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The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  406 ratings  ·  43 reviews
The Fundamental Five: The Formula for Quality Instruction, shares with teachers and school leaders the five practices that every teacher can, and should, use to dramatically improve instuctional rigor and relevance, and student performance.
Paperback, 120 pages
Published May 8th 2011 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
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Aug 29, 2019 rated it liked it
This is the book study choice in a district where I’m coaching. I thought the strategies were nothing new, but the reminders are good. Poorly written/edited and I thought the authors were dismissive of teachers at times.
Liz B
Aug 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
1. I do not do well with books I am required to read. I am 79% more likely to irrationally dislike them. And yes, this is why I so rarely assign specific books to my students.

2. The actual five things they are talking about ARE good instructional practices. (IF TOTALLY OBVIOUS ONES OMGOMGOMGOMG.)
2.a. I did some coaching this past year and it was eye-opening for me...I have better insight than I used to into what is sometimes happening in other classrooms. So I am willing to concede that what is
Ivonne Rovira
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: elementary and middle-school teachers
Recommended to Ivonne by: Lyn Linton
Shelves: teaching
The goal clarity coach at my new school recommended that I read this book to help me make the adjustment from teaching in a high school (which had been the case for the entirety of my 14-year career) to teaching Spanish in an elementary school. What a goddess she is! I owe her more than I can ever repay.

Co-authors Sean Cain and Mike Laird, one-time teachers and principals in Texas, have turned consultant and produced this slender volume. It contains a five-step prescription — duh! It’s right in
William Lawrence
Dec 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: education
It is tragic and disrespectful to teachers and students for school districts to spend taxpayer dollars on a self published book of rubish that fabricates new research, plagiarizes valid past research, and spews theories that don't hold up to social science standards. There are no real citations of real studies-- not a single peer reviewed scholarly journal. The authors actually cite themselves and what they call their own unpublished "research"! One of those unpublished research citations claims ...more
Moon Maiden (M. Perez)
The strategies are good to use but this is all written and based on NCLB which ended in 2015. This also ties in with CSCOPE which districts are no longer using. There is a culturally and unethical reference to Indo-Americas which made me a bit uncomfortable and I don't feel should be referenced. I also don't feel that when a student refuses to complete their work, that it is the teacher's fault. Teachers work very hard in their classrooms daily. I feel that needs to be reanalyzed.
Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teachers
Recommended to Shelly by: Sean Cain
I recommend this for all classroom teachers, new and seasoned. It is another one that I have highlighted up and will be revisiting between now and the beginning of school. Cain and Laird present 5 concepts that are not new to educators, but when used together create a formula that has been proven to increase academic achievement in schools and students.
Tina Young
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excellent pedagogy written clearly and easily executable in the classroom. This would definitely work in a culture that promotes its use district wide and would be more effective if reinforced over many grade levels as the students move through the school system. I have a hard time thinking about how this would work in tougher schools though as they are using pedagogy/instruction as a means for classroom management.
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Critical for educators!

Best practices condensed into a perfect, workable, well-explained formula. If you haven't read this book, but you are an educator, you need to read this! Planned questions for frequent, small group, purposeful talk is my biggest take-away, but I'm going to challenge myself to do even more of the other points as well. I wish I'd read this years ago.
Ellen Deckinga
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I don't actually know when I "finished" this book so I just set the date for today. I keep using it in my instruction! A co-worker asked to borrow it over the weekend and I almost died. Then I remembered - I know where she works ;)
Yes. It's that good. You read it and go "duh, that's just good teaching." Then you start to look around and you go, "I'm sorda' doing that" or "Well, I was asked to do it this way, but it's just not working for me." I am telling you that going back to these basic 5 thi
Sarah Marie
The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction by Sean Cain

3 stars

This novel breaks down the education practice of the Fundamental Five and how it can and should be implemented into the classroom setting. I really liked this novel overall. It's explicit in message and clearly illustrates why it is important to implement in the classroom. I personally found it enlightening, but the text is very dry and makes for dry reading. I am looking forward to implementing the practices of framing t

Sep 04, 2012 added it
I hate I borrowed it. I couldn't put it down, but couldn't write in it....recommended by my academic dean....was a confirmation of my teaching style, but have me a way to tie it down more...worth the read!
Laura Giessler
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Short quick read that outlines 5 instructional practices that lead to student success. 1. Framing the lesson at beginning and end--helps students filter info so they can focus on what is most important. 2. Work in the Power Zone--teacher should be interacting with students while teaching!! 3. Frequent Small Group Purposeful Talk About Learning--every 10 minutes, turn and talk (or process somehow). 4. Recognize and Reinforce--as personal and specific as possible. 5. Write Critically--to force stu ...more
Jun 09, 2020 rated it liked it
The instructional practices provided in this book are fine, but the writing is clumsy, arrogant, insulting, and dismissive, and based entirely on unpublished research conducted by the authors themselves. I’m a bit dubious of authors who use themselves as their source. And if I could make a recommendation to any future authors out there... Don’t insult your readers. If you’re compiling a list of effective strategies to help teachers in the classroom, don’t continuously comment on how terrible all ...more
Oct 20, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a school-mandated read from the end of last school year for this coming year. I checked it out the day it was mentioned and took a while over the summer reading it. I had implemented a number of things it talks about and it definitely has helped in certain circumstances if not in others. all in all it was a semi-helpful and inspiring read before coming into teaching my AP classes this year.
Jun 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: english-teaching
This was required reading for teachers in my school. It seemed like common sense for most good teachers. A few good reminders. I struggle with “framing the lesson” and seeing the importance of putting objectives on the board. It helped explain the reasoning and studies behind it, but I still seem to resent being told to do it... hmmm.
Kimberly Brooks
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fast read, mainly because it was short. Not a ton of new knowledge gained, since I already do some of these things. Definitely could do more though, and it gave pretty clear examples of implementing the fundamental five.
Michael Cotignola
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a good handbook to have, especially for an early-career teacher. While it doesn't present anything new or groundbreaking, the way it is collected, presented, and reinforced makes it a valuable resource for teachers who want to step up their game (read: all teachers).
Wes Branscum
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it
The fundamental 5 are good techniques and I have used some outside of the educational system. Too bad the Principal who required us to read it could not apply the fundamental 5 to his job and employees to be Likeable and prevent his demotion to assistant principal.
May 15, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is great for beginning teachers, but a lot of what is covered is how I have been teaching for years. It fits in well with the PBL mode our district has adopted so honestly I didn’t get a whole lot out of it other than the critical writing piece.
Thomas Strawn
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent focus on the foundational practices of education. It's always good to refresh and dive more in depth with fundamental practices.
Michelle Mendez
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Very informative and likely to recommend to other professionals. The book has a great deal of ideas to implement in the classroom.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My district is implementing The Fundamental 5 this year. After reading the book, I am excited to see it action. We even had the chance to hear from Sean Cain himself.
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a good resource. It's concise and well-written. The concepts were not new to me but it was a good reminder of certain practices, and I appreciated the examples given.
Dawn Ellis
Jun 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
Supporting your claims with your own unpublished research is rubbish. Also, this book makes a lot of assumptions about teachers that I just don't find to be true.
Leif Johnson
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Trendy, but with some good ideas. Some of this we've been doing for years. It's just got a new coat of paint and some fancy footwork.
Mindy Perez
Don’t you love when educational theorists with limited classroom experiences write books where they take best practices and mix them all up and rebrand them as the cure-all to education? No? I don’t either. Hence the 2 stars. There’s nothing new here, especially considering the book was published over a decade ago. This might have some insights for new teachers or students studying to be teachers. Otherwise, skip it and read something from an actual classroom teacher.
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Having just finished my master's degree in adolescent literacy, I feel that this is a ridiculously compressed attempt to increase literacy across contents with five basic steps. Literacy instruction is so much more complex and nuanced than this book leads the reader to believe. Finally, the evidence presented is outdated.

I know firsthand literacy instruction is powerful, but it is not an easy, quick transition from the more traditional methods of instruction to student-centered classrooms. I ho
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read this for work, and it was a quick and easy read. The strategies recommended by the authors are basically things we already do or know we should do as teachers, but in a more intentional manner. None of the strategies would require a major shift in instruction. I do believe implementing the fundamental five will have a positive impact on our students. I am curious about what this would look like with primary students (K-3) as the examples all seem more relevant for fourth grade and up. Howev ...more
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was definitely not a pleasure read. "The Fundamental 5" is an extremely academic book, very dry and packed with information, rather repetitive, and generally not enjoyable to read. However, the information it was packed with was extremely valuable, well researched (if unpublished), and presented as a compelling argument. I would highly recommend this book to any teacher wanting to improve his or her craft. However, it lacked many way to actually implement their techniques, which for a relat ...more
Amy Bermudez
Sep 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
Not exactly riveting or earth-shattering. And I hated that the authors referred to themselves as "the authors" thought the book. Still, I'm looking forward to implementing a few of these ideas in my class. (Proud to say, I've already got a grip on the other aspects if The Fundamental Five!)
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