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TXTS 4 Teachers

Filtering by Category: Instructional Strategies

Targeted Feedback

Ginger Topize

Feedback is something you do day in and day out. Why not make it better to make your job easier? Watch the video, then meet me below.

Effective feedback = aligned to sub-objective + references a specific skill/knowledge + timely

Not so hot:

Good job, nice model, very good, you are right, try again.


I noticed here (point) that your product is less than your factor. Let's look at your strategy for multiplying.

The model you drew for the moon phases is accurate and labeled properly if the sun is where?

You identified the theme accurately, however, I am struggling to see that you have justified it with evidence. Can you go back into the text and tell me what made you decide that?

Once your feedback rocks and is individualized: 

Teach students to use resources (e.g. rubrics, exemplars, checklists) to assess themselves and provide their own feedback to advance learning.

The following resources will support you further in your feedback journey.

5 Research-Based Tips for Providing Students with Meaningful Feedback By Marianne Stenger

20 Ways To Provide Effective Feedback For Learning By TeachThought Staff

Teaching Strategies: The Essentials of Giving Feedback By Jordan Catapano


Targeted Instructional Strategies

Ginger Topize


What Would Marzano Do?

Robert Marzano's research from Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement listed nine strategies that yielded high results. They are:

If you are interested in knowing how successful each are, check out his book or visit this PDF adaptation. Warning: without the book you might not realize that there is also a matter of HOW well the strategies are implemented. 

Wah wah wah wah wah....

Ginger Topize

Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris wrote a book on a project titled, "Who's Doing the Work." Something I know you say to yourself often. But what if you did less and the students did more?

Limiting "Teacher Talk," Increasing Student Work author Tori Filler shares the meat of this project in her Achieve the Core article. She explained the after only a month and a half of working on the project, 90% of the teachers reported that their students were more engaged and that they were, in fact, talking much less than previously. Here's some tips that the participants found most effective.

  • Elicit 100% participation

    • Example strategy: Think, Write, Pair, Share based on a MEATY question

  • Beef up discussions

    • Example strategy: Reduce ping pong between one student and you. Include others teaching them how to listen first, then agree, contrast, add on, and so forth.

  • Read, read differently, then read differently

    • Example strategies: Increase reading time by providing support strategically, use partner reads, echo read, re-read, annotate, cite evidence.

  • Build Independence

    • Sample Strategies: Explicitly teach students to engage, facilitate student-led discussions, read and re-read more, and self-assessment (and how to adjust one's self).

If you visit the article, you can find the entire list of strategies.

Challenge: Do a small scale research project in your own classroom by implementing one of the strategies for two weeks. You might be surprised what you learn.


Resource attributed to Michele Rutin, Peer Evalutor and Education Aficionado.


How do you teach an introvert?

Ginger Topize

Do your students raise their hands excitedly to give responses?

Do your students work together or collaborate often?

If you answered yes to either one, you might be rewarding extroverts and forgetting about your introverts.

Susan Cain founded the Quiet Revolution and immediately went to work on changing classrooms. In a 2012 TED Talk she stated that educators "unconsciously reward extroverts who dive headfirst into discussions, sometimes without much forethought." Her work shows us how to measure engagement versus participation.

Here's some tips to support your introverts:

1) End hand raising practices.

2) Evaluate body language and "facial feedback"

3) End traditional Think-Pair-Share, go for Think-WRITE-Pair-Share

4) Learn how your students learn

5) Look for culture differences. In some cultures listening is prized more than speaking.

6) Engage one-on-one

7) Help students explore their preferences


Ready to learn more?

Read Teaching Introverted Students: How a "Quiet Revolution" is Changing Classroom Practice by Brenda Iasevoli.

Watch Susan Cain's TED Talk.

Visit the Quiet Revolution website which also includes tips for parents of introverts.






Ginger Topize

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

I forgot!


The research is in. Our brains are hardwired to forget. Which may explain why the kitchen trash never seems to go out!

It's frightening to study the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve (below), but we can ALL identify! Fortunately, research also tells us what we can do in our classes to fight these odds. Scroll down for some quick tips.

Source: stuffforeducators

Source: stuffforeducators

 Why Students Forget---and What You Can do About It by Youki Terada shares with us 5 researched strategies to make the learning "stick."

  1. Student Conversations "not only increases retention but also encourages active learning (Sekeres et al., 2016)."

  2. Practice and practice aligned activities to give "multiple opportunities to review learned material."

  3. Frequent formative and fun assessments reduce anxiety as students become accustomed to showing what they know.

  4. Mixing it up. Grouping similar problems together to have the students practice over and over in just one way decreases thinking. Mix up problems/strategies to increase thoughtful learning.

  5. Images (or non-linguistic representations) help students recall information by attaching context to a visual cue.

Read the full article here.


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Walk This Way... Talk This Way!

Laurie King

The chances that you have, or will have, monolingual students in your class are pretty high. If you do have monolingual students, you know the value of modeling. Monolingual students benefit from:

  • Modeling a process — how to do something.

  • Modeling a product or performance —an exemplar that shows the end result of the completed task.

A good model is:

  • Explicitly constructed—it uses intentionally, concrete examples and/or visual images.

  • Free of distractions—there isn’t any extraneous information or verbiage.

  • Labeled with precise academic vocabulary for each step or part.

Tips for Using Exit Tickets

Laurie King

Exit tickets are a quick, easy, and great strategy to check for understanding and plan for next steps. The following are some things to keep in mind when using exit tickets:

Begin with the end in mind. Ensure your questions are precise enough for students to give you the information you need. Write questions that assess understanding, apply the concept, or demonstrate the concept.

Keep it brief. Exit tickets are intended to challenge your students while providing you feedback for planning. They should be able to be completed in under five minutes.

Examine the tickets carefully. Sort tickets into groups based on what you need to know. For example: students that understand the content, students that don’t understand the content, and students that you are unsure about. However you organize the data, make sure that it gives you an overall picture of your classroom.

Sample Exit Tickets (Fisher & Frey, 2004):

  • Write one thing you learned today.

  • Discuss how today's lesson could be used in the real world.

  • I didn't understand…

  • Write one question you have about today's lesson.

  • Did you enjoy working in small groups today?

  • I would like to learn more about…

  • Please explain more about…

  • The thing that surprised me the most today was…

  • I wish…

For more on Exit Tickets, watch this video.

Three Tools That Facilitate Authentic Engagement

Laurie King

Teachers constantly nurture the relationship between motivation and engagement. Knowing how to design learning experiences using strategies that build learner self-direction and ownership of learning sets great teachers and great lessons apart. There are many tools that can support the facilitation of authentic engagement where students are not just compliant, but can see a connection between the assigned task and the results. The following three are just a few of them:

Padlet -

Padlet empowers collaboration across distances without much set up. Think of Padlet as an electronic Post-it note wall. The difference is, the Post-it notes can be text, images, and videos. Visit the website for an example of how two teachers in two different classrooms use Padlet to facilitate student-to-student interactions. 

Socrative -

Socrative enables students to use any internet-connected device with a web browser to become a student response system. Socrative empowers the teacher to receive real-time data about what students are thinking and understanding.

PowToon -

PowToon is an engaging, easy to use publishing tool. It allows students to tell animated stories quickly and easily without a lot of knowledge about video production.