Instructional Move 2: Stop and Jot

The “Stop and Jot” technique is not new to the veteran teacher but likely neglected because of its simplicity. The technique promotes retention and comprehension of content and costs very little classroom time to implement.

Stop and Jot works like this:

  1. Students either create a rectangle where they are taking notes or are handed a graphic organizer
  2. The teacher strategically stops during the lesson and has their students respond to a question.
  3. Students come together as a group or a whole class to share what they “jotted.”

The notes can be saved for review or as a means for you—the teacher—to formatively assess the success of the lesson.

You can watch teachers describe and reflect on Stop and Jot here.

You can review an elementary Stop and Jot Template (here) with sample questions and a secondary version here.

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Instructional Move 3: You, Y’all, We

This is more food for thought than anything else. We have all become familiar with the approach “I, We, You.” That is, the teacher introduces a new concept and demonstrates how to do it—the I. Next, children work together on the objective using each other as scaffolds and supports—the We. This is followed by students independently practicing what was modeled and the teacher moving around the room to formatively assess who has secured the content and who is still struggling—the You. As Dan Willingham recently noted:

The teacher presents a problem which students try to solve on their own (“You”). Then they meet in small groups to compare and discuss the solutions they’ve devised (Y’all). Finally, the groups share their ideas as a whole class (“We”).

Those who have worked with the close reading exemplars and the Basal Alignment Project might see how “You, Y’all, We” would be a good match to this move.

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Instructional Move 4: Close Reading

Three years ago, as I started my first work around close reading, Google searches revealed almost nothing. There were a couple of videos and some books but none of these were created specifically for a K-12 audience. Now, of course, there is no shortage of books, videos, trainings, webinars, conference workshops, and print materials that describe this instructional approach. Before you blow through your modest budget on any of these items, consider learning about the move through a number of free and well-vetted materials.

David Coleman did not invent close reading but he certainly brought it to a lot of people’s attention when he described it at a PARCC conference three years ago. Watch from minute 4:08 through 8:12 as Coleman contrasts “typical” reading instruction to close reading.

Dr. Stephen Gehrke worked with teachers in Washoe and generously shared his materials (here) to help contextualize what close reading is and a method for doing close reading with students.

Dr. Louisa Moats, contributing author to the Common Core State Standards, explains close reading here.

Tennessee has created a Guide to Close Reading that answers the following questions: What is close reading? Why is close reading important? and How is close reading done?

The Aspen Institute published “Implementing the Common Core State Standards: A Primer on ‘Close Reading of Text’” (here). Coauthored by Sheila Brown and Lee Kappes, the primer defines close reading, provides strategies for its implementation, and connects this instructional approach to the standards.

Those of you who are employing the close reading strategy in your classroom may find this Standford news article interesting (here).  Researches are demonstrating that close reading increases neural activity and “how cognition is shaped not just by what we read, but how we read it.”

You can view the close reading strategy, matched to Martin Luther King’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail”, with students. Part One and Part Two.

You can find close reading exemplars here and here. You can find over 40 social studies/history close reading exemplars by joining an Edmodo group here.

The Aspen Institute posted a close reading exemplar of Russell Freedman’s The Voice that Challenged a Nation here.

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Instructional Move 5: Teaching Conflict & Characterization

Jon Corippo, Apple Distinguised Educator and Google Certified Teacher, describes how he teaches students to identify the five types of conflict within text. Begin watching Corippo’s explanation at minute 9:55 for full context or at minute 12:25 if you simply want to see the strategy (here) and see how Corippo uses an engaging and rigorous method to get students proficient with this outcome.

Further into the video, Corippo describes a process helping students with characterization. Corippo has generously shared the lesson plan and graphic organizer that accompanies the exercise with us. The video is great and the lesson moves teachers from modeling, to guided practice, to independence. The lesson can be downloaded here.

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CCSS Instructional Practice Guide Coaching, Released

The Instructional Practice Guide: Coaching tool is for teachers, and those who support teachers, to build understanding and experience with Common Core State Standards (CCSS)-aligned instruction.

Designed as a developmental tool, the coaching tool can be used for collaboration, coaching, and reflection. It is intended for use in non-evaluative observation to facilitate instructional coaching conversations. The Shifts in instructional practice required by the CCSS provide the framing for the coaching tool. You can access the free resources here.

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Instructional Move 6: Four Corners

If you have taken part in a Core Task Project training, then you know we typically start with the Four Corners activity. The website does a nice job summarizing the move as follows:

A Four Corners Debate requires students to show their position on a specific statement (strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree) by standing in a particular corner of the room. This activity elicits the participation of all students by requiring everyone to take a position. By drawing out students’ opinions on a topic they are about to study, it can be a useful warm-up activity. By asking them to apply what they have learned when framing arguments, it can be an effective follow-through activity. Four Corners can also be used as a pre-writing activity to elicit arguments and evidence prior to essay writing.

7th grade teacher Melanie Thomas explains how she uses Four Corners as a means of formative assessment. At minute 2:40 in the video, you can see Thomas use Four Corners with her students.

Maria Worley explains Four Corners here.

The West Virginia Department of Education outlines the approach here and links to several resources.

You can download a Word document of the approach from the Center for Teaching and Learning here.

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Instructional Move 7: Quiz, Quiz, Trade

Quiz, Quiz, Trade is a learning strategy that that has students working with multiple partners to review key learning outcomes. The move allows for practice with a large problem set and for students to use each other to problem solve and coach.

Expeditionary Learning has posted a 4th grade example here.

High school teacher Brett Addis outlines the approach and narrates an example here.

Stefanie McKoy’s 3rd grade classroom demonstrates the move here.

You can read through the instructional move here

And Here are student directions in a PowerPoint.

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