Master Instructional Strategies Flip Chart

The Master Instructional Strategies Flip Chart™ is a resource that offers a multitude of strategies from the major instructional schools of thought. This flip chart assists teachers in providing research-based practices that address the needs of all learners. Educators may use the flip chart to:

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  • identify strategies for high-quality instruction.
  • ˆˆplan and facilitate engaging learning activities.
  • obtain strategies for motivating students.
  • develop lesson plans.
  • plan for and accommodate the diversity of academic needs.
  • support teachers in incorporating strategies that increase student learning.
  • ˆˆmonitor student learning and progress.
  • plan intervention support for students with academic or behavioral needs.
  • solicit and encourage higher-order thinking.
  • create questions, guide instruction, and develop opportunities that engage students in thinking critically.
  • design instructional and assessment tasks that focus on high levels of cognitive demand.
  • guide collaborative instructional conversations during grade-level or team meetings.
  • ˆtrain pre-service teachers.
  • mentor or coach colleagues.
  • support professional development.

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.

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  • 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).

A well-organized and well-managed classroom is essential for the effective implementation of instruction. High-quality instruction requires careful and thoughtful planning. Valuable instructional time will be wasted if guidelines and procedures are not in place. The following strategies may be helpful in maintaining a positive, productive learning environment.


  • Take time to organize the classroom prior to instruction.

    • Arrange the classroom so it is clutter-free, well organized, and allows for quick access to each student.
    • Have all materials and resources organized and readily available before making assignments.
    • Arrange the classroom to promote a variety of learning formats (e.g., small group instruction, learning stations, group work, independent work).
    • Communicate and post classroom rules and/or expectations using visual and written prompts.
    • Post behavioral expectations for working in groups.
    • Provide students access to self-help tools (e.g., word walls, reference sources).
    • Validate the importance of assignments by providing consistent spaces/areas for students to place finished/unfinished projects and other work.

  • Consider these reflective questions when establishing guidelines and procedures.

    • What do I want students to be able to do?
    • What procedures need to be in place so students work effectively and efficiently?
    • How will students move from group-to-group?
    • How will directions be given?
    • How will students ask for help?
    • How will materials and resources be managed?

  • Teach, practice, and implement procedures (e.g., modeling, role-playing). Do not assume that students know what to do. Demonstrate what to do and what not to do.

  • Eliminiate disruptions by using tools (e.g., color-coded cards, checklists, index cards) that specify procedures, directions, steps, criteria for working with partners/small groups, and describe tasks and finished products.

  • Observe closely when students first begin to use new procedures. Correct misusages immediately.

  • Praise students when procedures are followed. Redirect immediately when procedures are not followed.

  • Hold students accountable for organizing individual work and personal work spaces.

  • Teach students how to self-regulate learning.

  • Have students maintain work logs as evidence of progress toward assigned goals.

  • Assign peer partners to provide student support as needed.

  • Have efficient transition procedures in place.

  • Incorporate a variety of music (if approved), to calm, to relax, to stimulate thinking, or to signal a change in activities.

  • Avoid sarcasm, criticism, threats, and arguments to prevent students from feeling trapped.

  • Use management techniques that attract and maintain student focus.

    • Engage in meaningful conversations about learning.
    • Grasp the attention of all students prior to giving directions (e.g., ring a chime, strum a xylophone, use hand signals).
    • Establish guidelines for noise control during group work (e.g., Use a 6-inch voice so no one hears you if more than 6 inches away.).
    • Express excitement about learning when assigning tasks.
    • Give directions by slowing the pace and using vocabulary all students comprehend. Ensure students understand instructions (e.g., turn to partners and paraphrase directions, repeat directions and ask students to complete blanks with key words or missing information).
    • Be attentive to students who struggle to remain on task by providing timers.
    • Help students focus during large-group instruction. Provide them with tools to keep their hands occupied (e.g., Koosh® balls, clay).

  • Use signals to gain or redirect attention of students (e.g., clapping pattern, playing music, raising hand).

  • Alternate between active and passive activities to promote a high level of student engagement.

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