Guide Instructional Strategies for Middle and High School

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Learning First
Contents:
  1. 15 Actionable Strategies for Increasing Student Motivation and Engagement
  2. 32 Research-Based Instructional Strategies
  3. Give the students choices whenever possible
  4. Differentiated Instruction Strategies Infographic
  5. Instructional Strategies for Middle and High School by Bruce E. Larson

We know that young children generally have short attention spans. To estimate the number of minutes of a child's attention span, add two to the child's age. So, for children in the elementary grades, activities within a time period should vary to include a mix of listening, movement, hands-on experiences, and individual, partner, or group work. Even though middle and high school students should have longer attention spans, many students continue to have difficulty paying attention to a lecture for more than 10 minutes.

On the other hand, some children can concentrate for extended periods of time on a project, game, computer activity, or book in which they are intensely interested. So, it is easy to understand why time management is crucial to successful learning experiences. For each learning experience, the time for each element of the lesson varies with the type of activity and the students' ages. Use of time and choice of instructional strategies are also based on the scheduled time for the learning experience. However, regardless of the length of time, successful lessons include the entire sequence of events shown in Figure 2.

Time wasted getting materials and supplies at the beginning of the lesson sets a negative tone and encourages off-task behavior. Lectures and seatwork assignments that are too long and group work and hands-on activities that are too short fail to accomplish the learning objective. A hurried ending to the lesson leaves students without closure—one of the key elements important for permanent learning.

It is also a critical time for teachers to assess which students accomplished the objective and which students need more time. The following time-management strategies can help you develop procedures for dealing with supplies and student work: Establish a procedure for organizing and distributing materials for lab or hands-on activities based on whether each student needs materials or whether groups of students share materials.

Provide containers in which to organize and distribute materials for each group. Designate student assistants to assemble materials in the correct configuration before the scheduled time. This practice is invaluable for finding out what supplies are missing, broken, or unusable before class begins. Plan at least five minutes for distributing lab equipment or manipulatives. This time may be shortened as students become more familiar with the procedures.

If lab or hands-on materials are new to students, spend a few minutes helping them understand what the materials are, how to use them, what safety precautions if any to follow, and what they are to do with the materials at the end of the class.

15 Actionable Strategies for Increasing Student Motivation and Engagement

For science experiments involving messy materials, such as sand, water, dirt, and other liquids, plan an extra five minutes for cleanup. Chaos results when students are moving in every direction to clean up real messes. Ask the custodian for a large garbage can for disposal of consumable materials. Use a system to collect completed student work. Effective techniques include locating a basket in an accessible place and having students place their work in the basket upon completion, or collecting papers in the seating order so that they can be quickly returned in the same order.

It is usually best not to have students collect other students' assignments, as the opportunity for misbehavior is high when students handle one another's work. In addition, maintaining the confidentiality of student work is one of your key responsibilities. The following suggestions are helpful for organizing group work and managing students working at learning centers: For group work, prepare a list of the members of each group and the location of the group's work area as part of your preplanning. Write the list on a transparency or the chalkboard, or duplicate it and give a copy to each student.

Scheduling students' time for computer activities and learning centers requires a systematic approach. One strategy is to use computer work as one of a group of learning centers. The whole class rotates through the centers according to an organized plan.

32 Research-Based Instructional Strategies

In some classes, center work is scheduled one day of the week for a to minute period. Plan the center activities so that equal amounts of time are spent in each center, and there is adequate time to complete an activity or task. Develop a plan to ensure that all students rotate through each of the centers and that the number of students at a center at one time is acceptable. For example, if you have four centers and students are allowed 20 to 30 minutes at each one, they can complete all four centers in two- to three-center sessions.

If students are allowed access to the computer when they have free time, have them keep a log of their time and what activities they did. Because some students rush through their class work so they can spend time at the computer, this record is a helpful check on students' use of time. For older students who are allowed to choose group members to work on special projects, develop and teach a procedure for that process before the option is allowed. It has been our experience that this process can be extremely painful for students who are not well regarded by their peers or who have learning difficulties and are perceived to hamper the group's efforts.

Give the students choices whenever possible

Therefore, it is probably best that choice be allowed only when the majority of the work is done outside of class and the assignment provides several different options, such as preparing multimedia presentations, writing and performing skits or plays, doing research projects, or building entries for various contests science fairs, engineering competitions, and so forth. Clear criteria for grading is an absolute must for project work that involves multiple students and a significant commitment of time.

The following suggestions help you estimate how long you should plan for various types of instructional strategies: Allow adequate time for completion of the laboratory and hands-on activities. Estimate the time based on prior experience; if this is the first time you have done this particular activity, allocate a generous amount of time and then monitor to see if your estimate is reasonable.


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Allotting enough time to successfully complete the work but not enough for off-task behavior is tricky, but careful monitoring of actual time versus estimated time helps you plan time allocations for future hands-on experiences. Evaluate the time it takes for each instructional strategy you choose.

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If the strategy takes longer than your scheduled time, it is best not to attempt it. Some activities, such as complex science experiments, research projects, cooperative group assignments, and others, simply cannot be done in an hour period. These activities are ideal for block schedules or when you can arrange to have extra time. For periods of 60 to 90 minutes, use a variety of instructional strategies in order to maintain students' attention. Limit lectures to no more than 20 minutes for high school students and 15 minutes for middle school students.

A successful lecture technique is to insert breaks for processing information. Use brief discussions among student partners or small groups or application activities that help students apply the information just presented. Another technique for refocusing students' attention is to have them stand up when you present a particularly important point or summary. A great memory builder is to simply remind students of the point that was made when they were standing up. Perhaps the most challenging instructional strategies are those involving cooperative, collaborative, and small-group activities.

Using time wisely during those activities requires teaching the skills of group work, setting reasonable time constraints for completion of the group assignment, closely monitoring each group's progress, and constantly evaluating whether each student is accomplishing the assignment or whether only a few group members are actually doing the work while the others observe.

Begin the year with group activities focused on learning social and time management skills. Then plan group activities that are more content focused. For a discussion of various strategies for group work, see Section 3 of this book. Assigning individual seatwork as a part of scheduled class time is an excellent way to monitor student progress and give you time to work with individual students who need additional assistance. Successful assignments are those that offer a comfortable challenge for which the student is adequately prepared and that can be completed in a reasonable period of time with a fairly high likelihood of success.

An example of inappropriate seatwork would be assigning 4th graders a set of 25 long-division problems when they are first learning the procedure for dividing by a two-digit number.

Frustration sets in, poor attitudes toward math develop, and students practice making the same mistake so many times that it becomes ingrained in their thinking. As students move up in the grades, assigning projects is a way to help them learn how to research, structure their time to complete a long-term assignment, and make oral and visual presentations to their peers. Successful project work is based on development of the organizational and research skills necessary to do quality work.

One way to ensure that this happens is to develop a sequence of experiences over several years to build students' abilities. For example, beginning in 4th grade, teachers can assign a small project due in a week. Each day of the week, they can help students organize a sequence of steps that they must take to complete the work, find and use research sources, develop computer skills if required , and prepare their presentations.

Differentiated Instruction Strategies Infographic

In other words, the entire process is an instructional strategy. Over time, less and less support is provided; projects are done over longer periods of time; and requirements become increasingly stringent. Effective time management is one of the skills necessary for success in school as well as in everyday life and in the work world. Whether the student is learning in a general education classroom or pulled out into a special education resource setting, be sure that activities are focused on assessing individual students to monitor their progress through the curriculum.

Instructional Strategies for Middle and High School by Bruce E. Larson

Concerns for the individual must take precedence over concerns for the group, and over concerns about the organization and management of the general education classroom. Success for the student with learning disabilities requires a focus on individual achievement, individual progress, and individual learning. This requires specific, directed, individualized, intensive remedial instruction of students who are struggling. HOME X. Increased coverage on teaching English language learners, including a "Making Your Lesson More Meaningful for ELLs" feature now included in every instructional strategy chapter.

Fresh interior design to better highlight pedagogical elements and key features, all to better engage students. Fully revamped and comprehensive companion website, with both student and instructor materials that stress real-world application of strategies, classroom assessment and management. Bruce E.