Topic outline

  • General

  • Differentiated Instruction Overview

  • Exit Tickets and Formative Assessment

    • Classroom Management Tips

    • Classroom Instruction that Works - 9 Categories for Best Practice

      Creating the Environment for Learning

      • Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback
      • Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition
      • Cooperative Learning

      Helping Students Develop Understanding

      • Cues, Questions and Advance Organizers
      • Nonlinquistic Representations
      • Summarizing and Note taking
      • Assigning Homework and Providing Practice

      Helping Students Extend and Apply Knowledge

      • Identifying Similarities and Differences
      • Generating and Testing Hypothesis

      Source: Classroom Instruction that Works

      • Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback

        Setting Objectives for a lesson, unit and/or course will provide students with a roadmap of what they will be expected to know and be able to do.

        • Objectives help students connect previous and future learning.  
        • Having the objectives listed in student-friendly terms helps students see where they are in their learning and what their next steps need to be.  

        Providing Feedback to students on their learning:

        • Provide feedback that addresses what is correct and elaborates on what students need to do next.
        • Provides feedback appropriately in time to meet students’ needs.
        • Provide feedback that is criterion referenced.
        • Engage students in the feedback process.
        • Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition

          Reinforcing Effort

          • Teach students about the relationship between effort and achievement.
          • Provide students with explicit guidance about what it means to expend effort.
          • Ask students to keep track of their effort and achievement.

          Providing Recognition

          • Promote a mastery-goal orientation.
          • Provide praise that is specific and aligned with expected performance and behaviors.
          • Use concrete symbols of recognition.

        • Cooperative Learning

          • Include elements of positive interdependence and individual accountability.
          • Organize groups of two to five students.
          • Use cooperative learning consistently and systematically.
        • Cues, Questions and Advance Organizers

          Cues and Questions

          • Focus on what is important.
          • Use explicit cues.
          • Ask inferential questions.
          • Ask analytic questions.

          Advance Organizers

          • Use expository advance organizers.
          • Use narrative advance organizers.
          • Use skimming as an advance organizer.
          • Use graphic advance organizers.

        • Nonlinguistic Representations

          • Use graphic organizers.
          • Make physical models or manipulatives.
          • Generate mental pictures.
          • Create pictures, illustrations, and pictographs.
          • Engage in kinesthetic activities.
        • Summarizing and Note taking

          • Teach students the rule-based summarizing strategy.
          • Use summary frames.
          • Engage students in reciprocal teaching.
          Note taking
          • Give students teacher-prepared notes.
          • Teach students a variety of note-taking formats.
          • Provide opportunities for students to revise their notes and use them for review.
          • Identifying Similarities and Differences

            • Teach students a variety of ways to identify similarities and differences.
            • Guide students as they engage in the process of identifying similarities and differences.
            • Provide supporting cues to help students identify similarities and differences.
            • Generating and Testing Hypotheses

              • Engage students in a variety of structured tasks for generating and testing hypotheses.
              • Ask students to explain their hypotheses and their conclusions.
              • Homework and Practice


                • Develop and communicate a district or school homework policy.
                • Design homework assignments that support academic learning and communicate their purpose.
                • Provide feedback on assigned homework.


                • Clearly identify and communicate the purpose of practice activities.
                • Design practice sessions that are short, focused, and distributed over time.
                • Provide feedback on practice sessions.
                • Learning Choices

                  A 2008 meta-analysis of 41 studies found a strong link between giving students choices and their intrinsic motivation for doing a task, their overall performance on the task, and their willingness to accept challenging tasks (Patall, Cooper, & Robinson, 2008). However, the researchers also found diminishing returns when students had too many choices: Giving more than five options produced less benefit than offering just three to five. The researchers concluded that with student choice, "too much of a good thing may not be very good at all" (p. 298).