Truthfully, I'm not entirely sure. But I can't get the lyric from her recent, non-country tune, "Shake It Off" out of my head (and they happen to be the only lyrics that I know) so all I am hearing right now as I write this post about using a variety of instructional modes is..."Change It Up, Change It Up."

Now that I've lost got your attention...

We've been posting each week about nine habits you need to start (or continue. And definitely enable.) Each week spotlights a different habit. 

This week, we will address Changing Up Instruction (Change It Up, Change It Up. Okay, I'll stop now. Promise.). As an Indistar user, you're probably more accustomed to the indicator: All teachers use a variety of instructional modes. The sentiment remains the same: be thoughtful about your instruction, the objectives, and what phase of delivery you are in, constantly assess your students so you can adjust and adapt instruction according to what YOU learn about what they learn, give them opportunities to listen, to interact, to practice and apply, to ask, to show you what they know, and then try again if needed. 

Indistar, ever the simplifier of complicated things, identifies instruction in two ways: Whole Class and Work Time.

Whole-class instruction is teacher-directed, with the teacher delivering material to the entire class at the same time. Teacher-directed instruction can also occur in small groups as long as the teacher is directing the instruction. Within Whole-Class Instruction, the following happens (in very brief terms, but we'll direct you to resources that go more in-depth): 

  1. Behavior Check: Sets the climate for the class, reinforces attentive behavior, prepares students to learn
  2. Review (and Homework Check): Connect prior learning with new learning, provide students with clear assessment of progress toward learning goals, detect areas that require further teaching or practice.
  3. Think: Introduces the new information in an interesting way (often called a rope, or a hook), continue to connect to prior learning. Cues, questions, and advanced organizers are used in this segment of whole-class instruction.
  4. Know: This is where the new skills or concepts are taught, with lecture and lots of modeling and demonstration. Teacher is continuously checking for engagement and ensuring student participation.
  5. Show: This is the part where the teacher finds out what students have learned and give them a chance to practice what they have learned--often through questions and higher order thinking. This session ends with a definite closure statement to help students organize their learning and prepare for Work Time.

Work time occurs when the teacher removes him or herself from the direct instruction of material and supports the continuation of student-directed learning through group, independent, or computer-based activities. In work-time, students practice and advance their learning with activities that are aligned to objectives and differentiated according to their needs. 

Work time may take the form of teacher-directed small group instruction, student-directed instruction (independent work, peer learning, small groups). 

This is a pretty technical sounding description...but it's not to detract from what happens within the Whole-class + Work-time modes, which is where the fun and the magic and the rewards of teaching and learning happens. 

We're going to leave you with a few resources that you will be so happy to discover. Print them out, copy them, adapt them, recreate them to suit the needs of your teachers + your students. 

The Workbook that accompanies the Instructional Delivery module of the Instruction Course (all free free free!).This workbook is so full of great information, tools, and resources that we had to give it its own billing. 

The Instructional Delivery module itself. (Module Three, all the way to the right. Though even better if you start at Module One).

The Facilitator Guide to the course.Planning your next Instructional Team or Faculty Meeting? This facilitator guide walks you step by step through the entire module (with prompts to ensure rich, engaging discussions and reflections). 

photo credit: DeeAshley via photopin cc

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