California Master Instructional Strategies Flip Chart

The Mentoring Minds™ Master Instructional Strategies Flip Chart® is a resource for educators as they implement content standards. Educators may use this flip chart to:

  • guide collaborative instructional conversations during grade-level or team meetings.
  • ˆˆdevelop lesson plans.
  • plan engaging learning activities.
  • identify strategies for high-quality instruction.
  • meet the needs of diverse learners.
  • support content teachers in developing literacy practices.
  • ˆˆselect appropriate assessment strategies.
  • plan interventions for students with special needs.
  • solicit and encourage higher-order thinking
  • train pre-service teachers.
  • obtain strategies for motivating students.
  • mentor or coach colleagues.
  • support professional development.
  • create questions, guide instruction, and develop assignments that engage students in critical thinking.
  • design assessment and instructional tasks that address higher cognitive practices.

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Opportunities for students to experience success are an important part of creating classrooms conducive to potential learning. Motivated students appear willing to put forth an effort toward their academic success. Student engagement requires capturing the attention and maintaining active participation of students. When students are motivated to learn, then engagement increases.

  • Demonstrate enthusiasm for the content or subject area and a willingness to support students.
  • Show respect for diversity; create a climate where students accept and value diversity.
  • Recognize success often, yet be aware individual praise is inappropriate in some cultures.
  • Display a genuine interest in students; tailor strategies to address individual concerns, interests, backgrounds, and preferred learning modalities.
  • Build relationships with students to establish trust.
  • Foster a risk-free environment where students feel confident asking and responding to questions.
  • Eliminate elements of the learning environment that lead to fear or failure (e.g., belittlement, humiliation, intimidation, degrading comments, lack of acknowledgement, peer competition).
  • Use positive language (e.g., presentation tone, facial expressions, gestures, pacing) to increase attention.
  • Connect concepts/ideas to contexts that reflect student interests and cultural or linguistic backgrounds or everyday life.
  • Use emotional hooks to pique student interest and make learning memorable (e.g., photos, video clips, demonstration).
  • Integrate and embrace technology to build relevancy, increase participation, and improve retention.
  • Provide varied resources and design tasks that address appropriate levels of difficulty.
  • Use examples that help students understand the purpose of the learning objective and its application to their everyday lives.
  • Establish realistic goals for students; allow students to set personal performance goals that are achievable.
  • Place emphasis on mastery and learning, rather than on testing and grading.
  • Provide nonjudgmental feedback; praise sincere efforts on work tasks.
  • Offer choices (e.g., limited, controlled) to promote independency and ownership.
  • Give students as much control as possible (e.g., ways of completing assignments, learning new tasks, making personal choices, setting goals).
  • Engage students as active participants in their learning.
  • Increase modeling, guided practice, and hands-on activities to increase student participation.
  • Alternate between passive and active instructional activities.
  • Pause often to allow students to interact with content being studied (e.g., illustrate key points, share 2-sentence summary, relate main idea to an analogy, collaborate with peers, complete an organizer).
  • Vary instructional routines by changing teaching activities and methods (e.g., group settings, debates, brainstorming, combination of print and online learning, role-playing, demonstrations, investigations, virtual learning).
  • Promote high-response opportunities during direct instruction (e.g., partner-to-partner, digital polling, text voting, response cards, quick writes).

Differentiated Instruction (DI) is a process in which teachers change the pace, teaching style, and level of instruction based on student differences. Student differences include readiness levels, interests, and learning preferences. Differentiation helps teachers respond to the needs of all students: English language learners, gifted and talented learners, those with disabilities, and others who learn in different ways and at different rates. Areas for differentiation are content, process, product, and learning environment. There are many ways for teachers to differentiate classroom instruction. The following provides evidence of what differentiation may look like when teachers adapt their instruction to the needs of individual students.

  • Do I understand the effects of cultural backgrounds on student learning?
  • Do I allow students to work on different tasks that address the same goals or learning targets?
  • Do I use different resources to match the readiness levels of students when working on the same task?
  • Do I allow students to work on the same task but use resources that match/align with the readiness levels of the students?
  • Do I have resources available that reflect a variety of reading levels for students?
  • Do I use scaffolding and tiered assignments to adjust tasks to accommodate student needs?
  • Do I respond to student differences during the lesson by reteaching, reinforcing, or extending the learning?
  • Do I plan tasks that vary the levels of challenge or difficulty?
  • Do I give students opportunities to work individually, with a partner, and with a small group?
  • Do I use flexible instructional groups?
  • Do I utilize multiple techniques for grouping students in a variety of ways?
  • Do I use a variety of instructional strategies to engage students in learning?
  • Do I maximize student engagement by using active learning experiences?
  • Do I use questioning prompts to promote student interaction and probe for deeper thinking?
  • Do I employ discussion as a technique to promote collaboration among students?
  • Do I integrate technology to enhance and vary learning experiences for students?
  • Do I match students with activities based on their interests, readiness levels, or learning preferences?
  • Do I offer students choices based on interest in content/topic, process, or product?
  • Do I allow students to move to independent learning experiences only when they are ready?
  • Do I use anchor activities for students who complete tasks in advance of other students?
  • Do I plan for and utilize purposeful anchor activities rather than busy work?
  • Do I incorporate tasks that range from simple to complex skill acquisition?
  • Do I include varied resource materials with different levels of complexity?
  • Do I use assessment tools to identify student readiness, interests, and learning preferences?
  • Do I know my students’ interests, learning preferences, and if they prefer independent, partner, or group work?
  • Do I plan and adjust instruction in response to student assessment data?
  • Do I use preassessment strategies to guide instruction?
  • Do I involve students in goal-setting, self-assessment, and reflective thinking about their learning?
  • Do I use multiple assessment techniques to monitor progress?
  • Do I use informal and formal formative assessment measures?
  • Do I provide descriptive feedback to students about their progress?

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