We know that students learn best when they are truly engaged in what they are learning, when they have the opportunity to explore, debate, discuss, examine, defend, and experiment with the concepts and skills they are ready to learn.

Students learn best when instruction is:

Appropriately Challenging

 

Based on Real-World Problems and Situations

 

Purposeful

 

Meaningful and Interesting

 

 

 

Remember: No one instructional method will work for all students, for all teachers, or in all subject areas. Think of these ideas as places to start in figuring out what works most effectively for you and your students.

 

Strategy Ideas:

Determine if Students are Ready to Move On


Discuss & Examine Events, People, Concepts and Ideas


Put Students in Groups


Physical Activity Increases Engagement and Memory Retention


Opportunties for Students to Learn from Each Other


Make Activities and Materials More Simple or More Challenging


Students Discuss What They Think Based on What They've Learned


Record Info to Increase Understanding and for Later Reference


 

Alternative Assessments:

Prep Time Varies
..
Monitor Progress
Adapt Content

 

Anchor Activities (or Sponge Activities):

Prep Time Varies
..
Monitor Progress
Work Together
Share Ideas & Opinions
Take Notes

 

Appointment Clocks:

Requires Some Prep Time
..
Form Groups
Get Moving!
Work Together
  • Used to quickly put students in pairs or small groups
  • Make a copy of the clock for each student. The names of other students go at each hour mark around the clock so that asking students to find their “1 o’clock” partner puts the students in pairs, for example.
  • Allow students to choose partners for some times on the clock, but decide some of the partners ahead of time so that you know, for example, that the 2 o'clock partners are students with similar skills in reading or that the 5 o'clock partners have similar interests.
  •  

  • Materials/Resources: Clock Template (pdf)

 

Centers (or Stations):

More Prep Time Required
..
Work Together
Adapt Content
Share Ideas & Opinions
Ideas: Materials/Resources:

 

Cubing:

Prep Time Varies
..
Compare & Contrast
Form Groups
Work Together
Adapt Content
Share Ideas & Opinions

 

  • Ideas:
    • Describe, Compare, Contrast, Apply, Predict, Imagine - Use with any two or three things/concepts/ideas (people from history, current events, mathematical formulas, elements from the periodic table, geometric shapes, countries, chocolate bars - the possibilities are endless!
    • Who, What, When, Where, Why, How - Have students come up with questions about a current topic of study. Students can exchange questions with others to answer.
    • Sample Cubing Lesson: Primary Reading - Concepts of Print
    • Create two or three different cubes, each with questions at different levels of complexity. Assign students to work in small groups and respond (on paper or out loud) to the questions on their assigned cube.
    • Use to determine where each student will start when rotating through multiple activities, to randomly create student groups for an assignment

     

 

Curriculum Compacting:

More Prep Time Required
..
Form Groups
Adapt Content

 

Four Sides:

Requires Minimal Prep Time
..
Form Groups
Get Moving!
Work Together
Share Ideas & Opinions

 

Grade as You Go:

Requires Minimal Prep Time
..
Monitor Progress
Work Together
Adapt Content

 

  • Benefits:
    • Students get immediate feedback on what they are doing correctly.
    • Students can go back to the answers that weren't correct and try again. (This works well when the students are in partners; they can talk through what they've done and help each other.) Identifying their mistakes now will help reduce the chance of repeating the same mistakes again later.
    • If students are struggling, they will know that their answers aren't correct sooner rather than later and can work to identify the mistakes they're making instead of spending the class period repeatedly getting the problems wrong (and potentially reinforcing the incorrect way to solve the problem).
    • If a student is working quickly and getting all of the problems correct (demonstrating a good understanding of the skill), you may choose not to require him to complete the assignment, but to move on to something else instead.
    • You will know right away if the class as a whole is ready to move on to the next skill.
    • When the assignments are turned in, they're already graded!

 

 

 

Heads Together:

Requires Minimal Prep Time
..
Get Moving!
Work Together
Share Ideas & Opinions

 

Homework Options:

Prep Time Varies
..
Monitor Progress
Adapt Content

 

Jigsaw:

Requires Minimal Prep Time
..
Form Groups
Work Together
Adapt Content
Take Notes

 

KWL Charts:

Requires Minimal Prep Time
..
Monitor Progress
Share Ideas & Opinions
Take Notes

 

Learning Contracts:

Requires More Prep Time
..
Monitor Progress
Form Groups
Adapt Content

 

Literature Circles:

Requires Some Prep Time
..
Compare & Contrast
Form Groups
Get Moving!
Work Together
Adapt Content
Share Ideas & Opinions

 

Menus (or Agendas):

Requires Some Prep Time
..
Monitor Progress
Work Together
Adapt Content
Menu Format:

 

Mini White Boards:

Requires Minimal Prep Time
..
Monitor Progress
Form Groups
Work Together
Share Ideas & Opinions
  • Provide each student with a small white board (10-12 inches square), a dry erase marker and a tissue (to wipe the board clean between questions). Ask a question or write a problem on the board. Ask students to respond on their white boards, which they hold up once they have an answer written.
  • Can also be used for questions based on opinion or that potentially have multiple right answers. After students hold up their answers, have them find a partner with a different answer. Give them each one minute to explain to their new parters why their own answer is the right one. Have the students come back together and discuss any changes in opinion.
  • Or, have students form small groups with others who gave the same or similar answers. Use these student groups for the day's lesson.

 

 

 

Orbitals (Independent Study Projects):

Requires More Prep Time
..
Adapt Content

 

Question Choices:

Requires Minimal Prep Time
..
Monitor Progress
Form Groups
Adapt Content

 

Reading Buddies:

Requires Some Prep Time
..
Get Moving!
Work Together
Adapt Content

 

Reflection and Response:

Requires Minimal Prep Time
..
Monitor Progress
Share Ideas & Opinions

 

Scaffolding:

Requires More Prep Time
..
Monitor Progress
Form Groups
Adapt Content

 

Sticky Note Graphs:

Requires Minimal Prep Time
..
Compare & Contrast
Get Moving!
Work Together
Share Ideas & Opinions

 

Think-Tac-Toe:

Requires More Prep Time
..
Compare & Contrast
Form Groups
Work Together
Adapt Content
Share Ideas & Opinions
Take Notes

 

Think-Pair-Share:

Requires Minimal Prep Time
..
Monitor Progress
Compare & Contrast
Work Together
Share Ideas & Opinions
  1. Ask a question or propose a problem
  2. Students first think of an answer or idea on their own (2-3 minutes)
  3. Next, students share, and possibly revise, their responses by sharing with a partner
  4. Then open discussion to the whole group to share and compare answers and ideas

 

Ticket Out the Door:

Requires Minimal Prep Time
..
Monitor Progress
Form Groups

 

Tiered Activities:

Prep Time Varies
..
Monitor Progress
Form Groups
Work Together
Adapt Content

 

Tiered Rubrics:

Requires More Prep Time
..
Monitor Progress
Adapt Content

 

Varied Organizers:

Requires More Prep Time
..
Adapt Content
Take Notes

 

Varied Products:

Prep Time Varies
..
Monitor Progress
Adapt Content

 

Varied Texts:

Requires Some Prep Time
..
Form Groups
Adapt Content

 

 

Material from DesCartes: A Continuum of Learning is provided by courtesy of Northwest Evaluation Association and may not be republished, rewritten, or redistributed. All rights reserved.