Educational Strategies Designed to Reach Every Student
Teaching any grade involves reaching out to every student in the class—addressing the needs of each and all. Sometimes it can be difficult to design activities that reach all of your students at the same time and provide each with significant learning opportunities.
Here are five solutions for getting participation and interaction from all the students in your class, with a special focus on purposeful talk and developing communication skills. Many of these teaching strategies can be used in conjunction with lesson plans for any subject area, but are especially appropriate for topics in the language arts.
1. Four Corners
Place a statement or question printed on cardstock on the wall in each corner of the room relating to a topic covered in class. After reading each one as a class, students can find the corner that most interests them or that they most agree with. Here, they have an opportunity to discuss with other students what the statement or question means.
This strategy can also serve as a great hook for student interest.
2. FQR Chart
Construct and anchor chart with ‘Fact’, ‘Question’, and ‘Response’ columns in which students can place their thoughts, written on sticky notes. After reading a sample text, students are invited to respond with facts that they’ve discovered, questions they have, and responses to what they’ve just read. They then place them in the appropriate column when they are finished and the product can be discussed as a class.
After the lesson, the responses can still be used: facts can be organized and categorized; questions can be answered as homework; and responses can be the basis of a journal entry.
3. Think Pair Share
Give students time to reflect on a topic or question related to their lesson, and then invite them to share their thoughts with a partner. This is a perfect opportunity for each student see the perspectives of others, and also allows each student’s thoughts to be heard by someone. This strategy is also a fantastic way for students to develop their meta-cognitive awareness by reflecting on what they are learning.
4. Square Circle Triangle Reflection
Design a hand-out with a large square, circle, and triangle on it and encourage students to reflect on what they have learned by thinking about beliefs that ‘squared’ with them, questions that are still ‘rolling around’ in their minds, and ‘points’ that they want to remember or act upon.
This is a great tool to employ at the end of the day. It helps the student develop a greater awareness of their own learning, and encompasses all ranges of ability.
5. Inside Circle/Outside Circle
This is an exercise to promote active listening skills and purposeful talk, in which the class is divided into two halves; one half makes a circle facing outwards, the other half makes a circle facing the inside circle.
With the person across from them, students take turns discussing a topic or answering a question while the other actively listens. They then reverse roles. When this is complete, the inside circle rotates and discusses with someone new.