Instructional Strategies

9 months ago

Opening Strategy Ideas

Prediction Box


The teacher prepares a box that contains objects or clues that relate to a topic of study.  The teacher shares those objects with students and fosters discussion about them.  The teacher asks the students to make predictions about what they think the topic is about.

Memory “Box”


This activating strategy is best used to bridge one day of learning to the next.  Students use a folded piece of paper.  For 90 seconds, students record everything they remember from the lesson the day before.  In small groups, students share what is on each list one at a time.   One student shares her list.  Other students in the group add ideas they don’t have to their own list and check off the ideas that are already on their list.  The next student shares in the same way.



A KWL chart is used prior to the study of new material, a discussion, a reading, or an event. Students are asked to brainstorm all of the things they know and want to know about a particular topic. Lastly, at the end of a unit or lesson, students record what they learned.

Anticipation Guide


An Anticipation Guide includes a list of 8-10 statements related to a topic of study. Prior to introducing new information, engage students by having them write whether or not they AGREE or DISAGREE with the statements listed on the guide. After the new content has been taught, have students react to the new information by responding again to the statements on the Anticipation Guide. Discuss why the before and after answers are different.

Draw a Picture or Diagram


Using a blank piece of paper, students are asked to draw or diagram the outline and details of a topic.

Dear Teacher...


Students compose a friendly letter to their teacher announcing what they already know about a topic. In the letter, students inform the teacher what they hope will be covered in the unit.


Picture Walk


When introducing new material, it can be a useful strategy to show students a picture.  Place a picture on the SmartBoard/Promethean or a piece of chart paper. 


Students share verbally or orally with a partner about the picture.  Some students can share out to the class.

The Envelope Please


Students are given an envelope with a topic, supporting detail, or main idea on the front.  Inside will be a card with the correct response folded so it cannot be seen through the envelope.  Once the students have found their topic group, they read their envelope and discuss which one is the topic, detail, or main idea.  They should predict what they think is inside the envelope.  The teacher announces, “The envelope please.”  This is the cue for students to open the envelope and see if the prediction is correct.

In My Head or Makes Me Think


Students fill is a thought bubble with words and/or pictures to show what  they think about

when they think about the topic to be studied.

Picture Postcard


At the beginning of a unit or topic of study, ask students to jot down what they already know about a topic on the lined side of an index card.   On the blank side of the “postcard”, students draw a picture of the topic.

Quick Write

Give students a specific amount of time to write down everything they know about a given concept. Usually this is 30 to 60 seconds. Then have students compile their list with a partner and then a partner pair with another partner pair. Use the compiled lists to clarify and summarize conceptual understanding.


Have students put their lists away during the lesson. At the close of the lesson, students pull out the lists to highlight or check off what was actually included in the lesson and add remaining ideas from the lesson that didn’t make the original list (CLOSING ACTIVITY).

Question Wheel


Draw a wheel on the board or chart paper. Students brainstorm what they want to know about a topic. Example: What do you want to know about fractions? Student responses may include questions like: What do I do with the bottom number? When do I have to have common denominators? Which is the numerator and which is the denominator? Write the questions on the spokes as students chime in. This strategy will help to focus students on the purpose for their learning about a topic. This can also be done in groups with separate wheels. The teacher can use the wheel to summarize the lesson.

Graffiti Write


On chart paper, pose a question essential to conceptual understanding of the lesson. Have students write their responses to the question on the chart paper as they enter the room. (Place markers nearby for easy access.) This can also be used to summarize a lesson.

Splash, Sort, Label


Provide chart paper to groups of students. Indicate a topic or pose a question on each of the chart papers (same question). Using sticky notes, students generate responses based on their prior knowledge. Students sort their responses into categories that they create. Students will then share with the class the various categories they created.

Human Chain


Place masking tape on the floor to cover the length of the room. Place a sign labeled YES on one end of the masking tape and a sign labeled NO on the other end. Pose questions to students, asking them to stand on the masking tape according to their responses to the questions. If students are unsure of the proper response, they should stand in the middle of the tape to indicate so. Students under the YES and NO signs should try to persuade unsure students to their side. Teach the lesson and then re-pose the question. Have students choose again where to stand in response.

Literature Link


The teacher reads a book of portion of a book to give s a context for the topic.  Students are asked to close their eyes and visualize the topic.  Throughout the narration, the teacher pauses for students to form images in their minds.  When the narration is complete the teacher asks the students to share what they “saw” or understood.

2 Minutes Talks


Group students into pairs.  Inform students that they will be talking about a particular topic for two minutes.  They need to decide who will go first.  Use a timing device to monitor time. One student will share everything they already know about a skill, topic, or concept.  After two minutes the partners switch.  It is okay for the second person to repeat some of the thing the first person share.  Have a few pairs share some of their responses with the entire class when the activity is done.

Word Splash


1.       Teacher writes the topic in the center of the paper.  Students generate words or phrase or pictures of what they know about the topic.  Students write a predictive sentence about the topic.

2.       Teacher writes the topic in the center of the chart and also includes the key vocabulary for the topic.  Students use the word splash to write a predictive sentence or “Dear Teacher”  letter.


Brainstorm and Categorize


This strategy is used prior to presenting new information. The teacher introduces the topic and students brainstorm everything they know about a topic. When students have generated all of their ideas, they sort them into categories and label.

First Word


Place name of a topic or concept vertically down the paper. Students generate a word or phrase that begins with each letter of the vertical word.



Students respond to the following related to a particular topic: 3 things that interest me, 2 things I'd like to know more about, and 1 idea.

Walking Tour


To set up the Walking Tour, choose passages, pictures, or statements for a topic. Place one per chart. Number each chart and post the charts around the room. Small groups spend 2-5 minutes at each chart, reading, discussing, interpreting, and reacting to the idea--orally or in writing. The groups move from chart to chart until they have visited all of the charts. When the "tour groups" have finished, have the students discuss and summarize the charts with the entire group.



During this activity, students will have individual time to think about a question related to the topic of study. They will then pair up with a partner to share their thoughts. Finally, the pairs will select one major idea to share with the entire class.

Question Maker


Give the students a noun related to the content.  Ask the class or a group of students to create an identified number of questions to which the noun is the answer.


“I need 10 questions to which ‘magnetic force’ is the answer.”

 Find Someone Who Can Tell


Students walk around the room interviewing classmates about what they know about a topic.  Signatures are collected on a bingo type board for each item as someone who is located who can respond to each topic.

Circle Map


Draw the shape below.  Topic goes in the center.  Students brainstorm around the center circle.

 Students use the brainstorm to write a predictive sentence.

Writing Think Pair Share


During this activity, students will have individual time to think and write about a question related to the topic of study. They will then pair up with a partner to share their thoughts. The students exchange papers, read what is written, and respond in writing.  Papers are exchanges again for reading responses.  Finally, the pairs will select one major idea to share with the entire class.

Flip Strips


This strategy would be used for establishing sequential order. Place steps to solve a problem, to write a proof, to draw a graph, etc. on strips of paper. Have students predict the proper order of the steps by arranging the strips accordingly. Then have students adjust the order of their strips during the instruction.

Four Corners


On four posters, pose different responses to a conceptual question (great opportunity to use higher-order thinking skills questions). Place each of the posters in a different corner of the room. Have students read the responses and stand in front of the one they agree with the most. The four groups will discuss their stances on their chosen responses to the question, ready to defend their positions to the rest of the class. After the lesson is completed, students will be given the opportunity to “re-choose” their corner for the correct response. The “re-choosing then becomes the summarizer.



Use manipulatives in activating learning in addition to using them during instruction. Students can be prompted to use the manipulatives to provide support for answers to the activating questions posed by the teacher.

Alphabet Brainstorm


Students work in pairs. Provide a table with different letters of the alphabet in each cell. Ask students to brainstorm ideas that would apply to the concept provided by the teacher by writing them in the cells. Of course, the brainstormed ideas should begin with the letter found within each cell. Extra points are given for X, Y and Z. Students should share out ideas, not repeating any already stated.



Motivating Strategies

9 months ago

Motivating Strategies

¨      Teach different ways

¨      Re-teach/repeat

¨      Rewards: Candy/Irish Bucks/Reward Room

¨      Secret incentives – gift box

¨      Food incentives

¨      Hands-on manipulatives

¨      Meaningful problems/scenarios

¨      Students teach

¨      Facilitate and let the class take charge – Example: Mrs. McCloud has her students guide and direct reviewing and deconstructing the standards/elements during opening at the Promethean Board.

¨      Peer helpers/groups

¨      Relate to the real world – Give students time to share their experiences

¨      Dry erase boards

¨      Competition –Daily Four CRCT Review Questions

¨      Charting GPS progress per child on a poster

¨      Compete with CPS

¨      Present out-of-the-box

¨      Science labs

¨      Multiple learning trials

¨      Puzzles with pictures behind them (interactive board)

¨      Produce things – student made products

¨      Chunk instruction – mini lessons

¨      Physical movement

¨      Dress up

¨      Acting out  - charades

¨      Songs and movement

¨      Building items – Using puzzles, riddles (Interactive board), or Lego’s to construct an object as they get problems/answers correct

¨      Chants and pledges

¨      Dry erase desks – Students use desks as dry erase boards to figure problems. Windex cleans it away

¨      Games

¨      Students charting progress (student accountability)