The teacher in this video discusses and demonstrates how she reinforces students' efforts to solve challenging problems, including practices such as inviting them to justify their thinking and encouraging them to try different approaches. She models strategies and language that help her young students tackle challenges, expect difficulties, develop problem-solving skills, discuss their thinking, and build habits and mindsets that will serve them throughout their school careers.
This article offers insightful and practical approaches to providing students with feedback on their work that is meaningful and actionable. The writer explains that the only worthwhile feedback is that which improves performance. He describes how to design tasks that illuminate student thinking to inform teaching and employ strategies that challenge students to assess their own work and to revise their work based on feedback.
The teacher featured in this video highlights the relevance of what he is teaching, connects ideas, and engages students actively in learning. He designs tasks that invite students to synthesize and apply their understanding in real-world contexts. He anticipates challenges, monitors student work to check for understanding, and identifies common mistakes, all of which inform his teaching.
This book chapter describes an approach to designing curriculum, instruction, and assessments in which teachers plan backwards from what they want students to understand and be able to do and engage students actively in meaningful learning experiences involving inquiry and application of skills and knowledge in authentic contexts. This overview highlights the value of student input, regular checks for understanding, and performance assessments guided by clear criteria for quality work.
In this blog post, a teacher suggests strategies for engaging students by offering them opportunities to provide input and make choices about what they learn and how they communicate their learning. Recommendations include surveys to gauge student understanding as well as interest, invitations to choose topics of study and project options, and activities that help students make connections between what they are learning and the world outside of school.
This video includes a helpful overview of higher order questions, why they are important, and how to use them effectively in a variety of contexts. It describes a variety of teaching strategies that focus on using higher-order questions to help students deepen their thinking, develop their understanding, and make their thinking visible so that teachers and students can clear up confusion and strengthen explanations when necessary. Links to sample tools and materials are also available.
In this video, a teacher illustrates how she prepares students for participation in small-group discussions, helping them to document their ideas and supporting evidence in advance. She asks questions that highlight the relevance of important concepts, encourages students to ask and investigate their own questions, and requires them to explain their thinking. She engages students in clarifying expectations for small group discussions and in assessing how well they meet those expectations.
This article and video explain how to use designated group roles in order to promote interaction through student-led peer group discussion about a text. Reciprocal teaching is a technique that engages students in reading comprehension strategies including questioning, clarifying, summarizing, and predicting. Accompanying resources support classroom implementation in a variety of teaching contexts to help students explain their thinking and deepen their understanding.
In this video, a teacher explains and demonstrates how she scaffolds instruction in order to break down complex tasks and provide instructional support for reading comprehension skills by thinking aloud and using a graphic organizer to illustrate her thought process. She models success by demonstrating the task first, asks students to practice together, further clarifies after checking for understanding, and then invites students to apply the strategy independently.
This article offers concrete strategies to support students' pursuit of high quality work by clarifying criteria for success, analyzing models, focusing instruction, and providing opportunities for feedback on work in progress. These strategies help to ensure that students have the needed instructional support for developing new skills and concepts throughout the process of crafting products or otherwise demonstrating their understanding.
In this two-part video, a teacher describes and demonstrates how her students explore and analyze differing perspectives using a variety of primary sources. The video aptly illustrates how the teacher probes student thinking and students ground their statements in evidence from complex texts as they engage in turn and talk, class discussion, and other interactive activities.
In this video, several teachers describe and demonstrate how they personalize learning and facilitate active engagement in their classrooms. The video and accompanying article offer useful strategies for designing engaging projects that cultivate curiosity and inquiry, promote interaction, provide choice as well as helpful structure and guidance, and offer opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.
The teacher featured in this video describes how reflection on her own learning process prompted her to create formative assessments that break down specific skills, which she assesses on a continuum for each student. She regularly assesses students' work and checks for understanding to inform her teaching. She groups students and differentiates instruction based on their specific learning needs, providing appropriate levels of challenge and support for each student.
This teacher's blog post explains how she uses Talking Circles in a variety of ways to build relationships, establish a safe and respectful learning environment, and check for understanding. She describes how she establishes norms and how she uses circles weekly in her advisory meeting and during her reading instruction, in addition to using them for restorative purposes to support students in managing their behavior and being accountable to their community.
This online tool helps teachers create customized rubrics to clarify expectations, guide teaching and learning, support peer review and self-assessment, and focus constructive feedback to help students produce high quality work. The tool allows teachers to create, save, and modify rubrics using starter templates, and it offers a variety of examples of rubrics created by teachers. Other online teacher tools by 4Teachers can also be accessed through this site.
This article describes how to use the writing process to help students engage in meaningful writing tasks, deepen their thinking, persist in their efforts, and produce quality work. It explains the value of clarifying expectations and structuring opportunities for students to check their own work, engage in peer review, confer with teachers, and revise their work based on feedback. These strategies apply to writing tasks or creative projects across the curriculum at any level.
This book excerpt identifies strategies for establishing a classroom culture where students feel intellectually and emotionally safe and view challenges and mistakes as opportunities for learning. It explains how building a safe learning environment is key to cultivating a growth mindset, which helps students persevere to meet learning challenges, and also to checking for understanding, which works best if students are comfortable expressing their learning struggles as well as their successes.
This introductory book chapter explains what rubrics are and when, why, and how to use them to guide learning and provide feedback on student work based on established criteria. It provides a helpful overview of different types of rubrics and how they can be used to clarify learning goals and expectations and frame feedback on student work products and performances.
This article describes strategies for scaffolding instruction to clarify understanding, such as modeling, providing students time to talk, and using graphic organizers or other visual aids. This concise list of effective scaffolding strategies offers practical ideas for teaching new content in ways that facilitate learning and help all students make sense of what is being taught.
This video offers a beautiful example of using models to define criteria and guide student work, engaging students in closely examining each other's work, and coaching them in providing constructive feedback on progress. It illustrates the power of this strategy to help students raise their standards for high-quality work and achieve more than they thought possible.
This article provides several strategies to guide students in providing feedback on each other's work, including use of rubrics and exemplars. Simple feedback protocols offer a variety of ways to support students in framing comments on each other's work, highlighting both strengths and suggestions for improvement.
This simple, accessible thinking routine consists of two simple questions that challenge students to think deeply and explain their understanding during any part of a learning experience. It can help to develop a regular practice among students of justifying their ideas, theories, or interpretations with evidence. Whether used in small or large group discussions or with individual students, this routine can help teachers and students monitor depth of understanding.
This well-written article clearly articulates core principles to guide teachers in providing helpful feedback on student work that builds student ownership of performance goals and results in noticeable improvements. It explains the importance of clarity about expectations and offers illustrative examples of the kind of feedback that promotes learning and helps students progress toward meeting those expectations.
This thinking routine invites students to activate prior knowledge, ask and investigate their own questions, and make connections to deepen and consolidate their learning. It helps students build bridges between their thinking before and after a learning experience and can help teachers plan and facilitate instruction that is responsive to students' understanding.
This article discusses strategies used by game designers for engaging learners that can be effectively applied in the design of classroom instruction. It distills what makes game-based learning fun and how to transfer those design principles to a variety of classroom learning experiences. For example, building in opportunities for choice, feedback, and creativity can help to engage students and challenge them to persist in their learning.
This brief video demonstrates strategies for maximizing learning time at the beginning and ending of a class, including ways to focus students, check for understanding, and consolidate learning. It offers a variety of useful examples of how teachers use entry tickets and exit tickets to establish clear routines for starting and ending class that keep students on task and focused on learning while also helping the teacher keep track of progress.
Exit slips invite students to briefly reflect on what they learned during a lesson and can provide teachers with an informal assessment of student understanding. They can help teachers find out how students are synthesizing and connecting what they are learning, what they are still wondering about, or any other information that can assist in planning further instruction. A variety of practical suggestions for employing this versatile strategy are provided, along with sample prompts.
This video features a kindergarten learning expedition about birds that captivates students' interest, sparks their curiosity, links their inquiries directly to the world outside of school, and actively engages them in producing quality work that they share with the community. Students act as citizen scientists, researchers, and artists, and they are guided by clear expectations for success as they draft, revise, and ultimately present their work.
This blog post provides a variety of examples of formative assessment strategies teachers can use to check for understanding in order to inform instruction, as well as links to related resources with additional information, tools, and suggestions. It explains techniques such as methodical observation, student reflections, and summarizing activities, which can help students both monitor and consolidate their understanding, while also helping the teacher plan subsequent instruction.
This thinking routine invites students to confer with each other about an open-ended, higher-order question to clarify and consolidate their ideas. The teacher poses a question and asks students to think about their responses individually, then explain their thinking to their partners, and finally share with the whole class. This classic protocol, which can be used in any teaching context, ensures that every student has the opportunity to reflect on and respond to a question.
This concise resource explains why summarizing is an important comprehension strategy and how to teach it. It also includes a selection of related classroom activities, templates, and lesson plans for teaching students how to identify and summarize the main ideas of a text. The list of "more summarizing activities" includes many techniques that can also be used to check for understanding.
This summary of linked strategies can help teachers build a classroom learning culture in which useful feedback based on clear criteria is viewed by all as a critical part of the learning process. A brief chart outlines a useful process and rationale for clarifying learning targets, establishing success criteria, and teaching students to reflect and share feedback on progress toward those targets in light of the success criteria.
This classroom routine can help students, especially struggling readers, to actively engage with texts so that they comprehend what they are reading, connect new ideas with existing knowledge, and practice summarizing to consolidate their understanding.