both the implementation of the strategy and the impact of the strategy on student learning within their own classroom. This data is used to determine the next instructional steps for students. 

So how did you connect the ILC description to the IPOF model? You guessed it . . . the measurable objective and state standards are the input.  There were various processes embedded as well: teachers meeting to review data and implementation of instructional strategies.  The desired result, or output, is increased student achievement.  The actual result is the evidence of student learning and formative data which becomes the feedback to support the team in making adjustments to their instructional strategies. 

Share your learning around Small System Cycles with a colleague. Talk about how you might set up your own IPOF model to impact learning in your classrooms.

“Practice the philosophy of continuous improvement.  Get a little bit better every single day.”

~Brian Tracy

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