Sunday, January 29, 2012

Daily Assignment #102: "Top 9" Effective Teaching Strategies

Robert Marzano, a leading researcher in education, has identified a “Top 9” List of effective teaching strategies, which contribute to higher levels of student achievement:
  1.  Identifying similarities and differences (Daily Assignment #17, #18)
  2. Summarizing and note taking (Daily Assignment #46-#50, #53) 
  3. Reinforcing effort and providing recognition (Daily Assignment #69)
  4. Homework and practice (Daily Assignment #78, #85)
  5.  Nonlinguistic representations such as mental images, graphs, acting out content (Daily Assignment #18)
  6.  Cooperative learning (Daily Assignment #26) 
  7.  Setting objectives and providing feedback(Daily Assignment #25, #58)
  8.  Generating and testing hypotheses 
  9.  Activating prior knowledge via questions, cues, advance   organizers (Daily Assignment #41-#44, #53)
Source: Marzano, 2003
    As you can see I have covered most of the "Top 9" in my blogs.  
    Including one, some or more of the "Top 9" in daily instruction will make a difference in student learning.

    Please share this blog with colleagues and friends.  Also, take a moment to check out my book on effective strategies:

    Best Effort,
    Linda 103

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    Daily Assignment #101: Scaffolding Learning

    In the 1970s Jerome Bruner, a cognitive psychologist, coined the phrase Scaffolding Learning, which means ways in which a learner can be supported in acquiring new knowledge, achieving a new task or developing a new skill. 

    Teacher support varies, depending on the needs of the students.  Support may also increase or decrease in level of intensity depending on the needs of the students.

    Possible support strategies may include:
    • Verbal or written prompts which remind students of key information.
    • Assisting when learning a new motor skill
    • Study guides
    • Using mnemonics to help in remembering multiple steps
    • Constructive feedback
    • Working with a partner/group
    • Using technology
    • Diagrams/graphic organizers

    Example:  Teacher:  What color is the sky?
                        Student:             Blue.
                        Teacher:   What else is blue?   Can you see something blue?
                        Student:             I can see a blue...
    The teacher in this interaction is scaffolding the student's learning about color.

    Example: Emergent Writers
    1. Teacher scribes student's words
    2. Teacher and student work together 
    3. Student works at the writing process independently.

    Example:  Teaching Graphic Organizers
    1. Teacher selects G.O., fills in Main Idea and subordinate ideas, students observe.
    2. Teacher selects G.O., students fill in Main Idea, students and teacher fill in subordinate ideas.
    3. Teacher selects G.O. students fill in Main Idea and subordinate ideas
    4. Student selects G.O., fills in Main Idea and subordinate ideas.
    In the 2nd and 3rd example the teacher gives direct instruction, prompts, specific feedback, encouragement, then turns the responsibility of learning over to the student and finally the teacher becomes an observer.

    If possible, a teacher should try to plan in advance the type of scaffolding students will need when introducing new knowledge or skills. Scaffolding is temporary.  The teacher, as in the examples above, slowly withdraws the support as the student becomes more proficient in their learning.  As Vygotsky's said, "What the child is able to do in collaboration today he will be able to do independently tomorrow."

    Please share this blog with colleagues and friends.
    You can find my book on effective strategies at:
    Best Effort,

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Daily Assignment #100: Annoying Classroom Behaviors

    We all have experienced those annoying classroom behaviors by our students, e.g. chatting, sharpening pencils at inopportune moments, not cooperating within a group, etc...

    What to do...
    1. Set-up a group contract using classroom rules that have been established.
    2. Review the rules, weekly or daily, until the students can successfully adhere to them.
    3. Use direct and specific reprimands,  "Stop talking and work on your math problems, please."
    4. Frequently give praise to whole class, "Thank you for working so quietly."  "Thank you for cleaning your area so quickly."
    5. Be proactive.  If you see a student becoming distracted intervene quickly.  "Harry, you with us?"
    6. Use the "Look", Daily Assignment #95.
    7. Frequently circulate around the room.
    For the student who continues to have difficulty, designing an individual contract maybe necessary.

    On a personal note, writing 100 blogs feels like a major milestone.  I have surprised myself with how much I had to share. At this point, I have decided to slow down a bit.  So, beginning this week I will be doing my blog just once a week, Sunday evenings.  I hope you will continue to check all previous blogs for ideas and  check-in each Sunday evening.  In the meantime, please share this blog, and my book, with colleagues and friends. 

    Daily Assignment - 70 Effective Teaching Strategies At A Glance

    Best Effort and see you next Sunday,

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Daily Assignment #99: Pause, Prompt, Praise

    Pause, Prompt, Praise is an effective strategy for supporting students who are struggling with a particularly demanding task.  

    PAUSE:  student stops working on the task and talks to the teacher about the difficulty he/she is having.

    PROMPT:  the teacher gives the students strategies to implement.

    PRAISE:  when the student succeeds with the strategy/strategies praise the student for their efforts.

    “Pause, Prompt, Praise.” If a student is struggling, pause to discuss the problem, then prompt with specific suggestions to help her improve. If the student’s performance improves as a result, offer praise.

     Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement by R. Marzano, D. Pickering, & J. Pollock, ASCD, 2001

     A variation of this strategy would be for the teacher to... 

    Pause next to the student.  Sometimes just having a teacher stand near by will trigger a connection for the student.  It also sends the message that you believe in the students ability to work on the task alone. 
    If the student continues to struggle...

    Prompt by giving simple clues.  If the student is still struggling increase the level of clues.

    • what is the picture is of?
    • read the start of the sentence/ end of the sentence and lets see if we can work it out.
    • read on a little bit more and we will come back to it and see if we can make sense of it.
    • Looking at the picture and what is happening around this page, what could the word be?
    Pause between questions to give the student time to process and apply the strategy.

    Praise the students efforts in using the strategies effectively to complete the task.  

    Please share this blog with colleagues and friends.
    Also, check-out my book on effective strategies:
    Best Effort,

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Daily Assignment #97: Messages Teachers Send When Responding...

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I hope you all had a wonderful relaxing and safe holiday season.

    So, let's get down to business.

    Teachers send many messages when responding to students' comments, questions/answers, etc...  Unconsciously, and sometimes consciously, we send positive and negative messages through our responses, whether verbal, non-verbal or through our body language.

    It is difficult to always manage our responses.  Sometimes we don't even realize that we just gave a sigh or rolled our eyes to a student's comment or answer.  Imagine how that student feels hearing or seeing the teacher respond in that way.  We might be giving certain students positive responses such as, "That's right, very good" or something even more simple as a smile with a nod. Then the next student we just nod or do some other subtle response.  The 2nd student is now wondering what they said that was wrong and why didn't the teacher like their response.  The rest of the class is thinking the first student is the smart one.  Also, they are afraid they may not give a response the teacher will like.  

    Of course, there are much more extreme examples of teachers' responses and the impacts they have on students. There are teachers who will berate students for giving an incorrect response or an awkward comment.  Guess what message they're sending?

    This is not to say that a teacher shouldn't address a wrong answer but do it in a respectful way.  I know of a teacher who would make a buzzer sound if the answer was wrong and another teacher would shout "WRONG".  How humiliating for a student!

    If a student gives an incorrect response or says something that doesn't make sense, stick with them. Help them save face.  You might want to ask follow-up questions for clarification.  A teacher's response can either spur learning forward or shut it down.

    Consider having a colleague come in to observe your teaching.  Have them collect data on your responses to students.  It's a great way to learn what kind of messages you are sending your students.
    Please share this blog with colleagues and friends.  Also, take a look at my book on effective strategies.
    Best Effort,