Video Library

The Skillful Teacher Series Introduction by Jon Saphier

Dr. Saphier introduces The Skillful Teacher Series of videos and makes suggestions as to its potential use.

Jon Saphier on the Framework for Skillful Teaching I

In this video, Dr. Saphier explains the reasons the Skillful Teacher triangle is set up as it is. He also explains the nature of professional knowledge as Areas of Performance, Repertoire, and Matching.

Jon Saphier on the Framework for Skillful Teaching II

Dr. Saphier shows that all of the areas of performance are active simultaneously, with some more easily seen than others.

Content Planning Conference

These six chapters make the case that digging deeply into oneĆ­s content and analyzing the ideas in that content produces better lessons, if one takes the time to do it. But in addition to becoming an individual habit of mind for planning, these content- focused conversations are very beneficial when pairs or groups of educational professionals have them together.

Curriculum Planning: Planning/Error Analysis and Reteaching

The intent of these clips is to develop individual habits of using formative assessment to design reteaching the next day. But going through the cycle with a team that shares content can provide deep understanding of student learning difficulties and thus augment one's ability to do the cycle on one's own.

Word Problems: Grade 3

This clip shows what it looks and sounds like when a teacher communicates learning objectives to students in student-friendly language, and does so in a way that acknowledges difficulty but expresses confidence they can all get it. The clip and the downloadable scripts are designed as a focused and concrete professional develop activity for individual teachers or groups.

Effective Feedback During Instruction "Ceramics"

In this video, Ms. Seibold demonstrates the attributes of effective feedback during instruction in a series of vignettes with individual students in her ceramics class.

Differentiation "My Favorite Part"

In this clip, Mr. Herrmann uses a pre-assessment to identify groupings for reteaching. It shows how he manages the extension/enrichment work the other students will do while he teaches the three small groups. It also shows how to frame reteaching as an opportunity rather than as a remedial experience. He is sending the three key expectations messages: This is important. You can do it. And I won't give up on you.

Teaching Group Skills "Highlighting Things I Heard"

This clip shows a novel way to use technology and immediate feedback to teach students how to interact productively with peers in cooperative learning settings.

High-Expectations Teaching

Teachers, students, and parents testify powerfully about the effect of what happens when teachers bring "effort-based ability" into practice in their teaching.

Persevere and Return "Natural Resources"

When students make mistakes or answer half correctly, the responses of teachers can either result in confidence building and success or communicate debilitating messages about student ability. Here Ms. Moore shows an important pattern, Persevere and Return, in handling these situations for positive results. She also shows tenacity in eliciting a complete answer in academic language.

Three Expectations Messages "Hallway Conversations"

Just before class starts, certain teachers take advantage of being able to contact students in the hallway for expectations messages, personal relationship building, and coaching about the behaviors that will work best in class that day.

Giving Help with Tenacity and Making Thinking Visible "Rodolfo"

While giving extra help to Rodolfo, Mr. Herrmann sends positive expectations messages and simultaneously makes his thinking visible. The result is deep student understanding and relationship building too.

Feedback and Building Confidence That Mistakes Are Normal

This video shows Mr. Gilles giving individual feedback to students while they are doing class work in such a way as to convey high expectations and also belief in their ability.

Teaching Effective Effort: Motivational Structures

The motivational structures in place in Mr. VanKrey's Japanese class support and accelerate students' desire to learn effective effort strategies. These structures include weekly quizzes, student self-correction and record keeping of their results, self-reporting and self-assessment of study strategies, goal setting, and plans of action.

Teaching Effective Effort: Explicit Teaching of Strategies

Mr. VanKrey explicitly teaches his high school Japanese language students specific strategies to make their study time more productive. They self-evaluate how they are doing with them and self-report what they intend to do next.

Stimulating Effective Effort

Kelyn says:"I can't do it. Could you please call on her?" Mr. Hermann is not only expressing confidence in her ability in the following moments, but also using the power of the group to make sure everyone, especially Kelyn, can do it. Listen carefully to the expectations messages embedded in this brief two-minute interaction and the return visit he pays to their group five minutes later.

History of Intelligence 1: The Myth of the Bell Curve

The first section of this two-part presentation traces the history of the idea of intelligence as a fixed, innate, and deterministic characteristic. We challenge the bell curve view of ability and propose an "effort-based ability" model in its place. The consequences for students of these two views are surfaced.

History of Intelligence 2: The Myth of the Bell Curve

The second section of this presentation presents the consistent and persuasive evidence that the bell curve of fixed ability is incorrect and that "effort-based ability" is valid. The presentation explores the consequences for achievement and life experience of the view of ability one holds, and goes on to profile how teachers can influence this vital belief system of students.

Communicating "You Can Do It"

This video shows a teacher creating success and building confidence for a low-performing student. The clip and the downloadable scripts are designed as a focused and concrete professional develop activity for individual teachers or groups.

Framing the Learning: Mastery Objectives

This video introduces the important topic of Framing the Learning for students. Then it focuses on the critical step of crafting a mastery objective in student-friendly language and making sure they actually understand it.

Framing the Learning: Itineraries and Big Ideas

This video extends the Framing the Learning discussion and distinguishes between the itinerary and the objective, and between the objective and the big idea embedded in it.

Framing the Learning: Criteria for Success

This video further extends the Framing the Learning discussion by introducing the criteria for success. Criteria for success are the qualities that must be present for performances and products to meet the standards and be deemed successful. In this video, Katie Nichol and her second grade class develop a list of criteria that describe a successful pictograph.

Making Thinking Visible in Small Groups

Making Thinking Visible is achieved by a constellation of teacher behaviors that lead to better student understanding and simultaneously build strong class climate and student risk-taking. This video shows what these behaviors look and sound like when a teacher interacts with a small group.

Checking For Understanding II "The One-Question Quiz"

This video shows how Mr. DeCraene uses a one-question quiz to gather information about his students' understanding of the relationship of two concepts. He then uses a brief student group sharing and student self-chosen revisions to clarify misunderstandings. These three steps are then followed by total group discussion to highlight key points and unscramble remaining confusions.

Making Thinking Visible and Classroom Climate

Ms. DeAngelo has a total class Q & A about repeating decimals in which she is checking for understanding with many students; but we simultaneously see her demonstrating the behaviors of Making Thinking Visible in the way she handles the discussion and connects students with their thinking and with each other.

Checking for Understanding

From the Skillful Teaching pyramid face - Clarity element. Look for Skill "Getting Inside the Head of a Student: (Cognitive Empathy) / Checking for Understanding".

Modeling Thinking Aloud: Elementary

From the Skillful Teaching pyramid face - Clarity element. Look for Skill "Presenting Information / Explanatory Devices."

Modeling Thinking Aloud: High School Social Studies

From the Skillful Teaching pyramid face - Clarity element. Look for Skill "Presenting Information / Explanatory Devices."


Mr. Wagner spends longer than one might expect making connections between today's activities and the objective. He also connects the activities of yesterday and tomorrow. As a result, students never lose track of their objective or how what they are doing fits into it.

Inquiry-Oriented Lesson "Division by a Fraction"

A carefully designed progression of activities allows students to experience the meaning of division by a fraction in multiple ways. Mr. Scherrer doesn't even use the phrase "division by a fraction" until near the end of the lesson. This video shows the architecture of such a lesson and the kind of interactions a teacher has with students to ensure they interact productively with one another when "Inquiry" is the orientation to learning.

MSTV in First Grade: Ella Fixes Her Error

Ella has written in her number bond that 29 and 30 are the components of 61. Watch how Alyssa Ricken uses the principles of Making Students Thinking Visible to create the space for Ella to fix her own error.

Entering Class and Opening Exercise

This video shows the deliberateness and multiple outcomes that come from a well-planned and implemented routine.