Model Classrooms Project
Teachers in grades K-12 in District 424 are continuing to receive training in the Model Classrooms Project during this school year. The program focuses on six instructional strategies that will assist teachers in increasing levels of student success.
The first strategy deals with Content and opening lessons with a 3-part objective to help students understand the big picture of the lesson. The teacher focuses on the cognitive/learning verb, a description of the content and the product of the learning.
Thinking Skills make up the second strategy. Teachers work on using effective questioning strategies to help students become proficient at processing information. During lessons, the teacher strives to use ‘higher order’ thinking questions that involve students in comparing and contrasting, interpreting, making conclusions, summarizing and imagining. The teacher also ensures that students are called on randomly and equally while providing ample wait time, providing clues to the student and restating the question.
The third strategy deals with Products. During each lesson, the teacher has students produce content-based products. The products may be visual, written, oral or kinesthetic. The teacher strives to vary products and meet the different learning styles of each individual child.
Assessment is the fourth strategy that is introduced. This involves using written criteria to help students develop their skills in critiquing their work prior to handing it in. The teacher posts or distributes checklists or rubrics to let children know what is expected in the assessment.
The fifth strategy is Facilitation that involves using a variety of management strategies to keep students actively engaged in meaningful work. The teacher balances the amount of time spent in direct instruction with student application time. It is also important as a part of this strategy to provide time for students to work in collaborative groups, whole group and individually.
Reflection is the last strategy of the model. Reflection involves the closing of the lesson in ways that ‘seal in’ the learning. Teachers may review the opening objective, ask open-ended questions of the students, request that each student summarize the lesson with another student or ask a few students to summarize for the class.