Kagan`s Instructional Strategies

Teaching-Learning Cycle:
From Design to Implementation
Octaviano James Beltran III
Science Specialist/Dean of Instruction
Kingsville ISD
Analyze TEKS
• Readiness, Supporting,
Process Skill
• SE Verb, Content,
Context, DOK
Share Successes &
Address Deficiencies
Examine Data
• Successful/unsuccessful
• Item Analysis
• Align SEs to Instruction
Identify Resources,
and Link Resources
to SEs & Instruction
Formalize Plans &
Classroom Management
Kids’ Hearts”
Gagne’s 9
Comparison Matrix
Hunter’s ITIP
Evaluation of Learning
Teach Lesson
Intro to Lesson
Comparison Matrix
Gagne’s 9 Steps
Hunter’s ITIP Model
Gain Attention
Anticipatory Set
Inform Leaner of
State the Lesson
Objective(s) to the
Stimulate Recall of
Prior Knowledge
Present the Material
Provide Feedback
Assess Performance
Enhance Retention
and Transfer
Fundamental 5
Frame the Lesson
Provide Guidance for
Check Performance
5E Model
Check for
Provide Guided
Assign Independent
Work in the Power
Purposeful, Smallgroup Talk
Recognize &
Write Critically
Frame the Lesson
Robert Gagne’s
9 Steps of Learning
1. Gain Attention: Present a problem/new situation, OR use an "interest device" to grab
learner attention.
2. Inform Learner of Objective : Describe the goal of a lesson, state what the learners will
be able to accomplish, and how they will be able to use the knowledge.
3. Stimulate Recall of Prior Knowledge: Remind the learners of prior knowledge relevant
to the current lesson in order to provide them with a framework to help learning & recall.
4. Present the Material: Chunk the information to avoid memory overload. Blend the
information to aid in information recall.
5. Provide Guidance for Learning: Instructions on HOW to learn.
6. Elicit Performance: Practice by letting the learner do something with the newly acquired
behavior, skills, or knowledge, OR demonstrate (model) it.
7. Provide Feedback: Show correctness of the learner's response & analyze learner's
behavior (test, quiz, or verbal comments). Feedback needs to be specific, and should include:
why they are doing a good job or provide specific guidance.
8. Assess Performance: Test to determine if the lesson has been learned.
9. Enhance Retention and Transfer: Discuss similar problem situations, provide
additional practice, put the learner in a transfer situation, & review the lesson.
Madeline Hunter’s Instructional
Theory Into Practice (ITIP) Model
1. Learning Objective: Select an objective at an appropriate level of difficulty and
complexity, as determined through a task analysis, diagnostic testing, and/or
congruence with Bloom's cognitive taxonomy.
2. Anticipatory Set: Motivate instruction by focusing the learning task, its
importance, or the prior knowledge/experience of the learners.
3. State the Lesson Objective(s) to the Students
4. Input: Identify & teach main concepts/skills, emphasizing clear explanations,
frequent use of examples/diagrams, and active student participation.
5. Check for Understanding: Observe and interpret student reactions by frequent
formative evaluations with immediate feedback. Adjust instruction as needed and
reteach if necessary.
6. Provide Guided Practice: Follow instruction by having students answer
questions, discuss with one another, demonstrate skills, or solve problems. Give
immediate feedback and reteach if necessary.
7. Assign Independent Practice: Provide students with opportunities to
solidify skills & knowledge when they have demonstrated understanding.
5E Instructional Cycle
• ENGAGE: Pique student interest and get them personally involved in the lesson,
while pre-assessing prior understanding. Students make connections between past
and present learning experiences, setting the organizational ground work for
upcoming activities.
EXPLORE: Students interact directly with phenomena and materials, working
together in teams, to build a set of common experiences which prompt sharing &
communication. The teacher acts as a facilitator, providing materials and guiding
the students' focus. Emphasis is placed on: Questioning, Data Analysis and Critical
EXPLAIN: Learners communicate what they have learned, sequencing events into a
logical format. Communication occurs between peers, with the facilitator, and
through a reflective process.
EXTEND/ELABORATE: Students expand on the concepts they have learned, make
connections to other related concepts, and apply their understandings to the world
around them in new ways.
EVALUATE: Teacher determines if the learner has attained understanding of
concepts and knowledge. Tools include: rubrics, teacher observation, student
interviews, portfolios, and project/problem-based learning products.
Fundamental Five
• Frame the Lesson: Introduce the learning objective at the
beginning of the lesson, AND reflect on whether the learning
objective was met at the end of the lesson.
Work in the Power Zone: Move about the room checking on
everyone. Reinforce positive behaviors. Perform frequent and
ongoing formative assessments. Continually micro-adjust
Purposeful Small-group Talk: 10-15 minutes of teacher talk is
followed by 3-5 minutes of student talk.
Recognize & Reinforce: Make a big deal of small victories &
reinforce the work it takes to be successful.
Write Critically: Provide students with opportunities to organize,
clarify, defend, refute, analyze, dissect, connect, and/or expand on
ideas or concepts (e.g., lists, comparison paragraph, summary,
mind map, graphic organizer, purposeful note taking,
exit ticket, or essay).
Tips for Success
Tips for Successful Lessons
• Chunking – space out lectures into 5-10 minute chunks,
interspersed with student activities.
– Activities can include: student talk, working with manipulatives,
oral/written summaries, or checks for understanding (questioning).
• Scaffolding – provide opportunities & examples for students to use
prior knowledge as a scaffold to “hang” new learning upon.
• Visuals – use graphics, word walls, and student products as a means
to teach concepts, build vocabulary, & communicate expectations.
• Purposeful Movement – provide students with opportunities to
engage in learning through physical activity rather than observing a
lecture or demonstration… this also gets the blood flowing to the
brain, facilitating learning.
• Learning Environment – optimize the environment in your
classroom in order to help students learn and retain
Model Classrooms Project
• Greeting &
• Bloom’s
• Wrap-up
• Data Analysis
• Instructional
• Kagan’s
• Marzano’s
• Kinesthetic
• Visual
• Oral
• Written
• Quizzes/Tests
• Projects
Beginning a Lesson:
Greeting & Warm-up
• Greeting (before class begins):
– Meet students at the front door with a smile and a handshake.
– Welcome them to class & provide direction as needed with warm-up activity.
– Correct dress code, acceptable use of technology, etc. as students enter the
– Monitor the hallways & remember our PBIS.
Warm-up (3-5 min…right after the bell):
Should be related to material learned the previous day, OR
Used to diagnose prior knowledge, OR
As a means to link prior knowledge with new material…
Should be done daily & kept in a dedicated place (I.e. bookshelf or file folder).
Should be TIMED…timer should be visible by students.
Use this time to walk about the room, making sure students are on-task while
taking attendance.
Beginning a Lesson:
Three-part Objective (TPO)
• TPO (3-5 min):
– Consists of:
• Cognitive verb – level of thinking the students will be engaged in during the lesson.
• Content – specific TEKS student expectation that will be learned by the students.
• Product – tangible thing that the students will produce during the lesson to demonstrate
understanding/mastery of the content…should match with the level of the cognitive verb.
– Should be read aloud by the teacher or students (preferably the students)
– Questions should be asked about all three parts with the students being called upon
randomly or required to respond chorally. In particular, the student should be able to:
• Understand what level of thinking (effort) is required to be successful & should know synonyms
for the cognitive verb.
• Reiterate the meaning of all academic vocabulary used in the objective & what specific
knowledge they should leave class with.
• Describe what the product is and understand what their role in completing that product is
(I.e. Are they part of a group or expected to complete it on their own?)
– When TPO is carried over to the next day, make sure to reiterate to ensure students are
– It is ok to use the same TPO on a multiple-day lesson, but the cognitive verb should
change to show increases in rigor as the lesson progresses.
MCP Questioning Strategies
MCP Product Possibilities
1. Board game
2. Charade
3. Collection
4. Concept cube
5. Demonstration
6. Diorama
7. Display
8. Dramatization
9. Etching
10. Experiment
11. Flip book
12. Kite
13. Mime
14. Mobile
15. Model
16. Monument
17. Movement game
18. Origami
19. Puppet
20. Puzzle
21. Relief map
22. Role play
23. Sculpture
24. Simulation
25. Skit
1. Advertisement
2. Award
3. Banner
4. Brochure
5. Blue print
6. Book jacket
7. Bumper sticker
8. Calendar
9. Collage
10. Comic strip
11. Commercial
12. Cross section
13. Flash cards
14. Graph/chart/diagram
15. Multimedia presentation
16. Outline
17. Picture dictionary
18. Plot graph
19. Political map
20. Poster
21. Rebus story
22. Time line
23. Tee Shirt
24. Video tape
25. Web page
1. Anecdote
2. Book report
3. Class discussion
4. Debate
5. Show & Tell
6. Explanation
7. Fable
8. Haiku
9. Legend
10. Limerick
11. Mock interview
12. Monologue
13. Myth
14. Newscast
15. Nursery rhyme
16. Oral report
17. Panel discussion
18. Radio commentary
19. Radio commercial
20. Rap
21. Reading
22. Round table discussion
23. Small group discussion
24. Speech
25. Story telling
1. Article
2. Autobiography/biography
3. Brochure
4. Classified ad
5. Critique
6. Dictionary
7. Dialog
8. E-mail
9. Editorial
10. Essay/research paper
11. Explanation
12. Fable/fairy tale/folk tale
13. Greeting card
14. Interview script
15. Job description
16. Journal entry
17. Legend
18. Letter
19. Limerick
20. Manual
21. Newsletter
22. Obituary/Epitaph
23. Recipe
24. Report
25. Travel log
Ending a Lesson
• Wrap-up (3-5 min):
– This is a time to…
• Refer back to the TPO…“Was the objective met?” “How
do we know?”
• Have students clean-up their work area.
• Give a short (5-10 questions) formative assessment.
• Do a quick write summary ($3 summary), followed by a
quick share-out.
• Have the students answer an “exit ticket” question
about the material…”What did you learn?”
Kingsville Academic Plan for
Success (KAPS) Strategies
• Focus is on 4 classes of instructional practices,
each selected by KISD teachers as being most
effective & easiest to implement:
– Write-to-Learn
– Classroom Talk
– Collaboration
– Questioning
Dialectical Journals (ELA/SS): a
split-entry journal in which
students record information and
ideas taken from readings,
discussions, etc. in order to
encourage verbal response to
materials being studied, and
provide a record of information &
reactions that may be useful for
writing papers, participating in
discussions, and studying for
Interactive Notebooks
(Math/Sci.): a variation of the
dialectical journal wherein the
notebook is divided into Right
Side (inputs from teacher) and
Left Side (output by student)
portions. Students record
discussion/reading notes and
information from labs/activities,
as well as insert important
handouts on the right side, and
reorganize new information in
creative formats, express
opinions/feelings, and explore
new ideas.
Group Writing
Revise/Re-write: students either
work together REVISING a document
that has already been written in
order to work on focus, organization,
support, and use of jargon, or
REWRITING something for a different
purpose or audience.
Divide The Work: students are
placed into groups in order to
investigate a problem/issue, and are
assigned a section of the greater
work to complete. Each student
prepares a draft of his or her section,
then the group as a whole must
synthesize a cohesive document
from the disparate pieces.
Peer-To-Peer: student response
groups work on all stages of major
assignments, including:
1. Brainstorming about possible
2. Bringing in plans/notes for
feedback from group members.
3. Checking that criteria for the
assignment are being met.
4. Editing/revising completed drafts.
5. Writing critiques of completed
Focused Freewriting
Focused Freewriting: students
write about a particular subject or
question which has been posed, but
unlike true freewriting (which tends
to be too unstructured for many
educators), this activity is focused in
order that all students will be able to
write something.
Sample questions:
1. What did you understand least
about today’s assignment?
2. What points in the article you read
for today are the most (or least)
3. Of what value is this knowledge?
How does what you are studying
apply to the world around you?
4. Had you been a peasant during the
French Revolution, what do you
feel your greatest fear would have
5. What assumptions do you make
about the author of the piece you
have just read?
Entry/Exit Slips
Entry/Exit Slips: students respond
to questions the teacher poses
either at the beginning (entry) or
the end (exit) of class. They
usually take no more than five
minutes and teachers can use
these to tell very quickly if
students are understanding the
material, can identify the key
points, and compare/contrast
Pre-writing Vocabulary: students
write about a key term within a
topic/concept before it is
discussed in class. They share
their definitions of what the word
means to them and then the
teacher brings the discussion back
around to the topic/concept. This
method helps to broaden
students’ perspectives based on
what they already know and/or
Classroom Talk
Socratic Seminar
Philosophical Chairs
Socratic Seminar: a method of
Philosophical Chairs: students are
Jigsaw: students are divided into
teaching through whole-group
discussion wherein students are
encouraged to think for
themselves rather than being told
what to think. Consists of four
1) The Text- drawn from readings
in literature, history, science,
mathematics, or current
2) The Question- is open-ended &
has no right or wrong answer.
3) The Leader- a teacher or
student that has dual role as
leader (facilitator) and
4) The Participants- study the
text, listen actively, and share
their ideas with the other
given a central topic or question that
they must choose to agree, disagree
or be neutral regarding the answer.
Topics that work best are ones that
are important to students or that
they feel strongly about. Set-up
• Arrange chairs in a “U” formation
with students facing each other.
• One side will argue in favor & the
other will argue in opposition.
• Students can be neutral (sitting in
the curve), but they must take
notes & explain their position.
• Students must speak one at a time;
others are listeners.
• Students must address each other
by first names & briefly summarize
the previous speaker's points
before offering his/her own
• The teacher can call time-out to
clarify, reflect on the process or
content, or refocus the discussion.
• Comments should address the
ideas, NOT the person.
groups (or “families) of four to six
students, each of which is given a
specific task or portion of a
document to research. Individual
members of each group then
break off to work with the
"experts" from other groups,
working on the task or
researching the part of the
material being studied. After
intense review, students return
“home” to their “families” in
order to share what task they
completed and how it relates to
the whole group, or to teach that
portion of the research.
Think, Pair, Share
Think, Pair, Share: students are
assigned partners for the activity, a
topic/problem is provided to the
students, and they are allowed at
least 10 seconds to THINK of an
answer. Students PAIR with their
partner to discuss the topic/problem
and are called on SHARE their ideas.
Science - Making predictions about
or discussing the results of an
experiment, analyzing charts &
graphs, drawing conclusions, etc.
Social Studies - Discussing political
viewpoints, analyzing causes/effects
of historical events, discussing
contributions of important figures,
Math - Asking students to think
about the steps for solving a
problem, discussing strategies for
solving the problem, and working out
the problem &comparing answers.
ELA - Discussing character traits and
motives, making predictions about
plot, making guesses about
vocabulary words based on context
clues, etc.
Cooperative Grouping
Cooperative Grouping: students
are put into groups and given a
specific task to perform (I.e.
complete a lab, model/simulate a
concept or process, play a learning
game, etc.). Each student is given an
assigned role to perform and is held
individually accountable for their part
of the greater work.
For projects, roles might include:
• Leader/Facilitator: organizes the
group and ensures that the project
meets the standards set out by the
• Recorder/Secretary: takes notes and
keeps track of group
• Timekeeper: makes sure that the
group stays on track & gets through
a reasonable amount of material in
the given time period.
• Checker: double-checks data,
bibliographic sources, or graphics
for accuracy and correctness.
• Spokesperson/Webmaster:
responsible for the technical details
of the final product, summarizing
the group's progress & findings.
Engineering Design
Engineering Design Applications:
involves a series of steps that lead
to the development of a solution
to a problem or a new product or
system. The process is not a
random process and incorporates
a logical sequence of steps,
STEP 1: Identify the Problem
STEP 2: Identify Criteria and
STEP 3: Brainstorm Possible
STEP 4: Generate Ideas
Inside-Outside Circle
Inside-Outside Circle: students
stand in two concentric circles,
facing a partner, and use flash
cards to ask questions of their
partner or take turns responding
to teacher questions. The outside
circle students ask, listen & then
praise or coach their partner on
the inside, and then roles are
reversed. After each question or
set of questions, students in the
outer circle rotate to the next
People Hunt
Numbered Heads
Numbered Heads Together:
students are grouped by the teacher,
are provided some content or task &
then must work together to ensure
all members understand the content
or process. One student is randomly
selected to answer for the group.
That student must answer the
question individually, using:
• response cards
• chalkboard response
• manipulatives
• slate share
STEP 5: Explore Possibilities
STEP 6: Select an Approach
STEP 7: Build a Model or
STEP 8: Refine the Design
People Hunt: students receive a list
of statements/questions to answer &
complete, and must find classmates
who can help them answer a
question or complete a statement.
The teacher facilitates a discussion of
the information with the students.
Corners: students move to different
corners of the room, depending on
their point of view. Students are
given a small amount of time to think
& then are directed to discuss the
reason(s) for their choice. The
teacher selects a few students from
each corner to share out.
Simultaneity: The teacher
employs a variety of methods in
order to obtain close to 100%
participation in answering a
question. Includes:
• Pair-Share – All students talking
in pairs with one speaking and
one listening then reversing
• Choral Response – The teacher’s
question is answered by all of
the students at the same time.
• Visual Cue – All students holding
up an answer card or giving
another nonverbal response at
the same time.
• Quick Write – All students
writing an answer for a short
amount of time.
• Timed Thinking – All students
thinking silently on a prompt for
a short period of time.
Wait Time & Coaching
Randomness: The teacher employs
Wait Time & Coaching: The
teacher provides assistance to a
student struggling with an answer
by giving them time to think and
receive help from another
student or from the teacher
(coaching). Wait time should vary
from 10 -30 seconds. The
coaching process includes:
a variety of methods in order to
ensure that close to 100% of
students are participating in an
activity through questioning students
on content and/or processes. A
sufficient number of prompts is
provided by the teacher so that any
one student should be called upon
multiple times. Tools for employing
randomness include the use of :
• Popsicles Sticks - students’ names
(written on large popsicle sticks) are
randomly drawn out of a cup.
• Dice Roll - students are assigned a
number & two 12-sided dice are
used to chose a student.
• Pupil Picker - iPhone App that
allows teachers to designate a list
of students to be chosen from.
• Deck of Cards - similar to “Dice Roll”
• Random Number Generator - Smart
Board App that randomly chooses
numbers tied to students.
• Identifying Content Gap – teacher
asks probing questions beginning
with close-ended questions over
basic knowledge, and moving
toward open-ended analysis
questions in order to find the
content gap.
• Bridging The Gap – teacher assists
student in linking previous
knowledge to new content via
associations with real-world
situations or comparisons with
simplified models.
• Sealing The Gap – teacher
reinforces student success through
verbal and/or nonverbal praise.
Cognitive Verbs in
Cognitive Verbs in Questions:
Teacher use of cognitive verbs in
objective- or content-based
questions asked of the students.
(Ex. Can you describe for me the
what is occurring during each of
the stages of the cell cycle?)
Cognitive Verbs in
Cognitive Verbs in Praise:
Teacher use of cognitive verbs in
praising students for effort and/or
correct responses.
(Ex. Excellent job justifying your
opinion as to the author’s pointof-view in this piece of literature!)
Advancement Via Individual
Determination (AVID) Strategies
• Based on 4 classes of instructional practices
(WICR)… uses similar strategies as KAPS.
– Writing
– Inquiry
– Collaboration
– Reading
Bloom’s Critical Thinking
Questioning Strategies
• Bloom’s NEW Taxonomy is based on
six levels of thinking:
• Remembering
• Understanding
• Applying
• Effective questioning techniques build from one
level to the next.
• STAAR test questions focus on “Applying”,
“Analyzing”, and “Evaluating”.
– We must ensure that students are challenged
to answer questions at each of these levels.
“Remembering” Question Stems
What happened after _______________?
How many _______________?
Who was it that _______________?
Can you name the _______________?
Described what happened at _______________?
Who spoke to _______________?
Can you tell why _______________?
Find the meaning of _______________?
What is _______________?
Which is true or false _______________?
“Understanding” Question Stems
 Can you write in your own words _______________?
 Can you write a brief outline of _______________?
 What do you think might happen next?
 Who do you think about _______________?
 What was the main idea?
 Who was/were the key character(s)?
 Can you distinguish between _______________?
 What differences exist between _______________?
 Can you provide an example of what you mean?
 Can you provide a definition for _______________?
“Applying” Question Stems
 If you could put yourself in the place of one of the
characters, what would you have done?
 What would result if __________?
 Compare and contrast __________.
 What questions would you like to have answered?
 How do you believe the character would solve the
similar situation of __________?
 If you could put the main character in another story
setting, how would he/she act?
 If you had to plan a vacation for the main character,
where would they go?
“Analyzing” Question Stems
What motive does __________ have?
What conclusions can you draw about __________?
What is the relationship between __________?
How is __________ related to __________?
What ideas support the fact that __________?
What evidence can you find that __________?
What inferences can you make about __________ ?
What generalizations can be made about
 What assumptions do you make about __________?
 What is the theme of the __________?
“Evaluating” Question Stems
 Compare two characters in the selection: which was a
better person? Why?
 Which character would you most like to spend the day
 Do you agree with the actions of __________?
 How could you determine __________?
 Why was it better that __________?
 What choice would you have made about
 How would you explain __________?
 What data was used to make the conclusion?
 Would it be better if __________?
“Creating” Question Stems
What would happen if __________?
What advice would you give __________?
What changes would you make to __________?
Can you give an explanation for __________?
How could you change the plot?
Suppose you could __________, what would you
 How would you rewrite the section from
__________’s point of view?
 How would you rewrite the ending of the story?
Kagan’s Instructional Strategies
• Focus on understanding how to implement cooperative
learning in the classroom in ways that meet adolescent needs
and make learning effective.
Blind Sequencing
Mix-Freeze Group
Similarity Groups
Carousel Feedback
Numbered Heads Together
Simultaneous Round Table
Three-Step Interview
One Stray
Who Am I?
Pairs Check
Find My Rule
Pairs Compare
Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up
Find The Fiction
People Hunt
Rally Robin
Inside-Outside Circle
Rally Table
Talking Chips
Round Table
Team Chants
Kagan’s Instructional Strategies:
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• Blind Sequencing: Teams work to sequence cards in their proper order, but there is a catch – each student holds his or her own
cards, and no one else can see what is on them.
1. One student on a team will be the dealer. He equally distributes cards among team members face down making sure no one
can see what’s on the cards.
2. Students mark the back of their cards with initials, a number, letter or geometric shape to identify them as their cards.
3. In turn, each student describes his or her cards as well as possible to teammates in an attempt to make it easy for the team
to sequence the cards.
4. After all the cards have been described, the team works together to put the cards in the proper order. Students sequence
their cards face down on the table. No card is set on the table unless all teammates agree. If the team gets stuck, only the
original card holder can peek at the card and describe it to the team.
5. Once the team thinks they have properly sequenced the cards, they flip over the cars and check to see how they did. If the
sequence is correct, they celebrate with a team cheer. If the sequence is incorrect, they correct it and discuss what went
wrong and how they could do better next time.
• Brainstorming: Each student is given a special role and contributes to the team’s “storm” of ideas.
1. Teacher assigns roles
a) Speed sergeant – encourages speed
b) Sultan of silly – encourages silly ideas too
c) Synergy guru – encourages teammates to build on other ideas too.
d) Sergeant support – encourages all ideas, suspends judgment
e) One student will also serve as secretary and record each idea on a slip of paper (can be in addition to another role).
2. Teacher announces a topic which prompts students to generate creative ideas. A prompt should have no
right or wrong answers; it should be open-ended enough for students to come up with loads of creative ideas.
3. In teams, students generate ideas. Remind them of their roles. The secretary is not to stack or hold the slips
of paper but to lay them out for the team to see.
Kagan’s Instructional Strategies:
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• Carousel Feedback: Teams rotate from project to project to give feedback to other teams.
1. Teams stand in front of their own projects.
2. Teams rotate clockwise to the next project.
3. For a specified time, teams discuss their reactions to the other team’s project – no writing at this time.
4. Person #1 records feedback on feedback form.
5. Teacher calls time.
6. Teams rotate, observe, discuss, and give feedback on next project. A new recorder is selected each round.
7. Teams continue until each team rotates back to its own project or until the teacher calls time.
8. Teams review the feedback they received from the other teams.
• Corners: Students move to different corners of the room, depending on their point of view. This activity may
help them see that not everyone shares the same point of view, and it may stretch their own way of thinking.
1. The teacher announces “corners.” Then she announces the choices for each corner of the room. “If you
were to be a doctor, which specific profession would you choose: cardiologist, psychiatrist, dermatologist,
or pediatrician?”
2. Students are then given a small amount of silent think time to make a choice. They will write the name of
their corner on a piece of paper but should not discuss it with anyone else.
3. Teacher tells students to go to their chosen corners. Once they are in their corner, they must
find a partner to talk with – someone not on their regular team.
4. Pairs will then discuss the reason(s) for their choice. Teacher will then select a few students
from each corner to share what his or her partner shared.
Kagan’s Instructional Strategies:
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• Fan-N-Pick: Students play a card game to respond to questions.
1. Student 1 holds question cards in a fan and says, “Pick a card, any card!”
2. Student 2 picks a card, reads the question out loud and allows five seconds of think time.
3. Student 3 answers the question.
4. Student 4 restates the answer.
a) For right or wrong answers, Student 4 checks and then either praises or coaches.
b) For higher-level thinking questions which have no right or wrong answer, Student 4 does not check for
correctness, but praises and paraphrases the thinking that went into the answer.
5. Students rotate roles one clockwise for each new round.
• Find My Rule: A great strategy for encouraging logical thinking and inductive/deductive reasoning. This activity works
well for introducing a new unit, grouping students randomly for cooperative learning, and for developing problemsolving and categorizing skills.
1. Teacher prepares identity cards, related to an overall theme and to each other by a “rule” (one per student).
2. Teacher announces that students will need to form groups of a given size by circulating throughout the room to
locate students who have identity cards that are connected or related to their own by some commonality or “rule.”
3. Teacher gives an example and checks for understanding.
4. Teacher passes an envelope containing all identity cards around the classroom.
5. Students take one card each and circulate around the room to try and find others who have identity cards that are
related to theirs.
6. Once all members of the group have been found, the group will find a place to sit together.
7. Group members will articulate the rule that connects all their identities and will try to guess the
theme to which all the groups are connected.
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• Find the Fiction: Students pick out the fictitious statement from a set of three statements.
1. Teammates write 3 statements: two true, one false.
2. One student on each team stands, then reads his or her statements to teammates.
3. Without consulting teammates, each student writes down his or her own best guess as to which
statement is false.
4. Teammates discuss and reach consensus on their “best guess.”
5. Teammates announce their guess.
6. The standing student announces the false statement.
7. Students celebrate: If the team guessed correctly, the standing student claps for teammates. If the team
was stumped and didn’t guess correctly, teammates clap for the standing student.
8. The next teammate stands to share. The process is repeated from Step 2.
• Formations: This activity might be particularly appealing students with bodily/kinesthetic intelligence.
1. The teacher announces a “formation” and the ground rules to all teams.
2. Each team puts their heads together to discuss how they will form the shape, letter, number, etc., making
sure they follow the ground rules, involve everyone in their team, and use only their bodies to form the
3. The team then creates the formation.
**Try with alphabet letters, nature shapes, polygons, road signs,
or household objects.**
Kagan’s Instructional Strategies:
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• Inside-Outside Circle: In concentric circles, students rotate to face new partners and answer questions.
1. Students stand in two concentric circles, facing a partner. The inside circle faces out; the outside circle
faces in.
2. Students use flash cards to ask questions of their partner, or take turns responding to teacher question(s).
3. Partners switch roles: outside circle students ask, listen, then praise or coach.
4. After each question or set of questions, students in the outer or inner circle rotate to the next partner.
(Teacher may call rotation numbers: “Rotate three ahead.”)
• Jigsaw: This is a great way for students to feel like experts and share information about what they know!
1. Each student on the team becomes an “expert” on one topic by working and sharing with members from
other teams assigned the corresponding expert topic.
2. Upon returning to their teams, each one in turn teaches the group about his/her expert topic. Works well
for acquisition and presentation of new material and review.
• Line-Ups: Students discover that they each occupy a unique position in the class, and the class can see at a
glance where everyone stands.
1. Teacher describes how students should line up (e.g. alphabetically, by birth date, shortest to tallest)
2. Students must find out where they stand relative to classmates.
3. Students may talk to a partner next to them to share how they feel about their position in the line-up.
“How do you feel about your name?” “What do you wish your name could be?”
4. The teacher may then call for a different line-up.
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• Mix Freeze Group: Students rush to form groups of a specific size, hoping not to land in “Lost and Found.”
1. Students mix around the room.
2. Teacher calls, “Freeze!”
3. Students freeze
4. Teacher asks a question to which the answer is a number or corresponds to a key with a number.
5. Students group according to the number and kneel down.
6. Students not in groups go to the Lost and Found.
Optional: Once students know the game, students in Lost and Found may be the ones to generate and
ask the question. After they ask the question, they rush to join a group.
• Numbered Heads Together: Teammates work together to ensure all members understand; one is randomly selected to be held
1. Students count off numbers in their groups.
2. Teacher poses a problem and gives wait time (Example: “Everyone think about how rainbows are formed. [Pause] Now make
sure everyone in your team knows how rainbows are formed.”)
3. Students lift up from their chairs to put their heads together, discuss and teach.
4. Students sit down when everyone knows the answer or has something to share or when time is up.
5. Teacher calls a number. The student with that number from each team answers question individually, using:
a) Response cards
b) Chalkboard response
c) Manipulatives
d) Slate share
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• One Stray: One teammate strays from his or her team to a new team to share information or
1. Students are seated in their teams and share information on a topic.
2. Student One stands up. The remaining three teammates remain seated but raise their hands.
3. Teacher calls stray.
4. Student One strays to a team which has their hands up.
5. Teams lower their hands when a new member joins them.
6. Students work in their new teams to share information tested or to solve problems.
• Pairs Check: In pairs, student stake turns solving problems. After every two problems, they
check answers and celebrate with another pair.
1. In teams, shoulder partners are formed. Partner A in each pair does the first problem, talking
out loud. Partner B watches and coaches. Partner B praises.
2. Trade roles: partner B does the next problem. Partner A watches, coaches, and praises.
3. Pairs check with their eyeball partners after every two problems. Teammates coach and
correct if needed.
4. The team celebrates after reaching agreement on the two problems.
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• Pairs Compare: Pairs generate multiple responses to a question, then compare their answers with another
pair, and then team up to create additional solutions.
1. Teacher provides topic or question.
2. With their shoulder partners, students Rally Table ideas or answers.
3. Teacher calls time.
4. Pairs pair up with another pair.
5. Partner A in Pair One shares; Partner A in Pair Two adds item to the list, or if already listed, checks it off.
6. Partner B in Pair One shares; Partner B in Pair Two adds or checks off the item.
7. Partner A in Pair Two shares; Partner A in Pair One adds or checks off item.
8. Partner B in Pair Two shares; Partner B in Pair One adds or checks off item.
9. Steps 5 through 8 are repeated until all items are shared.
Team Challenge: As a team, student Round Table adding more additional ideas or answers.
• People Hunt: This activity has the added advantage of socialization!
1. Students receive a list of statements or questions to answer or complete about a topic.
2. Students circulate in the classroom trying to find classmates who can help them answer a question or
complete a statement on their sheet. Other students may answer and sign their names only
once on another student’s sheet.
3. The students hurry to see who can be first to find answers for the questions or complete the
4. After the people hunt, the teacher will process and debrief the information.
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• Rally Robin: In pairs, students alternate generating oral responses.
1. Teacher poses a problem to which there are multiple possible responses
or solutions.
2. In pairs, students take turns stating responses or solutions orally.
• Rally Table: In pairs, students alternate generating written responses or
solving problems.
1. Cooperative teams are given one piece of paper and one pen or pencil.
2. Teacher poses a problem or provides a task to which there are multiple possible
answers, steps, or procedures.
3. The teacher provides an example and checks for understanding. A time limit is set.
4. The teacher selects a student to begin in each team.
5. Students quickly write their word or phrase and pass their paper to the team
member on the left.
6. The paper continues to go around and around the table as each student adds to
the team’s list.
7. The teacher calls time. All pencils/pens are placed on the team table.
8. The teams take turns sharing their responses with the rest of the class.
9. Students celebrate their success.
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• Round Table: In teams, students take turns generating written responses, solving problems, or making a contribution
to the team project.
1. Students sit in teams of four.
2. Each student takes a turn drawing, pasting, or writing one answer to a query, as a paper and pencil (or paste) are
passed around the group.
**Works well for assessing prior knowledge, practicing skills, recalling information, and creating cooperative art.**
*Rotating recorder: Students take turns recording each student’s response.*
• Showdown: This activity can be used to check for mastery of concepts and skills, as a review before a quiz or test, or
to assess student skills.
1. The teacher distributes materials to each group: a deck of question cards, one small basket and ThinkPad slips
(small slips of colored paper) for each team member to each group.
2. The teacher selects one student in each group to be the Showdown Captain for the fist round and asks him/her to
turn the question cards facedown in the center of the group’s table and pass the ThinkPad slips to each member.
3. The teacher explains that the Showdown Captain will turn over the card with the first question (cards can be
numbered on back) and read it aloud for all team members. Then each team member will answer the question
individually on their ThinkPad slips and turn their answers facedown on the table in front of them.
4. When the teacher gives the Showdown signal, all team members will reveal their responses at once. If all are
correct, the team will get 5 team points. If not, the team will coach their team members to correct their answers
and will then receive one team point.
5. Team members will celebrate.
6. The student left of the Showdown Captain becomes Showdown Captain for the next round.
7. Repeat from step 2 for each round.
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• Similarity Groups: Students move about the room forming groups based on
similarities. The will discover hidden qualities of their classmates that are similar to
their own.
1. Teacher announces a topic on which students might group. Guide students’ thinking by providing
imagery about the topic. “Think about your favorite food (long pause). Think about the last time
you had your favorite food (pause again). Write down your favorite food.”
2. Student get up and move about the class, grouping with those who have a similar response.
“Group with students who like the same or similar food.”
3. Have students break into pairs to discuss their similarity groups and what they like most about
their favorite food. They must not pair up with someone on the same team.
• Simultaneous Round Table: In teams, students simultaneously generate responses,
then pass their list or product clockwise so each teammate can add to the prior
1. Teacher assigns a topic or question.
2. All four students respond simultaneously by writing or drawing.
3. Teacher signals time, or students place papers/pens down thumbs up when done with the
4. Students pass papers one person clockwise.
5. Students continue writing or drawing, adding to what was already on the paper.
6. Continue, starting at step 3.
**Alternative: Students may build their responses with
manipulatives rather than draw or write.**
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• Snowball: Students will have fun locating the answers to questions after
tossing wads of paper across the room.
1. Half the students in the class receive questions to answer or terms to define
written on a colored sheet of paper. The other half of the students receives
answers to the questions or a definition for a vocabulary term written on a
different color of paper.
2. All students with the same color of paper line up and face the others who have a
different color.
3. The teacher draws an imaginary line down the center and instructs the students
to wad up their papers and toss them over the imaginary line.
4. Each student collects one of the snowballs that falls on their side of the line and
then tries to find the student who is holding the match.
5. Students pair up, check their paring with the teacher, and reform into two lines to
• Spend-A-Buck: This structure might work well for selection of a team name,
logo, or topic for a project!
1. Each student will have four quarters (or chips) to spend on two, three, or four
2. The item with the most quarters is the team choice.
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• Spin-N-Review: Each team receives review questions, Spin-N-Review game board, and game marker.
1. Teacher selects a spin master.
2. Turn captain moves marker to “Who asks the question?” & spins. The selected student reads a question to teammates.
3. Turn captain moves marker to “think time”,” directs teammates to think about their answers and silently counts five
seconds, showing the count on his/her fingers.
4. Turn captain moves marker to “Who answers the question?” and spins. The selected student answers.
5. Turn captain moves the marker to “think time” & silently counts out five seconds as students think about the answer given.
6. Turn captain moves the marker to “Who checks the answer?” and spins. The selected students leads the team in checking
for correctness.
7. Turn captain moves the marker to “think time” & silently counts out five seconds as students think about how to help or
8. Turn captain moves the marker to “Who praises or helps?” and spins. The selected student leads the team in helping or
praising the student who answered.
9. Turn Captain passes the spinner clockwise one person. The process repeats starting with step 2.
• Talking Chips: This activity equalizes the opportunity for participation. It also helps the teacher to monitor
individual accountability.
1. Students are asked to discuss a topic in groups.
2. As each student talks, he/she places his/her chip in the center of the table (a pen or pencil will work in place of chips).
3. Once a student finishes talking, he/she cannot talk until every other “chip” has been tossed into the center. If a student
doesn’t have anything to share on this particular topic, they can place a chip in the center at the end.
4. When all chips are down, students retrieve their chips and start over.
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• Stir-the-Class: The classroom develops a supportive atmosphere as students move
from one huddle to another, sharing ideas, congratulating each other, and building
new ideas.
1. Students stand in groups of four. Groups stand in a circle around the classroom.
2. In each group, the students stand side-by-side in a line, facing the teacher in the middle of the
3. The teacher asks a question or presents a problem. “What are some possible themes for our class
party? Be prepared to explain why.”
4. Students turn to face each other with hands on each others shoulders, as in a football huddle.
“Unhuddle and form a line when you are ready to share.”
5. When groups are all ready, call a number and ask the students with that number to take a step
forward. Then have those students rotate to a new group. “All threes take a step forward, turn
right, and rotate three ahead to join a new group.”
6. Have new group members huddle again with their new group and share their ideas. If students like
the new member’s ideas, they must give him a pat on the back to show appreciation.
7. Then, students will unhuddle and wait for a new question to discuss.
• Team Chants: Creation of chants could be most appealing to students with musical
1. Teammates decide on words and phrases related to the content of a particular subject.
2. Then they come up with a rhythmic chant, often with snapping, stomping, tapping,
and clapping.
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• Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up: A class building activity that can be used to motivate, activate prior
knowledge, close a lesson or group of lessons, review previously learned material, and to have fun.
1. All students stand up and put their hands up.
2. Students mingle, mix, practiced meeting and greeting, and find a partner.
3. Students sit and put their hands down.
4. Teacher assigns and defines the task.
5. Students are given “think time.”
6. Pairs of students complete the task.
7. Timed Pair Share
8. Rally Robin Responses
9. Teacher randomly calls on groups to report.
10. Students thank their partners and depart.
11. Repeat as many times as needed.
• Telephone: One student per team leaves the room during instruction. When students return,
teammates provide instruction on the information missed.
1. One student from each team (“the learner”) is selected to leave the room.
2. Remaining students (“the teachers”) receive instruction.
3. The teachers plan how best to instruct the learner and who will teach each part. Each takes a part of the
4. Learners return to their teams.
5. The teachers each teach their part of the content (round robin style); teammates augment as necessary.
6. The learners take a practice test.
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• Think-Pair-Share:
1. Students think to themselves or write on a topic or question, preferably one demanding analysis,
evaluation, or synthesis, provided by the teacher.
2. After 30 seconds, students turn to partners and share their responses, thus allowing time for both
rehearsal and immediate feedback on their ideas.
3. Then they share their thoughts with the class. Through this structure, all students have an
opportunity to learn by reflection and by verbalization. This works well for generating and revising
hypotheses, inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning, application.
• Three-step Interview:
1. Students interview each other in pairs, first one way, then the other.
2. Students share with the group information they learned in the interview. It may be hypotheses,
reactions to a poem or other reading, conclusions from a unit.
• Who Am I: Students wonder who they are. They mingle about the classroom questioning classmates
about their hidden identity.
1. Each student receives a secret identity taped to their back by the teacher. The identity may be an
illustration, picture of a famous person, quotation, math problem or proof, vocabulary word, or a
significant event.
2. Students must wander around the room asking yes/no questions of their classmates to determine
their secret identity. Each student that is asked a question must sign the student’s identity page.
(Optional: Teachers can provide a set of interview questions that students may ask.)
3. Teachers may limit the number of questions that can be asked or the time provided
to discover one’s identity.
Marzano’s High-Yield Strategies
Research Says:
How It Looks in the Classroom:
Similarities &
Students compare, classify, and create metaphors, analogies and nonlinguistic or graphic representations.
Thinking Maps, T-charts, Venn diagrams, classifying, analogies,
cause/effect links, compare/contrast organizers, Frayer model
Summarizing &
Students learn to eliminate unnecessary information, substitute some
information, keep important information, write / rewrite, and analyze
information. Students encouraged to put information in own words.
Teacher models summarization techniques, identify key concepts,
bullets, outlines, narrative organizers, journal summaries, break down
assignments, quick writes, graphic organizers, Cornell notes, etc.
Reinforcing Effort
& Providing
Teachers should reward based on standards of performance; use symbolic
recognition rather than just tangible rewards.
High expectations, display products, praise students’ effort,
encourage sharing of ideas & expressing thoughts, honor individual
learning styles, conference with students.
Homework &
Teachers vary homework amount based on student grade (less-elementary,
more-secondary), keep parent involvement in homework to a minimum,
state purpose.
Retell, recite and review learning for the day…but at home, use
reflective journals, parents are informed of purpose, grade level
teams plan homework together.
Students should create graphic representations, models, mental pictures,
drawings, pictographs, and participate in hands-on activities in order to
integrate knowledge.
Visual tools and manipulatives, diagrams, concept maps, drawings,
charts, story maps, graphic organizers, storyboards, foldables, process
plays, and physical models.
Teachers limit use of ability groups, keep groups small, apply strategy
consistently and systematically but not overuse. Assign roles and
responsibilities in groups.
Content integrated through group engagement, reader’s theatre,
radio reading, plays, science projects, debates, jigsaw, group writing,
STAAR problems & explain answers.
Setting Objectives
& Providing
Teachers should create specific but flexible goals, allowing some student
choice. Teacher feedback should be corrective, timely, and specific to a
Articulating and displaying learning goals, KWL, contract learning
goals, etc. Teacher displays objective on projector or TPO chart with
follow-up at the end of the lesson.
Generating &
Students generate, test & defend hypotheses using inductive/deductive
strategies through problem-solving, history investigation, invention,
experimentation, decision-making.
Thinking processes, constructivist practices, investigate, explore,
social knowledge construction, use of inductive/ deductive reasoning,
questioning, alternate solutions.
Questions, Cues,
& Advanced
Teachers use cues/questions that focus on what is important, use ample wait
time before accepting responses, elicit inference/analysis. Advanced
organizers more useful with unorganized information.
Graphic organizers, guiding questions before the lesson, think alouds,
inferencing, predicting, drawing conclusions, skim chapters to identify
key vocabulary, concepts and skills, foldables, annotating the text, etc.
Visual tools for learning, and include eight visual
patterns each linked to a specific cognitive process.
Thinking Maps
Graphic Organizers
Visuals that help students classify ideas and communicate more effectively.
Can be used to structure writing, and can help in problem solving, decision making,
studying, planning research and brainstorming.
Advantages (Pros) /
Similarities / Causes
Disadvantages (Cons)
/ Differences / Effects
Frayer Model
Venn Diagram
Story Map
Concept Map
Frayer Model
A vocabulary development tool that helps students develop a better
understanding of complex concepts by having students identify not just what
something is, but what it isn’t.
A t-chart is used for listing two separate viewpoints of a
topic that can be cleanly divided into two opposing views,
including evaluating pros vs. cons, facts vs. opinions,
advantages vs. disadvantages, and strengths vs. weaknesses.
Advantages (Pros) /
Similarities / Causes
Disadvantages (Cons) /
Differences / Effects
Venn Diagrams
Show the logical relationships between groups of things, often shown as two circles that
intersect in the middle of the page. Characteristics exclusive to each group are listed in
the circles, and characteristics shared by both are listed in the intersecting space.
Story Maps
Used for teaching students to work with story structure for better
comprehension, including learning to summarize the main ideas, characters,
setting, and plot of an assigned reading.
Concept Maps
Diagram similar to a Frayer model in that it helps illustrate conceptual
knowledge; consists of cells (connected by lines), which define the
characteristics of the concept as well as provide examples.
Marzano’s Vocabulary
Development Process
Step 1
 Teacher provides a description, explanation, or example of
the term.
Step 2
 Students restate the description, explanation, or example in
their own words.
Step 3
 Students construct a picture, pictograph, symbolic
representation, or act out the term.
Step 4
 Teacher extends & refines understanding of the word by
engaging students in activities that help them add to their
knowledge of the terms in vocabulary notebooks.
Step 5
 Students are periodically asked to discuss the terms
with one another.
Step 6
 Students are involved in games that enable them
to play with terms and reinforce word knowledge.
Word Walls
• A word wall is an organized collection of
words prominently displayed in a classroom.
Word walls provide easy access to words
students need.
• The most helpful word walls:
– grow and change throughout the year and are
used as a learning reference.
– are easy to read from anywhere within the
– Are graphically organized & color-coded.
Math Sample
ELA Sample
Science Sample
ad4ward EPIC Review
• Lessons must be EPIC!
Data Analysis
Collaborative Learning
Process SE
Planning Menu
Fact or Fib
When You
3-2-1 Student-led
Concept Hang
Compare /
IQ Slap Down
Fire When
You Tire
Heat Mapping
Odd One Out
Content Area
He Said /
She Said
Nine Squares
Card Sort
Connect the
Confidence-Competence Graph
Used to help identify which strategies will help students in preparing for STAAR
High sense of CONFIDENCE
(click on a student to
identify strategy)
Low sense of
Careless Students
- StopTommy
too early
- Make low level
mistakes Jessica
There!” Beth
Random Students
- Don’t know
to Anna
- Guess/clueless
- Seek and find
“How are you going
to start?”
Progress Students
- Know what they
know Ashley
- Have multiple
Reinforce most
effective strategies
Frozen Students
- Overthink answers
- Get sick
- May not finish
Be a cheerleader!
Low sense of CONFIDENCE
High sense of
• Visual pre-test/post-test that can be used for flexible
grouping during collaborative activities.
– Teacher develops an essential question for the lesson with 4
degrees of response.
– Students place a dot in one of the four quadrants to represent
their initial response.
– Students then place a dot in one of the four quadrants following
What is energy, where do we find it, how does is change from
one form to another, and how does it affect our everyday lives?
willing to learn
Threshold Jumping
• While we want
all of our students
to be
successful, the reality is that each comes with
ownIstrengths and
Level III
• WeUnsatisfactory
instead focus onPerformance
everyone improving.
• This concept is called “threshold jumping”.
45 thresholds
75 involves
85 moving
– The major
for65our students
from Level I to Level II, and from Level II to Level III.
(click to enlarge)
Process SE Planning Menu
• This menu is completed by
teachers to ensure that all
relevant content is taught
concurrently with the most
highly tested process skills.
• Menu ties specific content
to a specific stimulus
(document, map, graph,
speech, ad, etc.) that is tied
to a process and requires
students to create products
that prove mastery of the
3-2-1 Student-led Interventions
• Students use individualized data reports &
rank the Readiness SEs from high to low
with “high” being those things they
understand best.
• Each one then determines which:
– 3 they know well
– 2 they are growing on, but which they
need to continue to work upon
– 1 they need to go to someone for help.
• Going one SE at a time, the teacher
creates an “expert group” that he/she
verifies they are in fact experts, and then
assigns different review games (fact or fib
showdown, vocabulary pyramid, etc.) for
the “experts” to play with groups of 3-4
struggling students.
Heat Mapping
• Process for identifying areas within the curriculum that
are the most in need of attention by comparing SE
performance over at least two years.
• Requires teachers to follow the process of
SUBTRACT SE data is subtracted from one year to another
MAP: SEs are mapped onto the “Growth”, “Maintained”,
or “Declined” areas on the Leveraging Two Sets of Data
SELECT: Three SEs are selected from each half of the
chart. SEs from the left side need to be retaught in a more
engaging manner. SEs from the right side require teachers
to relearn or delve deeper into the content.
– COMMIT: Teachers agree to work on these 6 SEs with
their students.
Synectics Snowball
• This variation of the similarly-named Kagan
strategy requires students to make associations
between different & apparently irrelevant
elements, and justify the association.
• Students then wad up their papers and toss them
around the room several times like snowballs in a
snowball fight.
• The teacher groups the students by association,
has each group vote on their “best” one, and
then share out with the class.
(click to enlarge example)
Concept Hang Ups
The teacher selects major concepts, TEKS strands, or genres (ELAR) targeted for
He/she then creates “hangers” labeled with those concepts, strands, or genres.
A set of cards is then created which represent topics, skills, problems, texts, etc.
that students have learned throughout the year & align to the concepts, strands,
or genres.
Working cooperatively, students classify/categorize the cards and hang them on
the appropriate “hanger”.
Students then select one card from each hanger & identify similarities and
differences using a comparison model.
Students transfer the model to their journals and write a summary paragraph of
the comparison.
Odd One Out
• Activity that requires students to
look at a group of 4 items (excerpts,
photos, formulas, organisms, etc.),
and determine which one is the
“Odd One Out”.
– 4 students per group, lettered off “A”
through “D”
– Students group by letter in the four
corners of the room & perform a brain
dump, sharing everything they know
about their item.
– The group selects the top 5 facts, and
return to their home groups.
– Each person in a team is given 30
seconds to share their 5 facts.
– The groups are each given 1 minute to
select the “Odd One Out”, and must
justify their choice.
– Round 2 requires the students to select
a different item & justify the choice.
He Said / She Said
• Students are provided with an assessment item or a
problem that has 3-4 conclusions associated with the item.
• Students then write two additional “valid conclusions”
about the item. (Valid conclusions may align to concepts
from the TEKS, formulas, rules, theorems, processes, key
understandings, etc.)
• Students then participate in a Stand-Up! Hand-Up! Pair-Up!
activity to find a partner.
• Student partners share their valid conclusions.
• Students participate in another round of
Stand-Up! Hand-Up! Pair-Up! to get a second
• New partners share valid conclusions
• The teacher clarifies/verifies through
random calling upon of students.
Card Sort
• Create a set of cards reflecting various
vocabulary terms or content associated
with the TEKS bundled in the unit.
• Students work cooperatively in small
groups or partners to sort the cards
into various categories.
• Students justify why cards are grouped
a challenge, the teacher may ask students to “resort” cards
into different categories, with the students justifying the new
groupings. Students may transfer the sorting categorization
cards into a graphic representation in their journals.**
Fact or Fib Showdown
• For a quick formative “check for understanding”,
have each student create 2 index cards, each with
either the word “FACT” or “FIB” on it.
• A statement is projected up for students to
• The teacher uses timed thinking & asks students
to “Think”… “Decide”… “Showdown!”
• Each student slaps down a card with one of the
two responses.
• Teacher quickly scans the room for responses and
clarifies and verifies to correct any
Cooperative Model
• Organize baggies filled with 2 large white paper plates, 6 small blue
paper plates, 6 small red paper plates, and 6 small purple paper
plates. (Colors may vary.) Each plate should have 6-8 post it notes
stuck in the middle of the plate.
• Group students into trios, and ask them to list topic #1 on one
white paper plate and to list topic #2 on the second paper plate.
• Each group member gets 2 plates of each color.
• Taking turns, students generate ideas of similarities between the
two topics, share their ideas, and place their plates in the center of
the model.
• Taking turns, students generate ideas of how topic #1 is unique from
topic #2 (and vice versa), share ideas, and place their plates in the
• Students elect one person to “take a cruise” to 3 other groups,
getting additional ideas to bring back to their home group.
• Teacher clarifies/verifies & has students transfer the information
into their journals.
Justified True/False
• Students are presented with
5-7 statements aligned to
specific concepts, skills, or
ideas represented in the TEKS
for the unit of study.
• Students must decide if each
statement is true or false.
• Students then JUSTIFY their
response in writing, indicating
WHY they believe the
statement is true or false.
• Students share their
justifications with a partner.
• The teacher clarifies/verifies.
Nine Squares
• Begin with a Jigsaw activity with a piece of text,
dividing it into as many groups as necessary to make
the reading manageable.
• Once all students have been taught about the other
sections from their “experts”, they are shuffled using a
Stand-up, Pair-Up, Hand-Up activity.
• Students use the Nine Squares
template (in pairs) to fill in the:
– 5 Details (what does it say?)
– 2 Inferences (what does it mean?)
– 2 Conclusions (why does it matter?)
Connect the Dots
• Organize students into pairs, trios, or groups of 4.
• Teacher selects four items (familiar titles, text
excerpts, concepts, key academic vocabulary
terms, math problems, lab experiments, etc.) &
places them at one of the four dots on the
Connect the Dots organizer.
• Students follow the arrows to
find ways in which the ideas
connect, citing at least one
similarity and one difference.
Vocabulary Pyramid Game
• Students are organizers into pairs.
• Student A is the “clue-giver” and provides hints, phrases,
and ideas related to the term revealed on the game board.
• Student B is the “guesser” who provides possible answers.
• When Student B guesses the correct term, Student A pops
up and says, “Woo hoo!”, and then sits back down to begin
giving clues for the next term.
• Student pairs continue giving clues and guessing terms until
all terms have been correctly identified.
NOTE: some students may need a word
bank, vocabulary cards, or their notes to
successfully participate in the activity.
IQ Slap Down
• For reviewing question items from quizzes or tests, organize
students into groups of 2-4, and have them tear a sheet of paper
into 4 rectangles and label them: A-B-C-D.
• A question is projected & read aloud.
• Round 1: the teacher prompts students to slap down the answer
choice that represents the WORST answer to the question.
– The teacher quickly scans the room for responses, asks random
students to justify their responses, and clarifies and verifies to correct
any misconceptions.
• Round 2: the teacher prompts students to slap down the answer
choice that is the BEST INCORRECT answer (the distractor).
– The teacher again scans the room, asks random students to justify
their responses, and clarifies and verifies.
• Round 3: the teacher prompts students to slap down the CORRECT
– The teacher again scans the room, asks random students to justify
their responses, and clarifies and verifies.
Content Area Mystery
• Organize students into four groups using a 4-Corners activity
(corner designations may be various types of candy, soft drinks,
vacation destinations, sports, types of food, etc.).
• Students practice one assessment item, targeted toward an SE that
students find difficult according to their data.
• Corner groups are assigned one answer choice and must either …
– DEFEND the answer to the class as “innocent of a crime” by explaining
why it is the correct response
– PROSECUTE the answer in front of the class as “guilty of a crime”
explaining why their answer is the incorrect response
Corner 1 – focus on answer choice A
Corner 2 – focus on answer choice B
Corner 3 – focus on answer choice C
Corner 4 – focus on answer choice D
• The teacher clarifies/verifies.
NOTE: Student groups MAY choose to try and trick the class by purposefully defending an incorrect
answer to make the other students identify a flaw in their reasoning.
Bubble When You Struggle
• When stuck on a test question, this strategy helps
students tap into prior knowledge and skills.
• Teachers help students practice the use of
self-questioning to help them reason through a
Fire When You Tire
• The basic concept here is to have student discuss
what types of things each uses/can use during
the STAAR test to get the blood moving up to
their brains and fight fatigue.
• Usual answers include:
Taking a quick 20-min nap.
Walking briskly to and from a bathroom break.
Splashing cold water in your face.
Drinking a cold drink.
Shifting your focus from analytical to creative for a
short period of time to give your brain time to recoup
(I.e., drawing, singing a song in your head, etc.).
Capturing Kids’ Hearts
• The primary focus of Capturing Kids’ Hearts is to develop healthy
relationships between members of a school’s educational
community and to teach effective skills that help participants:
– Develop self-managing classrooms and decrease discipline issues
through innovative techniques such as a Social Contract.
– Decrease delinquent behaviors such as disruptive outbursts, violent
acts, and drug use.
– Utilize the EXCEL Teaching Model™ and reinforce the role of
emotional intelligence in teaching.
– Utilize SOLER Listening and other teambuilding activities to build
classroom rapport and teamwork in order to create a safe, trusting
learning environment where students are empathic to diverse
– Increase classroom attendance by building students’ motivation and
helping them take responsibility for their actions and performance
through the use of the Four Questions.
Social Contract & Consequence Plan
• The Social Contract lets everyone in a classroom know what
behavior is/isn’t acceptable.
• Teachers create self-managing classrooms as each student takes
responsibility for his/her own behavior, understanding the
consequences of breaking the contract.
• When developing a social contract, ask:
– How do you want me to treat you?
– How do you want to treat each other?
– How do you think I want to be treated?
• For the consequence plan, ask:
– How will we handle violations of the contract?
(Click on image to minimize)
(Click on image to minimize)
Sample Social Contract
Sample Consequence Plan
EXCEL Teaching Model
(Click buttons to explore)
(Click balloons to minimize)
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SOLER Listening
- Square up to the person you
are listening to.
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person, you must
- Open your posture another
“listen with your ears,
eyes, and heart…with
your undivided attention”
- Lean in
- Eye contact
- Relax and Respond
Come Together…Right Now!
“If you have a child’s heart, you have his head.”™
- Flip Flippen
- In order to get kids to work together, they have to
know each other. Teambuilding activities such as the
ones listed below are excellent ways to get students to
build working relationships with one another.
Competitive Critter
Have You Ever? Game
Affirmation Mail Bags
1-Minute Speech
Sentimental Circle
Increasing familiarity of students with each other
Teambuilding Activities
• Competitive Critter Toss – Have students get into teams of 4-5 and
ask them to introduce themselves. Give each team a single koosh
ball that they will randomly toss to other students in the circle as
they say that student’s name.
– Round 1 involves a speed round to see which group can finish first.
Groups will shout out, “Woo Hoo” when they finish. Repeat this a
couple of times & recognize everyone competing.
– Round 2 involves completing the same activity but with no need to be
the fastest, rather the most enduring. The group now uses 2-3 koosh
balls and the winning group is the one that keeps all the balls in the air
the longest.
– Round 3 requires a mixing of the groups. Try using a mix-freeze with
music, and repeat the introduction and multi-koosh competition.
• 1-Minute Speech – Students stand in a circle and each student
takes turns talking about themselves (I.e., birthday, favorite music,
favorite food, hobbies, etc.).
Teambuilding Activities (cont.)
• “Have You Ever?” Game:
– Students get into a big circle with the teacher in the center.
– He/she then asks the question, “Have you ever _____?”, filling in the blank
with something about themself.
– Anyone that has also done that thing must leave their place in the circle and
move to an open space.
– The teacher will also seek an open space, leaving a student in the center to
ask a question.
– The process repeats several rounds until the groups are thoroughly mixed.
• Inside-Outside Handshake:
– This one is usually done after the “Have You Ever?” Game. Every other student
in the circle takes one step into the circle and pairs up with someone to their
– The teacher models how to properly shake someone’s hand (see Engage), and asks
the students to practice the handshake a couple of times with their partner.
– The students now have 30 seconds to shake their partner’s hand and have a
quick conversation over teacher-selected topics.
– After 30-seconds, the inner circle shifts one person to their left and repeats
the process a number of times.
Teambuilding Activities (cont.)
• Affirmation Mail Bags:
– Once students have gotten to know one another better, this activity is
introduced to help them focus on one another’s strengths.
– Each student is given a paper “mail bag” to personalize as they wish.
– They are also given index cards and instructed to write positive
comments to 5 other students and leave them in the “mail bags”.
• Remind students that you know their handwriting, and disrespectful
comments will not be tolerated.
– The process of writing affirmations is repeated weekly with the
students checking their bags every couple of weeks.
• Sentimental Circle:
– Students are asked to bring one object that they value or which
reminds them of someone or something that has shaped who they
– The teacher can choose to either do a whole class or small group
discussion with each student being given 1 minute each to share why
they brought that particular object.
Four Questions
• These questions help the student:
focus on their behavior.
demonstrate that he/she knows what behavior is expected.
own up to the fact that he/she is not doing what is expected.
determine what he/she should be doing instead.
For Misbehavior:
For Disrespect:
1. Excuse me… what are you doing?
2. What are you supposed to be
3. Are you doing it?
4. What are you going to do about it?
1. Excuse me… whom are you talking
2. How are you supposed to be talking
to me/each other?
3. Were you doing that?
4. So, how are you going to talk to
* 5. What will happen if you choose to
break our contract again?
persistent misbehavior.*
Purposeful Movement
Kinesthetic learners have a strong drive to explore material through doing, and prefer
to move periodically. They tend to thrive in classes that involve activity, so keep the
following in mind:
• Provide frequent breaks to allow for information processing and time to stretch.
• Provide space where they will not be a distraction if they move, stretch or fidget .
• Provide special seating near the door so they can come and go more easily.
• Allow student assistants to help with passing things out or moving chairs.
• Have students write, diagram, and map information on chalkboards or
whiteboards so they can engage in more expansive motions and create bigger,
more complex representations.
• Have students create room-sized diagrams of processes so they can literally “walk
through the process”.
• Have students act out concepts through skits, songs, raps, etc.
• Connect different movements with content, having students hop while reviewing
one section, clap in rhythm to the ideas in another, and so on.
• Use objects and manipulatives like Legos, K’Nex, playdough, or clay.
Learning Environment
Music – Research shows that studying with headphones on tends to decrease memory and
information retention. Listening to familiar background music that isn’t too loud or
distracting can help drown out other, more distracting environmental noise and can create
associations that actually help students remember what they’re studying better.
Smells – Subtle odors like sandalwood, chamomile, lavender, jasmine, juniper, and chocolate
can help students quiet their minds from distraction and alleviate stress. Scents can also be
used to associate with specific content (I.e., most of us think of our mother or grandma when
we smell fresh-baked cookies).
Lighting – Shielded, full-spectrum fluorescent lights are said to help students be calmer,
steadier, and less easily distracted, but nothing compares to the natural light you get from
studying outdoors or next to a large window…be sure outside activities don’t overly distract.
Temperature and humidity – Set the temperature to a comfortable, constant level in your
class; if you can’t, try to remind students to have a sweater or bottle water handy.
Something More Fun or Interesting – Remove the distractions (I.e., turn off phones, or tuck
them away in backpacks or pursues; clear off desks of clutter; schedule breaks)
The Clock – Before starting an assignment or task, establish a time limit for students. Place
clocks where you can see them…provide students with timers to keep them on-task.
Other people – Set clear expectations for group activities and roles for each member.

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