A Glossary of Instructional Strategies
- Anticipatory Chart - Before reading a selection, hearing
a selection or viewing a video students are asked to complete
the first two sections of the chart-"What I already know
about ...." and "What I would like to find out about
...." After the information has been presented students
complete the "What I learned..." section. Responses
are shared with a partner. This is also known as a KWL Chart
Anticipatory Guide - Students are given a series of statements
that relate to a reading selection, lecture, or video. Students
indicate AGREE or DISAGREE. After the information has been presented,
students check to see if they were correct.
Brainstorming - Students work as a whole group with the
teacher, or in small groups. Begin with a stimulus such as a
word, phrase, picture, or object and record all responses to
that stimulus without prejudgment. Prewriting or INTO strategy.
The students give ideas on a topic while a recorder writes them
down. The students should be working under time pressure to create
as many ideas as possible. All ideas count; everything is recorded.
More ideas can be built on the ideas of others.
Carousel Brainstorming - Each small group has a poster
with a title related to the topic of the lesson. Each group uses
a different colored marker to write 4 to 5 strategies/activities
that relate to their topic. Students rotate to all the other
posters, reading them and adding 2 to 3 more strategies. Students
discuss the results.
Character Matrix - In groups, students create a grid,
which lists the characters horizontally on the left and character
traits vertically across the top. The students determine the
traits used. Group members decide if each character possesses
each of the traits and writes "yes" or "no"
in the appropriate box.
Choral Reading - Groups of students chorally present a
poem, or other reading selection. One person reads the title,
author, and origin. Each person says at least one line individually.
Pairs of students read one or more lines. Three students read
one or more lines. All students read an important line.
Clustering/Webbing/Mapping - Students, in a large group,
small groups, or individually, begin with a word circled in the
center, then connect the word to related ideas, images, and feelings
which are also circled. Prewriting or INTO strategy.
Comprehension Check - The teacher or students read the
selection aloud. Intermittently, the teacher asks for verbal
and nonverbal comprehension checks ("raise your hand",
"thumbs up for 'yes' ", "thumbs down for 'no'."
The teacher uses a variety of question types: Right There,
Think and Search, On My Own (See QAR, Day One.)
Co-op Co-op - Students work in teams to complete a project.
The steps are: student-centered class discussion, selection of
student study teams, team building and skill development, team
topic selection, mini-topic selection, mini-topic preparation,
mini-topic presentations, preparation of team presentations,
team presentations, evaluation.
Cooperative Dialogue -
1.Students number off one through four.
2.Each student pairs with another student from a different group
who has the same number.
3.Following the timeline from the article that was previously
read each pair writes a dialogue between two characters in the
4.Pairs are selected to present dialogues in chronological order
to the class. activity is designed to be a text "re-presentation."
Cooperative Graphing - This activity involves graphing
information based on a survey. Each group of four will take a
survey of how many countries each has visited (or other teacher-determined
information). A bar graph is then developed. Each person in the
group is responsible for one aspect of the graph, and signs his/her
name on the chart along with their area of responsibility. Jobs
are: survey group members and record results, construct the graph,
write names and numbers on the graph, write title and assist
with graph construction. Each person in the group describes his/her
part of the graph to the class.
Corners - Cooperative activity used to introduce a topic.
The teacher poses a question or topic along with four choices.
On a 3x5 card students write their choice and the reasons for
it. Students go to the corner of the room representing their
choice. In their corner, students pair up and share their
reasons for selecting that corner. The topic is discussed. For
example, the corners could be labeled cone, cube, pyramid, and
sphere with information about each figure provided. Students
go to the corner, learn about the figure, and return to teach
other team members.
Directed Reading-Thinking Activity This is a group activity
to get students to think about the content of a fiction or non-fiction
reading selection. The steps are 1) Students predict what they
will read and set purposes for reading. 2) Students read the
material. 3) Students discover if their predictions and hypotheses
Famous Person Mystery - The name of a famous person,
living or deceased is placed on the back of each student. Without
looking, students try to guess who the person is by asking questions
that require only yes/no answers.
Graphic Organizers - Graphic organizers are charts, graphs,
or diagrams, which encourage students to see information as a
component of systems rather than isolated facts. Students may
complete these as they read or view a presentation. There are
a variety of ways to use graphic organizers, including the following:
semantic word map, story chart, Venn diagram, spider map, network
tree, word map, and KWL chart. Other examples of graphic organizers
are listed below.
Comparison-Contrast Matrix-Students determine similarities
and differences between two people, things, solutions, organisms
stories, ideas, or cultures.
Branching Diagrams -Organization charts, hierarchical
relationships systems, family trees.
Interval Graphs-Chronological order, bar graphs, parallel
events, number value.
Flowcharts - Sequential events, directions, decision making,
writing reports, study skills.
Matrix Diagram-Schedules, statistics, problem solving,
comparisons with multiple criteria.
Fishbone Diagram-Cause and effect, timeline.
Group Discussion, Stand Up and Share, and Roam the Room
- After the teacher asks a question, students discuss and report
their group findings to the class. Teams can share their best
answer, perhaps on the board at the same time, or on an overhead
transparency. When an individual student has something important
to share with the class, he or she stands up. When one person
from each group is standing, the teacher calls on one of these
students for a response. If others have a similar response, they
sit down. Students move around the room to view the work of other
teams. They return to their teams to Round Robin share what they
Hot Topics - Students title a sheet "Hot Topics".
This sheet is kept in an accessible place in their notebooks
or portfolios. Students brainstorm with the teacher on possible
topics of interest related to the content of the course. Each
student writes down at least ten Hot Topics and adds to the list
throughout the year. Students occasionally choose one Hot Topic
and write in depth on the topic as a class assignment or as homework.
These may be included in their portfolios.
Idea Starts -Use a prompt for writing, such as a quote,
a photo, words from a vocabulary list, an article, a poem, opening
lines to a story, an unusual object, a film, or a guest speaker
to get students started.
Image and Quote with Cooperative Poster - Groups of four
are formed. Students read a selection. Each chooses a quote and
an image that have impact for them. Round Robin share. Groups
come to consensus on favorite image and quote. Each student takes
one colored pen. With all members participating, and each using
their chosen color, they draw the group image and write the group
quote on a piece of butcher or easel paper. Each member signs
the poster with his or her pen. Posters are shared with the class.
Inside-Outside Circle - Students are arranged into two
equal circles, one inside the other. Students from the smaller
inside circle face those in the outer larger circle and vice
versa. Students ask each other questions about a review topic.
These may be either teacher or student generated. Students from
one of the circles rotate to either the left or right. The teacher
determines how many steps and in which direction. Another question
is asked and answered.
Interactive Reading Guide - Working in groups, students
write down everything they know about a reading selection topic.
Then, they write three questions they want to have answered by
the selection. Each student reads a short first section silently;
then students retell the information with a partner. Next, the
first ___pages (teacher's choice) are read aloud in the group,
each person taking a turn to read. Then, the group predicts four
things that will be discussed in the next section. The groups
finish reading the chapter silently. Each person writes four
thinking questions for a partner to answer. (Why do you think
? Why do/did ____ ? How does ____relate to your life or experiences?
Compare ____to __. What if____? Predict _____) Papers are exchanged
and answers are given to each other's questions. Finally, with
a partner, a chart or diagram is drawn to illustrate the main
points of the chapter.
In-Text Questions - Students answer teacher-constructed
questions about a reading selection as they read it. Questions
are designed to guide students through the reading and provide
a purpose for reading. Students preview In-Text questions first
then answer them as they read the article. Students review their
answers with their small group, then share them with the whole
Jigsaw - 4-6 people per "home" team. Name the
teams. Within each team, number off 1-4. All ones form an "expert
group," as do twos, threes, and fours. Each expert group
is assigned a part to read (or do). Experts take 15 minutes to
read, take notes, discuss, and prepare presentations. Return
to home teams. Each expert takes 5 minutes to present to home
Journals -Students keep questions and ideas in a journal.
These may be used later to develop a formal piece of writing.
Key Words Story Prediction - In their groups,
students using key words listed by
Language Experience Approach - This is a reading strategy
based on a common experience. The students dictate a story to
the teacher, who then records the story. The teacher then uses
the reading as a practice on word recognition, sentence patterns,
and vocabulary items.
Learning Logs - Double-entry journals with quotes, summaries,
notes on the left and responses reactions, predictions, questions,
or memories on the right.
Line-Ups - Line-ups can be used to improve communication
and to form teams. The entire class lines up according to a specific
criteria (age, birthday, first letter of name, distance traveled
to school, etc.). The end of the line can move to the head of
the line and pair up until each person has a partner. This is
called "folding the line." Teams of four members can
then be formed from this line-up.
Multiple Intelligences Inventory Given a list of
preference statements organized according to the eight multiple
intelligences, students place checks next to those that are true
for them. By totaling the number of checks per intelligence students
are able to determine areas of strength and weakness.
Novel Ideas - Groups of four are formed. Each group member
has a sheet of paper with the team name or number in the corner.
Each person writes, "We think a story/selection entitled
(insert appropriate title) might be about ..." Each person
then has one minute to list what he or she thinks the story might
be about. For example, a story entitled "Eleven" might
be about a football team, roll of dice, etc. Each person draws
a line. Members Round Robin share their lists. As each member
shares, other members add new ideas to their lists. Groups then
take turns standing in a line and reading their possible topics
for the whole group. Topics may not be repeated. All students
add new or "novel" ideas, not on their lists.
Numbered Heads Together - A 5-step cooperative structure
used to review basic facts and information. Students number off
I to 4. Teacher asks a question. Students consult one another
to make sure everyone can answer the question. Teacher randomly
picks a number from 1 to 4. Those students with that number raise
their hand: Teacher randomly chooses one of the groups. The group
member with the previously-selected number answers the question.
After the student responds, the other teams may agree with a
thumbs up or a thumbs down hand signal. Teacher may ask another
student to add to the answer if an incomplete response is given.
Open Mind Diagram - Each person in a group of four uses
a different colored marker to participate in the poster creation.
Students draw a shape of a head and, inside the head, write words,
quotes from the story, symbols and pictures. Words can be made
into pictures of parts of the face.
Pairs Check - Cooperative pairs work on drill and practice
activities. Students have worksheets. One student answers the
first question while a second student acts as the coach. After
the coach is satisfied that the answer is correct, then roles
are reversed. Then this pair can check with the other pair on
the team. If all agree, then the process continues. If they do
not agree, students try one more time to figure out the answer,
or ask for help from the teacher.
Pantomime-A-Tale - This technique can be used with fiction
or nonfiction reading selections. Divide an article into sections.
Each group prepares their assigned section as a pantomime. There
should be one group member who reads the section, with appropriate
pauses, and three members who act it out without using words.
Rehearsal is important, so allow time for it.
Pass the Picture -Each person in a group has a visual
of a person. A blank sheet of paper is clipped to the back. The
teacher asks a question (e.g., "What is his/her name?").
Students write the answer in a complete sentence on the blank
paper. Students then pass the visual and the paper to the student
on the right. The teacher continues asking questions and students
continue writing the answer, then passing the visual to the right
for 6-8 questions. At the end, each student will have a descriptive
paragraph for each visual. Each student takes a visual and shares
it with the group while reading the final paragraph description.
Picture This - This activity is useful as a vocabulary
or concept review. A blank paper is divided into eight sections.
Students draw pictures or symbols to represent words or major
concepts. Students are not to label the drawings. Students exchange
papers with a partner and partners try to correctly label each
Pie Graph - Using the results of the Multiple Intelligences
inventory students draw a pie graph representing how they are
smart on a paper plate. Students may color, make designs, or
draw symbols for each section. Students can determine the size
of each section by creating a fraction that represents each intelligence.
The total number of checks is the denominator and the number
of checks for that section is the numerator. This fraction can
then be changed to a percent by dividing the numerator by the
Posters - As a BEYOND activity students create a poster
in small groups. The following list describes several types of
posters that the teacher may assign.
Illustrated Timeline Tell the plot or sequence
on a timeline, with pictures that depict the events.
Movie Poster Advertise the content from a lesson
by creating a movie poster complete with ratings, pictures, actors,
descriptions, and comments by a critic.
Comic Strip Create a 6-paneled comic strip of
the lesson content.
Image and Quote Choose an image and quote from
the lesson content that are representative or important. Poster
should include a title.
Advertisement Choose an item from the lesson content
and make a newspaper or magazine ad for it.
PQRST Study Strategy - Preview: Student skims the title,
side headings, pictures and graphics to identify writer's generalization.
Question: Student identifies questions that the writer
is going to answer during the reading. Read: Student reads
to obtain answers to the questions and takes notes. Summarize:
Student summarizes the information regarding each question posed.
Test: Student tests the generalization against the supporting
information to see if the author has enough information to support
Prediction - Students make a prediction about the subject
they are about to read by selecting an answer to a multiple-choice
Question-Answer Relationship QAR) - This program teaches
students strategies for answering questions. It also points out
the sources for different kinds of questions. Here are the three
types of answers:
Right There The answer is located directly in
Think and Search The answer is "between
the lines." The reader needs to analyze, make inference
and/or predict the answer based on the information in the reading.
On My Own The answer is "beyond the lines."
The reader must base the answer on his/her own experience.
Quickdrawing - Students sketch ideas that relate
to a topic. Prewriting or INTO strategy.
Quickwrite - Pre-reading or pre-writing focus activity.
Students are asked to respond to a question in writing for 5
minutes. Emphasis is on getting thoughts and ideas on paper.
Grammar, spelling, style not important.
Quickwriting -Students respond quickly to a prompt without
self-editing. If students get stuck they can repeat phrases over
and over until a new idea comes to mind. Prewriting or INTO strategy.
RAFT -May be used in any content area to reinforce information
and check for understanding. Individuals or groups of students
write about information that has been presented to them The teacher
determines the role of the writer, audience, format, and topic
(RAFT). For example, in a science class, students are asked to
write using the following RAFT - Role of Writer Cloud; Audience
Earth; Format Weather report; Topic Explanation of upcoming thunderstorms.
Ranking and Consensus Building - Students individually
rank items in a list from least important to most important.
Each group or pair comes to a consensus on the order.
Read Around Groups -After completing a writing assignment,
students are divided into groups of equal size. A group leader
collects the group's papers then, in a clockwise direction, passes
them to the next group. Each member of the group receives one
paper then reads it. Readers star a line they especially like.
One minute is allowed for reading and marking each paper. At
signal the students pass the paper to the person on the right.
After reading the papers of one group, the group chooses one
paper to read aloud to the class. If time allows, groups may
continue to pass papers until everyone has read all the papers.
Reader Response Chart - Students draw a T-chart on their
paper. On the left side they write 3 interesting quotes from
the story and on the right side students respond to the quote
with personal reactions, memories, questions, compare/contrast,
or something to learn more about.
Reading Circles/ Book Clubs Once students choose a book
from a selection of 4 to 5 titles, they form a group with those
reading the same book. Students read and solve the teacher-designed
activities that relate to their book. The group shares with the
class what they have learned from their reading.
Reading Guide 1. Headings Read -Around- Students
take turns reading the headings of the reading
2. Prediction Chart- With their group, students choose
two headings and predict what will be discussed in those sections.
Students write their answers on a prediction chart with the following
labels: "Heading", "Prediction", "Yes
or No". In their groups, students take turns reading the
first page aloud, and finish reading the selection in silence.
They write "yes" or "no" on the prediction
chart to indicate whether or not their predictions were correct.
5. Thinking Questions- Students write one thinking question
(Why..., How..., Compare..., What if...), and exchange papers
to answer each other's questions.
Reading Log- Students complete while reading a selection.
The left-hand side contains topic headings for sections of the
reading. Students are to briefly summarize each topic. On the
right--hand side students reflect on the implications of each
Reciprocal Teaching - Two students work together to read
a passage. Each may have a text or they may share a text. Student
A reads one paragraph aloud, then asks Student B one or two good
questions. (See QAR below.) B answers or explains why (s)he cannot.
A and B discuss questions and answers. The process is repeated
Reflections - Students reflect, in writing, on what was
learned, what was confusing, and connections of this lesson to
other lessons/other content areas/real world. Students may also
reflect on their progress as a student, what to do differently
next time, or what was liked about the topic.
Round Robin - Cooperative learning structure in which team
members share ideas verbally on a topic. Group members share in
order, without interruption, comment, discussion, or questions
from other members so that everyone has an opportunity to share.
Round Table - The teacher asks a question that has many
possible answers. In groups, the students make a list of possible
answers by one at a time saying an answer out loud and writing
it down on a piece of paper. The paper is then passed to the next
student to record another answer. The process continues until
the teacher tells the students to stop.
Same-Different - In pairs, students sit across from but
different, pictures. Their job is to fill out what is the same
and what is different in their pictures, without seeing what the
other sees. Each student has a recording sheet. Students alternate
recording the similarities and differences they find. One resource
is Same-Different: Holidays by Dr. Spencer Kagan, Kagan Cooperative
Learning 1 (800) WEE CO-OP. SDAIE STRATEGIES GLOSSARY
Send-A-Problem - Each student on a team makes up a review
question and writes it on a 3x5 card. The writer asks the question
of the other members of the team. When everyone agrees on an
answer it is written on the back of the card. The teams then
send their review questions to another team. Teams respond by
having one student read the first question. Each team member writes
down an answer. Team members then compare and discuss their answers.
If they agree, they turn the card over to see if they concur with
the sending team. If not, they write their answer on the back
of the card as an alternative answer. A second student reads the
next question, and so on. The stacks of cards are sent to a third,
then a fourth group until all teams have had a chance to answer
all questions. When the cards return to the senders, the teacher
should provide an opportunity to discuss and clarify.
Startling Statements - Students are told not to look at
the startling statement (question) that they have on their backs.
They circulate asking five others to provide an estimate for an
answer. After finding the average of the five estimates provided
by others, students look at their statements (questions) and write
their own estimate if they disagree with the average. Actual
answers are given after the students share estimates with the
Tableau - The students form a tableau of characters
or scenes or concepts. The teacher directs students regarding
their positions and facial expressions. Students hold their positions
in a brief tableau.
Tap-A-Word - Students practice pronouncing words or phrases
by using a combination of claps, hitting the table, and snapping
the teacher. In Round Table style, each member uses a word from
the list, in the order given, in a sentence to create a collaborative
Think-Pair-Share - When asked to consider an idea or answer
a question, students write their ideas on paper (think). Each
student turns to another student nearby and reads or tells his
or her own responses (pair, share). This is an oral exchange,
not a reading of each other's papers.
Three Step Interview - Group participants letter off A-B-C-D.
They use the following interview steps in order to share what
they have written in a quickwrite until they all have been read.
Step 1: A interviews B C interviews D Step 2: B interviews A
D interviews C Step 3:A interviews C and D about B B interviews
C and D about A, C interviews A and B about D, D interviews A
and B about C.
Verbalizing -Students share with a partner ideas they have
on a topic. Pre-writing or INTO strategy.
Visualization - In response to a teacher prompt, students
visualize in their mind a particular time or place and concentrate
on sensory images. (Tell students to "turn on the TV in their
Vocabulary Cards Each student selects a difficult vocabulary
word fro the story and creates a card in the following manner:
The word and its definition in the front, and a drawing and the
vocabulary word in a sentence in the back. These cards are shared
with team members, then exchanged with other groups.