Innovate 2 Educate has developed five categories of instructional strategies that have a significant impact on student learning. It's time to fill your toolbox!
Activation The following activation strategies provide teachers with options for setting a context for learning from the onset of a lesson. By activating prior knowledge, teachers set their students up for success. Dr. Madeline Hunter, author of the seven-step lesson design model (1994) called this the “anticipatory set” and referred to these strategies as “hooks” to build student interest and knowledge.
• Academic vocabulary • Background knowledge • Essential questions • Advance organizers, including anticipation guides* • K-W-L (know-wonder-learn) • Teacher- and student-generated comparisons • Student learning goals* • Preview content Collaboration The following strategies offer opportunities to engage students in collaborative learning experiences. John Dewey (1916) rejected the notion that schools should focus on repetitive, rote memorization and proposed a method of “directed living”— students would engage in real-world, practical workshops in which they would demonstrate their knowledge through creativity and collaboration. Students should be provided with opportunities to think for themselves and articulate their thoughts on a daily basis.
• Cooperative learning • Reciprocal teaching • Jigsaw • Socratic seminar • Feedback—peer-to-peer/teacher-student • Games for learning • Simulation/roleplaying
Metacognition Below are examples of strategies that help students organize new learning and ideas, think through the learning process, and become more self-sufficient. Creating independent learners and critical thinkers is critical for their success in life.
• Nonlinguistic representations • Concept mapping • Summarizing/notetaking • Read/recall/check/summarize • Content frames • Interacting with text • Similarities and differences • Close read • Annotations • Think out loud • Self-assessment
Communication Communication of learning expectations is a high-leverage strategy that should guide the focus of instruction and the actions of students. By utilizing strategies such as guided practice, modeling, and scoring guides, teachers can increase student understanding of the goals for learning and therefore produce higher results. Suggested communication strategies are listed below.
• Powerful questioning • QARs—question, answer, relationship • RAFT—Role, audience, format, topic • Writing to learn strategies • Constructed response • Argumentation • Benchmark work • Anchor papers • Learning targets • Scoring guides and rubrics • Guided practice • Modeling
Application Below are some examples of strategies that can be used to foster application of knowledge and skills and create rich learning experiences for students. How students are asked to apply their new learning reflects teacher expectations and illustrates their depth of knowledge.
Five to Thrive for Students With the ultimate goal being development of students who are self-regulated learners, providing the “Five to Thrive” in student-friendly language is beneficial. Students should come to understand teacher expectations and begin to employ various strategies without being prompted. Communicating the student version also aids teachers when modeling for students the use of the strategies and when they are most appropriate. The student-friendly version of the “five to thrive” is:
1. Activate my knowledge. 2. Collaborate with others. 3. Think about my own thinking. 4. Communicate my learning. 5. Show what I know.
Why 5? The five categories were selected following an extensive review of the research on instruction, effective schools, and preparing students for the future. Just as students need a way to think about their own thinking, teachers need a way to think about their own teaching. The five categories of activation, collaboration, metacognition, communication, and application also represent an alignment with the performance expectations within the Common Core State Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards, and the next generation assessments from PARCC and SBAC. Additionally, the framework published by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, promotes the “Four C’s—collaboration, communication, critical thinking (metacognition), and creativity (application)—as necessary skills to prepare our students for college and careers. You will find evidence of these within the five categories as well.
Click HERE to access a chapter on Five to Thrive included in the anthology Engaged Instruction: Thriving Classrooms in the Age of the Common Core and written by Lissa Pijanowski, Ed.D.