The theme for this year’s DEN Summer Institute (DENSI) is JOY. So what better way to celebrate our theme than with a special instructional strategy as part of our SOS series. You can download the JOY SOS here. A very special thank you to Susan Bowdoin (@sbowdoin) who made this SOS even more useful and
Numerous studies indicate that feedback is most effective when it is given immediately. Research indicates that individuals who are given immediate feedback show a significantly larger increase in performance than those who receive delayed feedback. James Pennebaker states that, “Students must be given access to information about their performance . . . At the broadest level, students need to know if they actually have mastered the material or not. Giving them information about the ways they are studying, reading, searching for information, or answering questions can be invaluable.”
“Drawing can improve complex reasoning, writing, and reading readiness, partly because the critical and creative faculties required to generate and appreciate art transfer cognitively to future learning experiences, and partly because the arts make learning fun: A student personally invested in his or her work will be far more likely to stick with it” (Edutopia). This strategy activates context clues and prior knowledge by allowing students to connect their drawings to concepts being learned to further develop vocabulary.
Did you know that the hit song “The Battle of New Orleans” was written by a high school principal to get his students more interested in history? Writing songs is a great way to hook students as they begin to learn about a concept, but having them write the songs is even better. Students can use public domain tunes, such as nursery rhymes or old standards, and plug in words to become scholars and rock stars!
Take a Stand is a simple game that can be used in a variety of ways: use it at the beginning of a lesson as an informal pre-assessment, use it in the middle or at the end of a lesson as a review, or use it anytime as a simple get-to-know-youactivity. It encourages students to take a stand on an issue and provide evidence to back up that stand.
This strategy is designed to engage students in group discussion, by giving them speci?c roles to play. The teacher uses a prepared deck of cards with different tasks on each card, to determine what each student will do during and after interacting with a media segment. Keeping students actively engaged will help with both immediate and long-term comprehension of content material, leading to greater success with academic tasks such as writing assignments, reports, and assessments.
Studying the lives and choices of historical ?gures and literary characters adds depth to understanding of content and helps develop empathy. This activity helps students better understand a particular person or character, by creating a road map of key events in his or her life and analyzing how those events contributed to choices made. This strategy can be used as part of a research project, as a way to review previously studied material, or as an assessment tool.
Providing students an opportunity to think critically and ask higher-level questions of each other in a fun environment leads to a more engaged classroom. “When students formulate questions, they become actively involved in learning.” (Marzano) Using Hot Potato while posing questions pertaining to a Discovery Education resource makes this difficult skill more engaging and less threatening. Students play in teams and use a soft ball to bounce questions back and forth while earning points based on the level of complexity.
The Connect-Extend-Challenge routine is part of the Visible Thinking approach, developed at Harvard’s Project Zero. This routine guides students to use their background knowledge, identify new learning, and think about how that new knowledge challenges or puzzles them.
Save the Last Word for Me is a discussion strategy that requires all students to participate as active speakers and listeners. Its clearly de?ned structure helps shy students share their ideas and ensures that frequent speakers practice being quiet. It can be used as a way to help students debrief a video or reading passage.