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Focusing on High-Level Instructional Strategies 


Purposeful Instruction

As educators, when we refer to the purpose of a lesson or classroom activities, we consider the "why" of what we are doing with our students. A purpose statement can assist students in becoming more engaged in learning experiences by connecting what they are doing to why they are doing it.

Formative Assessment

A second major focus area has been Formative Assessment. As facilitators of learning, educators need to understand the needs and strengths of their students as they progress towards mastery of the established learning targets.

Student Engagement

The District's most recent focus for professional development is on Student Engagement. Charlotte Danielson defines student engagement as "the heart of the framework for teaching, reflected in the nature of what we ask the students to do. If we always just tell them things or give them procedures for X and Y, they will not be engaged. If we invite them to think and solve problems, and enable them to consolidate their understanding, they are likely to be engaged. This is not to say that there is never a place for lecture, but it must be presented in a manner that engages students intellectually."

Charlotte Danielson's framework for professional practice (2011) includes the four critical domains, Planning and Preparation, Classroom Environment, Instructional Delivery and Professional Responsibilities, with each divided into smaller components and elements for the purpose of providing greater detail on their meaning. The framework’s third domain, “Instructional Delivery,” and the domain’s third component, “Engaging Students in Learning” emphasizes the following in proficient teaching:
  • The learning tasks and activities are aligned with the instructional outcomes and designed to challenge student thinking.
  • The pacing of the lesson is appropriate, providing most students the time needed to be intellectually engaged. 
  • There is a mix of different types of groupings, suitable to the lesson objectives. 
  • Materials and resources support the learning goals and require intellectual engagement, as appropriate. 
  • The pacing of the lesson provides students the time needed to be intellectually engaged. 
To learn more about these strategies, please click on the links at right.