This video offers a helpful overview of the rationale for explicitly teaching vocabulary and recommended strategies for maximizing the benefits of such instruction to improve students' reading comprehension. It explains the importance of teaching both the meanings of selected words and word learning strategies, as well as a variety of practical suggestions for employing this important clarification strategy in teaching any subject.
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.
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.
The teacher featured in this video illustrates how he sparks and maintains interest and cultivates curiosity and inquiry through designing a project that engages students actively, creatively, and collaboratively in learning. He clarifies key concepts by highlighting their relevance and their connections to students' experiences. He invites students to deepen their understanding through teaching others and provides clear expectations and constructive feedback to help them produce quality work.
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.
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.
This resource describes instructional practices and strategies that foster engaging and challenging learning experiences for all students. These practices include promoting discussion, collaboration, and higher order thinking, as well as clarifying expectations and highlighting relevance. Recommendations address the value of incorporating student perspectives and the importance of considering classroom diversity along a variety of dimensions when designing instruction.
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 article explains how to respond to students' questions in ways that foster higher order thinking, and offers a variety of teaching strategies that can help to develop thinking skills. It describes techniques for explaining clearly, promoting discussion, connecting ideas, and otherwise deepen and expand students' thinking.
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 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 well-organized guide to implementing principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) articulates why it's important to explain new content in multiple ways and offers a variety of practical strategies, examples, and resources. For example, directly teaching key vocabulary or syntax, explaining ideas using a variety of media, and lowering barriers to decoding can all help to clarify important concepts, minimize confusion, and accommodate a range of learning differences.
This well-organized guide to implementing principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) explains why it's important to clarify and consolidate students’ understanding and offers a variety of practical strategies, examples, and resources. For instance, activating background knowledge, highlighting patterns and big ideas, scaffolding cognitive processing, and supporting transfer can all help to deepen and solidify students' understanding.
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 series of lessons scaffolds instruction to develop students' summarizing skills, beginning with clarifying and modeling and offering practice in applying those skills with increasing independence. This strategy for summarizing texts, which is adaptable and broadly applicable across content areas, involves answering the key questions of journalism: who, what, where, when, why, and how.
The teacher featured in this video demonstrates how she differentiates instruction based on individual students' learning needs so that everyone can engage in the lesson with confidence, feel supported and challenged, and achieve success. She models and explains how she personalizes instruction during a close reading lesson in ways that are respectful of students' varied learning needs and readiness levels.
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 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 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 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.