Tennessee Curriculum Center

Teacher Moves

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
William A. Ward

Bill Gates said, “I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts… I’m enough of a scientist to want to say, ‘What is it about a great teacher?” Each day, great teachers make hundreds, perhaps thousands, of intentional classroom decisions that drive instruction, their interactions with students, and ultimately the success that they and their students enjoy.

Teacher Moves combine a broad knowledge of techniques with an understanding of how, when, and under what circumstances they can be strategically applied. Having a broad range of instructional alternatives to draw upon and awareness from past experience about their relative efficacy in particular settings provides a robust foundation for teaching excellence. Although few of the Teacher Moves in this collection meet the measure of Gate’s research-based definition of effectiveness, most of these strategies enjoy some degree of anecdotal evidence as to their quality.

In no particular order and without any empirical evidence to support the claim, we concur with Michael Goldstein’s conclusions about the five things that teachers care most about (Adapted from: Studying Teacher Moves, 2012)

  • How to be more efficient so as to free up time that it can be invested in new priorities.
  • How to manage the classroom so that kids' behavior improves.
  • How to motivate and sustain student effort during class and get them to work hard at home.
  • How to effectively present important ideas and concepts.
  • How to get kids to remember material that they seemingly once knew.

The Teacher Moves section has been adapted from the above list and organized according to the needs and wants that all teachers seem to share.

  • Work Smart – Stable and consistent routines that make the most efficient use of instructional time.
  • Maintain a Safe Learning Environment - Effective classroom management techniques applied firmly, fairly, and with consistency.
  • Build Efforts to Learn - Activities that motivate students to dedicate the energy needed to learn.
  • Teach Effectively- Clear and explicit communication practices that focus tightly on specific learning targets.
  • Drive Home Understanding - Approaches that make it possible for students to gain a deep and lasting understanding of content and associated practices.
Filter by category
Work Smart
Maintain a Safe Learning Environment
Build Efforts to Learn
Teach Effectively
Drive Home Understanding
  • 36 Interesting Ways* to Get to Know Your New Class
    Maintain a Safe Learning Environment

    This slideshow published in Google Docs is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Share Alike 3.0 License. Packed with 36 activities to get to know your students.

  • ABC Brainstorm
    Teach Effectively

    Before having your students discuss a major topic, it is essential to activate their background knowledge as it relates to this subject. One way to accomplish this is through the ABC Brainstorm strategy.

  • Active Learning
    Drive Home Understanding

    Traditional instruction applies a knowledge transmission model in which knowledge is passed along intact from teacher to student. It has generally been assumed that the best way to transfer information via this route is through lecture.

  • Affinity Cluster
    Teach Effectively

    For many years, the business community has been using Affinity Diagrams to gather, synthesize, and interpret large quantities of data in a creative and dynamic manner. Here, this group process has been adapted for the classroom.

  • Anticipation Guide
    Build Efforts to Learn

    This simple technique stimulates curiosity by asking students to speculate about a topic or question. Students are more likely to retain knowledge about previously uncovered subject matter if they are involved from the onset in a full-class learning experience.

  • Are You Being Fair? Tips for Avoiding Favoritism
    Work Smart

    Treating all students fairly and equitably requires teachers to control their emotions. A good example are actors who express their emotions in a very controlled way.

  • Ask-Cite-Explain-Summarize (ACES)
    Build Efforts to Learn

    ACES is a model for responding to a Constructed Response question based on a method used by the Northern Nevada Writing Project. Constructed Response is simply a written response to a question.

  • Assumption Smashing
    Drive Home Understanding

    Assumptions include things that we take for granted, beliefs accepted as true without proof, and ideas that are steadfastly defended. Deep-seated assumptions develop subconsciously over time as we interact with the world.

  • Attention Getting Signals: One Spot
    Work Smart

    Teach students to expect direction from one spot in the room. Classroom teacher, Nick Romagnolo, shares strategies in this engaging 1 min video that is posted on the Teacher Channel.

  • Author's Chair
    Teach Effectively

    This strategy allows writers and readers to share with a group of like-minded colleagues how they feel at specific instances while interacting with a text, whether they are the reader or the author of that text. Time is provided in a class setting for those who want to share and receive feedback.

  • Awards, Certificates, Goal Setting, and More
    Maintain a Safe Learning Environment

    These printable awards and certificates will help you recognize great effort, achievement, or progress by your students. Honor student's academic accomplishments with one of our many performance certificates.

  • Back-to-Back Listening
    Build Efforts to Learn

    This strategy helps to identify communication skills and to develop them more fully. Knowing that skilled listening is critical to interpersonal communication, students place greater value on listening as a factor in cooperative learning and in successful team work..

  • Build Relationships: Teach More that 'Just Math'
    Maintain a Safe Learning Environment

    Make a stronger teacher - student relationship in your classroom with simple but meaningful gesture . Published on the Teacher Channel, a math teacher talks about teaching more than "math".

  • Building Vocabulary with the Frayer Model
    Drive Home Understanding

    Since the 1970’s, teachers in all subject areas and at all grade levels have used a learning strategy based on a graphic organizer developed by Dorothy Frayer (1969) to help students increase their vocabulary. Completing the four-square Frayer Model graphic organizer supports a comprehensive, thoughtful, and successful word analysis that leads students to clarify their understanding of terms and develop their ability to use words in their proper context..

  • Buzz Groups
    Build Efforts to Learn, Teach Effectively

    A Buzz Group is a high-energy, fast-paced framework for conducting a tightly focused classroom discussion. To ensure total student participation, Buzz Groups typically consist of 2-5 members whose sole responsibility is to complete an assigned task within a brief period of time.

  • Calmness Counter
    Maintain a Safe Learning Environment

    Open up this online tool and keep the noise down. Voice level tracker for the classroom is a free online interactive that monitors the noise level of your classroom.

  • Carousel Brainstorm
    Teach Effectively

    From: Carousel…as in a merry-go-round amusement park ride and Brainstorm as in generating a large number of ideas. A Carousel Brainstorm, which can be used in any content area and is a quick, high-energy and engaging way to gather large amounts of class data through collaborative inquiry.

  • Chain Notes
    Build Efforts to Learn

    Chain notes begin with a response by one student that is added to by others, one at a time. It can serves a good pre-assessment at the beginning of a lesson to identify how much students already know or recall about a topic.

  • ClassDojo
    Maintain a Safe Learning Environment

    ClassDojo is a classroom tool that helps teachers improve behavior in their classrooms quickly and easily. It also captures and generates data on behavior that teachers can share with parents and administrators.

  • Classroom Architect: Enhance Your Classroom Space
    Work Smart

    The skillful teacher understands that there is no single way to arrange a classroom. The selected room arrangement diffesr according to the students' ages and previous experiences, the background knowledge of teachers, and their willingness to experiment with new ideas.

  • Classroom Behavior Charts
    Maintain a Safe Learning Environment, Build Efforts to Learn

    This site offers an abundance of practical printable charts and resources. These materials enable you to set and monitor student goals and track an entire class using the quick glance classroom behavior chart.

  • Classroom Management Success
    Maintain a Safe Learning Environment

    Whether you need help with your classroom management skills, ready to take your skills to the next level, or want to be admired as a role model and inspire others, this is a great resource. Classroom Management Success, developed by Bill Alexander provides top quality information and offers advice on how to skillfully manage the classroom.

  • Classroom Management Tips
    Work Smart, Maintain a Safe Learning Environment, Build Efforts to Learn

    Education World has sixty volumes of tips to help teachers manage classrooms effectively. Management strategies, suggestions for transition times, organization tips for managing time and classroom materials, tips for getting to know students and rewarding them more.

  • Classroom Management Tools
    Maintain a Safe Learning Environment

    Many factors contribute to successful classroom management. Teachers who are successful respond appropriately when problems occur to often prevent aproblem before it arises.

  • Classroom Management Videos for Secondary School Teachers
    Maintain a Safe Learning Environment

    12 minutes 34 Seconds This video follows a high school science teacher as she demonstrates how her structured and routine-based classroom environment is the key to successful behavior management and student engagement.  .

  • Classroom Routines
    Work Smart

    This excellent video taken from a 3rd grade classroom shows a teacher who has trouble with students following instructions, staying on task, and overall classroom management. Behavior expert, Sue Crowley, analyzes the problems that occur in this classroom and offers suggestions to get pupils to focus quickly and get students back on track..

  • Classroom Routines
    Work Smart

    This colorful PDF is packed with practical classroom procedures, ideas for transitioning, posting daily schedules, student jobs, quieting tips,and ways to establish routines. Sample images show real applications that can easily be adapted and replicated in your classroom..

  • Cloze Reading
    Teach Effectively

    Cloze Reading is a technique in which words are deleted from a passage according to a word-count formula or other criteria. A passage is presented to students, who insert words as they read to complete and construct meaning from the text.

  • Communication Tools - Back Channel
    Work Smart

    Clear communication, keeping up, and remaining on track allows for a steady classroom work flow. Explore BackChannel resources and learn it's relevance to education.

  • Concept Attainment
    Drive Home Understanding

    Concept Attainment is a constructivist approach to teaching and learning drawn from the work of Jerome Bruner (1956). In this instructional model students apply their prior understanding to determine the attributes of a concept through the processes of comparing and contrasting.

  • Concept Sketches
    Drive Home Understanding

    Science and social studies textbook diagrams are well-designed text features for learning, but often do not fulfill the task of communicating the information effectively to students for several reasons. Too often, students do not give appropriate time or attention to diagrams and charts as they skim through textbooks, or they undervalue the importance of the figures or the data represented by them.

  • Concept/Word Sorts
    Build Efforts to Learn

    A concept/word sort is a strategy used to introduce students to the vocabulary of a new topic or book. When used before reading, concept/word sorts provide an opportunity for a teacher to discover what his or her students already know about the given content.

  • Consensus 1-3-6
    Build Efforts to Learn

    This strategy helps students develop understanding within a group and collectively reach a consensus. Students learn about making individual choices and then about collaborating to take action and support other members of the community as a whole.

  • Consequence and Sequel
    Teach Effectively

    Consequence and Sequel serves primarily as a reminder to thinkers that all choices have consequences. The starkness of this reality emphasizes the need for making responsible and appropriate choices.

  • Consider All Factors
    Teach Effectively

    Most people react to a situation based on their immediate awareness of the causes they associated with the matter. However, given time to ponder other aspects of that same situation, other considerations can be identified and included in their causal evaluation of the incident.

  • Cool Timer
    Work Smart

    With this freeware you can time anything! Let your kids know when their computer time is over, remind yourself know when it's time to take a break, when the cake is done, when it is time to wake-up, etc.. The program has several cool alarm sounds and visualization feature.

  • Create a Classroom Culture of High Expectations
    Work Smart

    With rigorous content standards in academic and career/technical classrooms, each teacher must establish and maintain a learning environment that supports and motivates students to do their best. This online publication explores the complexity of classroom management and how it is much more than a mere set of rules and consequences.

  • Creating Classroom Routines and Procedures
    Work Smart

    Visit sixteen classrooms to discover how teachers have successfully established routines to manage important times of the school day. Each classroom slideshow takes you on a visual tour and describes how to establish similar procedures in your classroom..

  • Design Classroom Management to Enhance Learning
    Work Smart, Build Efforts to Learn

    This video features a teacher voiceover in a classroom that models student engagement. Featured on 6th grade classroom teacher, Malinda Paige, shares keys to student engagement for an optimum learning environment.

  • Discussion Cubes
    Build Efforts to Learn

    Discussion Cubes generate classroom discussions based on Bloom’s Thinking Levels. Students consider topic in terms of questions posed on different sides of the cube.

  • Educator's Guide to Preventing and Solving Discipline Problems
    Work Smart, Maintain a Safe Learning Environment

    By communicating expectations with clarity, your students become more adept at following rules and respecting these guidelines. Setting and communicating clearly established parameters for acceptable student behavior is an important component of a discipline plan.

  • Exaggeration
    Teach Effectively

    Alex Osborn’s rules for brainstorming include the use of a checklist to record ideas and transform them into new ideas through operations he called magnify and minify. These two forms of exaggeration extend thinking and transform concepts into a new level of awareness.

  • Fact-Finding Mission
    Teach Effectively

    Samuel Johnson, the famous English author, is reported to have said, "Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it." A Fact Finding Mission is a high-interest, challenging, and student-centered method that guides learners to search the Internet for key information about a single topic guided by a carefully crafted set of questions.

  • Find the Fib
    Build Efforts to Learn

    This simple, but highly engaging activity ultimately challenges students to think about the myriad, but disparate ideas associated with a single topic by sprinkling together true and false statements and challenging them to distinguish between the two. Find the Fib is a generic teaching tool that can be used for a variety of purposes.

  • First Important Priorities
    Build Efforts to Learn

      First Important Priorities is a problem solving activity that guides students to see connections among researched facts, independent thinking, and pertinent action. By practicing the strategy, students learn to examine their own ideas, discuss and challenge other’s ideas, question how final decisions are made, and see how the process of decision-making impacts outcomes.

  • Fishbone Diagram
    Teach Effectively

    Kaoru Ishikawa, an original founder of the total quality management movement, designed this tool for the business community. A fishbone diagram, like many problem-solving tools, is a process heuristic.

  • Fishbowl
    Build Efforts to Learn

    A fishbowl helps students practice being contributors and listeners in a discussion. Students ask questions, present opinions, and share information when they sit in the fishbowl circle, while students on the outside of the circle listen carefully to the ideas presented and carefully observe the process.

  • Flash Timer/Countdown Timer
    Work Smart, Build Efforts to Learn

    Online Flash Timer and Count Timer make for quick, easy access. Keep time parameters in check, allocate student work time, and make sure your pacing for beginning and ending instruction is on target.

  • Following Directions: A Skill Worth Learning
    Work Smart

    Do you give your students directions but get surprised (or disappointed) when they don't follow them? Following directions is a necessary characteristic of classrooms that make efficient use of instructional time. .

  • Forced Association
    Drive Home Understanding

    This strategy is useful in two major areas of thinking: developing creativity and brainstorming to generate ideas and awareness of relationships. Words and images are forced into an association to develop new perspectives around the original topic.

  • Four Corners Inquiry
    Build Efforts to Learn

    Forming an opinion doesn’t take long, but thoughtfully examining the factors that influence these opinions does. Using logic is the key to making an informed decision about event or ideas that impact life.

  • Graffiti Walls
    Build Efforts to Learn

    The Graffiti Wall is a cooperative strategy for reviewing, checking for understanding, discussing and responding, and increasing memory. It works well as an anticipatory set, a closure activity or as an energizer during any lesson where the generation of ideas or the recall of facts is essential for student understanding.

  • Guided Imagery
    Build Efforts to Learn

    Guided imagery is a powerful method for stimulating thought and accessing knowledge in which information is processed through the visual imagination. It is often used to anticipate a new learning experience by asking students to picture the sensory elements of an event, place, material, process, etc.

  • Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers
    Build Efforts to Learn

    Have things ready to go at a moments notice! Download interactive online graphic organizers for your students to brainstorm, organize, and visualize ideas. .

  • Impact Factor 1: Learning Time
    Work Smart

    Learn how developing proficiency with a skill or developing a defined level of conceptual understanding takes time. As students grow in proficiency or understanding, they gradually go through a number of overlapping stages.

  • Inquiry Challenge
    Teach Effectively

    Sir Isaac Newton in describing how he practiced science said, “I keep the subject of my inquiry constantly before me, and wait till the first dawning opens gradually, by little and little, into a full and clear light.” An Inquiry Challenge is a “first dawning” type of lesson during which students explore a limited number of websites to discover the answer to a narrow and intriguing curriculum question..

  • Inside-Outside Circle
    Build Efforts to Learn

    The Inside-Outside Circle (Kagan, 1994) is a technique in which students move around and interact with each other. It can be used as a cooperative strategy and a summarizing strategy.

  • Interview Design
    Drive Home Understanding

    The Interview Design is a student-centered method for gathering and sharing large amounts of class data in a way that is similar to how a written survey gathers information. An Interview Design prompts groups of students to ask and answer questions and then to analyze their collective findings.

  • It Says...I Say...And So
    Build Efforts to Learn

    It Says...I Say...And So is a reading strategy that requires students to consider questions linked to text material, find information that relates to a question, interpret the text using inferential skills, and combine information from the text and their own thinking to derive an answer. The strategy help students understand that in order to create meaning they should combine their own ideas and thoughts with evidence and details found within a reading selection.

  • Jigsaw
    Teach Effectively

    The Jigsaw strategy is a cooperative learning technique in which each student's part is essential for the completion and full understanding of the final product. If each student's part is essential, then every student is essential, and that is what makes this strategy so effective.

  • Jumbled Summary
    Build Efforts to Learn

    Jumbled Summary guides students to think about information that has been presented over a brief or extended period of time. In order to show that they know more than just the words that make up their vocabulary or key words in their reading, they write a summary of the ideas represented by those words.

  • Knowledge Rating Guide
    Build Efforts to Learn

    Knowledge Rating is a simple literacy strategy that can easily be incorporated into instruction in any content area. It can be deployed as a pre/during/and post-reading activity in which students analyze their understanding of vocabulary words or concepts from a body of text or unit of study.

  • Learning Circus
    Drive Home Understanding

    Imagine a three-ring circus operating at full gear. Your mind's eye probably brings forth an image of a setting where there is a hubbub of activity with many different and exciting things, all happening simultaneously.

  • Learning Cycle
    Drive Home Understanding

    A Learning Cycle lesson can be used for any content area in which the goal is to create a motivational learning context in which students are actively engaged in exploring, discussing, and synthesizing information. The Learning Cycle approach to instructional planning capitalizes on what is known about how people learn and is designed to cause lasting changes in a student’s conceptual understanding.

  • List, Group, Label
    Teach Effectively

    List-Group-Label (Taba, 1967) is a brainstorming activity that is most often employed as a way for students to activate and build background knowledge prior to beginning a unit of study. It can also serve as an effective tool for reviewing words, concepts, and ideas after completing a unit of study.

  • Managing Instructional and Learning Time
    Work Smart

    This pullout published on the ASCD website features tips and strategies for effective time management. These skills help to build success in school, everyday life, and world of work.

  • Managing Transitions Video - Teacher Channel
    Work Smart

    Maximize instruction by adding content into your transitions. This 4 min 56 sec video focuses on using every minute of the day for instruction including transition time.

  • Multitasking Classrooms
    Work Smart

    This article introduces exemplary multitasking instructional frame methods that prepare you and your students for simultaneous activities to occur during the same time period. Multitasking classrooms release teachers to teach and students to participate in a variety of high-quality activities.

  • National Center on Time & Learning - Resource Tools
    Work Smart

    Learn ways to essential learning time in your school and classroom at http://www.timeandlearning.org/. NCTL has documented the practices of high-performing, high-poverty schools that have expanded time to: Raise achievement - allow teachers to cover more material and examine topics in greater depth, build-in more project-based and hands-on learning, individualize and differentiate instruction, and answer students’ questions, and focus on small-group instruction to address and overcome student learning deficits.

  • Numbered Heads
    Teach Effectively

    Research clearly demonstrates that low-achieving students are less likely to be called on by the teacher than high-achieving students. When low-achievers are called upon, they are likely to be asked the easier questions requiring little more than recall of information.

  • Online Certificate Maker
    Maintain a Safe Learning Environment, Build Efforts to Learn

    Acknowledge student successes quickly using this tool. SEN Teacher is a teacher friendly, simple, and efficient way to promote positive behavior and good work ethic.

  • Online Stopwatches
    Work Smart

    Every teacher needs a stop watch to allocate and monitor student working time, pace lessons, manage groups, and keep track of time of the beginning and end of a class period. This website offers a multitude of free online digital timers and stopwatches.

  • Other People's Views
    Build Efforts to Learn

    Instead of one person reporting his or her thinking as though it represents the opinions of a large group, Other People’s Views focuses attention on gathering opinions and ideas from all individuals. Once those ideas are gathered, they are considered in an open-minded comparative analysis.

  • Pacing: The Rhythm of the Classroom
    Work Smart

    This PowerPoint presentation with leader notes were developed by the Davis School District, Farmington, UT Curriculum and Instruction Department for school leaders to use for professional development. Each slide offers ideas to improve pacing, vary the format of activities, and hold student attention.

  • Pass the Buck
    Build Efforts to Learn

    Students sitting in a circle, build on earlier comments to construct the group’s understanding of a particular topic or concept. Pass the Buck is a whole class discussion structure which requires that students listen carefully to others and synthesize and summarize the information offered by the group.

  • PBIS - Positive Behavior Supports and Interventions
    Maintain a Safe Learning Environment

    PBIS World is a website containing links to hundreds of interventions, supports, resources, and data collection tools, all of which are organized into the tier 1 through 3 framework. It is designed to help guide users through the PBIS implementation process, starting with behavior identification and offering suggestions for interventions and data collection tools.

  • Predict Observe Explain (POE)
    Teach Effectively

    Most examples of how Predict, Observe, Explain (POE) activities can be used to heighten student interest and understanding come from science and involve classroom demonstrations given by the teacher. However, the pattern of predicting, observing, and explaining incorporates the fundamental processes associated with all discovery learning.

  • Probable Passage
    Teach Effectively

    Probable Passages (Wood, 1988) is a pre-reading technique that integrates prediction, summarization, vocabulary instruction, and story frames. Using this strategy as a pre-reading activity not only introduces readers to vocabulary they will encounter, but it also provides a powerful incentive to read and discover that the story follows the outline that has been suggested.

  • ProTeacher: The Classroom Management Board
    Maintain a Safe Learning Environment

    If you are looking for practical classroom management tips and techniques, then look no further. The ProTeacher Community offers a wide range of classroom management tips in addition to content specific teacher generated and posted lesson plans and activities.

  • PSI: Problem-Stimulus-Idea
    Teach Effectively

    PSI is a problem solving strategy that directs the student in a logical, effective direction to practice clear thinking. It provides a commonsense structure that helps to eliminate blocks in thinking..

  • Question Answer Relationships (QAR)
    Teach Effectively

    Question Answer Relationships (QAR) is based on research done by Taffy Raphael who found that when students understand how questions are created, they do a better job when answering and asking questions. Raphael created Question-Answer Relationships as a way to help students realize that the answers they seek are related to the type of question that is asked; it encourages them to be strategic about their search for answers based on an awareness of what different types of questions look for.

  • Quick Filler Activities
    Work Smart

    These ideas originally appeared in Instructor magazine or Scholastic's Best Mini Activity message board. It addresse the frquent need for an infusion of quick activities for those times when lessons finish early, schedules get disrupted, or the dismissal bell ten minutes removed.

  • RAFT: Role, Audience, Format, Topic
    Teach Effectively

    The RAFT strategy employs writing-to-learn activities to enhance understanding of informational text. Rather than write a traditional essay to explain a concept, students demonstrate their understanding in a nontraditional format.

  • Random Name Generator
    Maintain a Safe Learning Environment

    Are you consistent in calling for student responses? Let technology ensure that you are randomly selecting students. Try this free online tool - Random Name Generator.

  • Reciprocal Teaching
    Build Efforts to Learn

    Reciprocal teaching places a student in the role of teacher within a small group. Teachers model the strategy to show students how to guide group discussions based on four strategies: summarization, generating questions, clarification, and prediction.

  • Roles of the Teacher: Communicating
    Work Smart

    Efficient and effective student learning depends largely upon the strong and positive management of classroom communication in all of its forms and contexts. The roles of planning, organizing, controlling and motivating depend upon the management of effective communication - the heart of classroom success..

  • Roundhouse Diagram
    Drive Home Understanding

    The Roundhouse diagramming strategy provides a rich learning environment because the learner obtains the main ideas from the subject content and creatively connects a picture to aid in triggering the memory of that concept. This cause and effect relationship between the icon and the concept is a powerful tool for transforming an abstract idea into a concrete visual graphic enhancing the long-term memory process.

  • Save the Last Word for Me
    Teach Effectively

    Save the Last Word for Me (Short, Harste, & Burke, 1995) provides a framework for student review of materials by first gathering ideas from all group members and then having the person who chose the passage present their interpretation of the material. Since the discussion takes place in a small group, students who typically do not participate in large discussions are more comfortable joining in the review..

  • Say Something
    Teach Effectively

    Say Something is a paired reading strategy developed by Jerome Harste that highlights the social nature of language and demonstrates that understanding develops and evolves from our interactions with others. Participants are able to see that partnership enhances meaning, and that as constraints normally operating in reading are altered, so are involvement and the kind of thinking that becomes possible.

  • SCAMPER
    Teach Effectively

    Helping students to become creative and critical thinkers is one of the principal goals of any teacher or school. Creative problem solving involves “a system, a method, a plan for dealing with perplexing situations” (Erberle, 1984).

  • Seeing the Reason
    Teach Effectively

    In Seeing the Reason students develop visual maps of the elements and cause/effect relationships in an investigation to make their ideas visible. Students actively collect information (finding the causes), develop a visual representation of how these causes interact, and revisit how they organized this data to determine if what they found was actually involved in the process that produced the identified effect..

  • Sentence Strips
    Build Efforts to Learn

    Sentence Strips is a strategy designed to assist students with paragraph unity and the inclusion of examples with specific details. The use of color and the manipulation of separate strips of paper are compatible with brain research..

  • Sequence Chains
    Build Efforts to Learn

    Sequence Chains help students comprehend text by identifying key elements before, during, and after reading. They note key characters, setting, and events.

  • Show Me the Evidence
    Teach Effectively

    Opinions are plentiful, but those that can be expressed with logical support are less common. In the Showing Evidence Strategy, students develop and communicate arguments that reflect critical thinking and clear reasoning based on solid supporting evidence.

  • Silent or Discovery Demo
    Drive Home Understanding

    Picture a teacher standing at the front of a classroom, perhaps at some sort of table or bench, surrounded by a mound of materials, objects, or equipment. A group of well-behaved, fully attentive students listens in silence as the teacher gives a running commentary (in precise, deliberate, and carefully sequenced language) to describe events that are transpiring during the presentation.

  • Silver Screen
    Build Efforts to Learn

    One of the most endearing characters in the Funky Winkerbean comic strip was “Bull”, Westview High’s football coach and social studies teachers whose primary instructional strategy is showing films. The joke here is the suggested contradiction between the practice of showing films and “real” teaching.

  • Six Thinking Hats
    Drive Home Understanding

    Developed by Edward de Bono, Six Thinking Hats© is a simple and practical process used to help groups reach an understanding of a concept or task by focusing on key ideas and thinking at high level. This process divides into six functions and roles.

  • SLANT
    Build Efforts to Learn

    SLANT is an acronym for a classroom strategy that offers a simple way for students to recall information. To successfully use the SLANT strategy, students must apply appropriate listening skills to understand what people are saying, increase attention span, and reduce the number of questions after listening to a speaker.

  • Socratic Seminar
    Drive Home Understanding

    As its name implies, this teaching strategy dates back to Socrates. Its essential characteristic is discussion that is driven by questions.

  • Stick Pick App
    Maintain a Safe Learning Environment

    Stick Pick suggests question starters for learners at different levels and also records how well students respond during classroom discussions. Simply pick a student at random by giving your mobile device a shake or tapping the screen.

  • Structured Controversy
    Drive Home Understanding

    Controversies exist whenever there is a mismatch among attitudes, available information, theories, or beliefs that are strongly held by different groups or individuals. Issues that are surrounded by controversy are lightning rods that can spark student interest and provide rich learning opportunities.

  • Suggestion Circles
    Build Efforts to Learn

    Suggestion Circles is a high-quality, problem-solving alternative for quick and efficient sharing of information and ideas. Since the number of ideas to guide someone to a solution is large, Suggestion Circles provides a multitude of options to consider that might otherwise have overlooked.

  • Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review (SQ3R)
    Build Efforts to Learn

    SQ3R is a versatile study strategy that engages students during each phase of the reading process. Students preview the text material to develop predictions and to set a purpose for reading by generating questions about the topic; they read actively, searching for answers to those questions; they monitor their comprehension as they summarize; and they evaluate their comprehension through review activities..

  • Synectics
    Build Efforts to Learn

    In 1961, William Gordon developed a model to stimulate creativity through the use of analogies or metaphors. Gordon’s premise was that creative people routinely use analogical thinking to support novel ways of looking at issues or problems.

  • The Great Behavior Game
    Maintain a Safe Learning Environment

    Enjoy a productive classroom with this fun and easy-to-implement program for K-5 students. Whether you have a class of 6 or 26, the innovative game board is designed to put you in control.

  • The Hat
    Work Smart

    As Robert Coveyou of Oak Ridge National Lab quipped, "the generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance." The Hat is a tool that enables teachers to draw names from a digital hat to randomly select names or pairs. Names can be imported either manually or by importing a text file.The program randomly re-orders the entire list automatically and has cool animations and optional sound effects..

  • TheDifferentiator
    Work Smart

    Be prepared ahead of time and have extensions or fillers ready to go. The Differentiator is truly a way to work smart.

  • Thieves: Stealing Information from Informational Text
    Teach Effectively

    Students use previewing skills in their everyday lives to decide what foods to eat, clothes to buy, and movies to watch. Using a strategy called THIEVES, which is an acronym for Title, Headings, Introduction, Every first sentence in a paragraph, Visuals and vocabulary, End-of-chapter questions, and Summary, enhances comprehension and retention of the information and ideas encountered during reading or viewing media.

  • Think Ink Pair Share
    Build Efforts to Learn

    Think-Ink-Pair-Share is similar to the cooperative learning strategy, Think-Pair-Share, but it includes the added dimension of writing to support the process of thinking. Students maintain a record of how they arrived at their understanding of the topic.

  • Think Like a Genius
    Drive Home Understanding

    This approach builds upon strategies that promote productive thinking to arrive at solutions to problems. These strategies are common to the thinking styles employed by all creative geniuses.

  • Thinkers' Keys
    Drive Home Understanding

    Although Tony Ryan introduced Thinkers’ Keys in the 1980s, they are still effective approaches for explicitly unpacking creative and critical thinking strategies in the classroom. With a focus on creative thinking, the Thinkers Keys create a balance between intellectually challenging ideas and the fun of creating new ways to consider information..

  • Topic Splash
    Build Efforts to Learn

    A Topic Splash lesson provides a comprehensive foreshadowing of the information to which students will formally be introduced. As such, a Topic Splash is especially appropriate for an Exploration activity in that it helps students to build bridges between their prior knowledge (as expressed in their affective responses to questions) and new information that will be forthcoming.

  • Trade-Off Analysis
    Teach Effectively

    Before an effective decision can be made, multiple points of view must be considered, analyzed, and resolved. Trade-Off Analysis is used dring decision making to determine the possible effects of lessening one or more important factors while at the same time increasing one or more other important aspect of the issue or problem.

  • Tricks of the Trade: Classroom Management Tips for Teachers (Video Playlist)
    Maintain a Safe Learning Environment

    Having trouble managing your classroom? Here are some of our favorite "Tricks of the Trade. " Kindergarten teacher Felipe Lara uses sign language to answer individual questions while maintaining focus on the class lesson.

  • Using Visual Cues to Communicate
    Work Smart, Maintain a Safe Learning Environment

    This article explains how visual cues can help educators communicate with students of any age. Signs serve as cues for group transitioning, classroom management, and encourage an environment conducive to learning.

  • Virtual Fieldtrip
    Teach Effectively

    Teachers can gather Internet resources to create an interesting pre or post "visit" to an actual field trip destination or use the Virtual Fieldtrip (VFT) as an online experience that substitutes for a real field trip when conditions preclude an in-person excursion. A VFT could also be assigned as a student project or even used as a summative performance assessment..

  • Visual Ranking
    Build Efforts to Learn

    The Visual Ranking Tool supports the thinking that is associated with creating and sorting lists. Lists are common data and time management tools.

  • VOC Strategy: Word Visualization
    Teach Effectively

    In the VOC Strategy students first identify key words in a reading selection and define them (or deduce their definitions) from their context within the larger document. Students then visualize or imagine the scene described in the reading through the use of vivid sensory terms.

  • Wait Time
    Teach Effectively

    Wait time refers to practice of pausing between asking a question and acknowledging a response. Skilled practitioners of wait time give students the chance to absorb a question, think about it, and create an appropriate response.

  • Who Has? I Have!
    Teach Effectively

    One quick way to include daily practice and motivate students to master basic facts is through the use of the Who Has…I Have activity cards. These cards can be created for virtually any topic.

  • Whole Brain Teaching
    Maintain a Safe Learning Environment

    Learn how to get your classes’ attention by simply saying ‘Class!’ There's a little more to it than that, but it's really very easy. There are eight easy first steps along with video tutorials that will have you teaching your students routines that will make misbehavior a thing of the past.

  • Why The Word
    Maintain a Safe Learning Environment

    Classroom Management uses two principles: Strictly following a classroom management plan. This allows teachers to hold students accountable without yelling, scolding, lecturing, or using any other stressful or hurtful method.

  • Wordles
    Teach Effectively

    Jonathan Feinberg, the creative genius behind the Wordle idea refers to Wordle as “a toy for generating “word clouds.” Literally thousands of examples can be found at Fineberg’s website. And since a picture is worth far more than a drawn out explanation, you should visit his Wordle gallery to discover the many innovative ways that educators are using this free software in their classrooms..