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TXTS 4 Teachers

Filtering by Tag: Practice/Aligned Activity

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. 


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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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.

Learning Menu: Math

Marlys WeaverStoesz

In her article, “Using Math Menus,” Burns shares the underlying benefits and specific math menu items to strategically tackle “The Big Three” burning teacher questions (Burns, 2016, p. 40).

What do I do with students who finish their math assignments more quickly?

How can I free up time to work with students who need extra help?

How can I differentiate experiences to support struggling learners while also meeting the needs of students who require additional challenges

Here is one such menu item, entitled “The Game of Pathways.” We have summarized the strategy below, but we invite you to visit Marilyn Burns’ blog for in-depth directions at

Create 4X5 game board grids.

Complete the grid with “numbers that are products of two of the factors below the grid.”

Students play in pairs on the same board.

The goal is for each student to “X off” connected “pathways” of squares from one side of the grid to the other.

Player One chooses two factors and puts an “X” in the square with the product of the two factors.

Player Two changes one of the factors previously used and then puts an “X” on the product of the new two factors.

Players continue to change a factor from their opponent’s previous move.

The first player to finish a pathway wins the game.

Burns, M. (October 2016). Using math menus: giving students a menu of activities to choose from helps differentiate instruction and engage all learners. Educational Leadership, 74 (2), 40.