Whether you are a brand new teacher or have been teaching for over twenty years, it can be a challenge to know which instructional strategies are the best for your students. However, there isn’t just one strategy that works with every student. Each and every student is unique and has individual needs. Here are some suggestions as to the best instructional strategies and techniques to implement into your classroom!
One way to improve upon your instruction is to add visuals to any lesson. Using images, a smart board, or performing classroom demonstrations are all ways that you can utilize visuals in your classroom. I especially love using Google Slides, anchor charts, and educational video clips. The best part of using visuals is that it can be applied to all grade levels and content areas. Be sure to check out this FREE resource from my friend Amanda Thompson from Thompson’s Teachings.
It is no surprise that our students love to use technology. Incorporating technology into your lesson is an awesome way to keep your students engaged! If your district is 1:1, learning new concepts can become more interactive and exciting for your students. Some of my favorite digital platforms are Flipgrid, Seesaw, Google Slides with Pear Deck, and Quizlet.
Cooperative Learning Groups
When students work in cooperative learning groups, great things can happen! Cooperative learning groups are formed by the teacher. Students are placed small heterogeneous groups and take roles in order to learn, share knowledge and complete tasks with each other. Students enjoy working in groups. However, there should be rules and expectations on how to work in a group. I created an anchor chart that used GROUP as an acronym. G= Give Thoughtful Feedback, R= Respect Opinions, O= On Task, U= Use Soft Voices and P= Participate Actively. Check out my GROUPS bulletin board HERE.
Hands On Learning
When I taught first grade, my students loved using manipulatives throughout guided math practice as well as performing interactive word wall chants to spell words. You can check out my word wall chants here. Hands on learning activities allow students to develop critical thinking skills while being actively engaged in their learning. Some hands on learning activities are, drawing a map, creating a display, performing an experiment, or creating a small building for a STEM assignment. For elementary students, using magnetic tiles can be especially fun and engaging! Check them out here!
As a former sixth grade ELA teacher, I would frequently conference with my students- especially when they had to write. This allowed me to guide my students become stronger writers. I found this strategy to be especially effective. Conferencing is when you meet one on one with a student to discuss their progress and offer support. It is very important to keep conferencing short ( between 5-7 minutes) and to eventually meet and conference with all of your students.
Having your students assess themselves allows them to take ownership of their learning. There are various ways to use self assessment. This can be informal hand gestures ( fist to five) to show how confident they are in the content they just learned. It is important that students assess themselves at least once a day. One of my favorites to use in the classroom was my Emoji Themed Self Assessments. They can be found HERE.
There are so many other amazing instructional strategies out there! As a teacher, you will know what works best for your students! Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try a new instructional strategy!