Educators educating Educators

Sep 26

Instructional Principles

“A former student I hadn’t seen in 15 years came to visit and share how important I was to him during his family’s struggles with his parents’ divorce. He said I was there for him as a constant source of encouragement and support, which ultimately guided his decision to become an elementary school teacher. We need to remember that teachers don’t teach only the academic subjects, we teach the whole child. We help create the worker, the parent, the citizen of the future. This is an incredible profession. That is our success.”

Felicia Arnold, Vernon, New Jersey

NEA Today, March/April 2009

Teaching Matters

Five Instructional Principles


Pattan Summer Leadership Conference

Bedford, Pa

July 25, 2008

~ Metacognition

Show students what it is you are thinking, providing student an example of how they should think about their thinking

Example: Think aloud, Think-pair-share, Wait time, Show them how you solve a problem


~ Explicit Instruction

The direct instruction model

I do, we do, you do.  Guided practice.  Student centered instruction.

I do.  The teacher directed piece.  Teacher provides a model, support, and structure.

We do.  Guided practice, error reduction.

You do.  Independent practice.  Student shows what they learned and have practiced.  Assure student mastery.


~ Scaffolding

Supports provided student as they develop the skills necessary to become independent and self-regulated learners.  Scaffolding is an instructional principle to help students master the material piece by piece.  Build confidence, Progress monitoring, Scaffolding removal

Examples:  Guided notes, Teacher prompting, Chunking, Building on prior knowledge, Controlled practice-do a little bit more, Teacher prompting, Teaming, Graphic organizers, Supports are differentiated by student needs.


~ Teacher Modeling

Provide student with a clear expectation of results and define expectations.  Teacher provides examples of learning, concrete examples, leading by example, imitation.


~ Engagement

Examples: Power teaching, Choral responding, Team mastery, Team huddle, Think-pair-share, Partnering, random reporting, Small group, positive reinforcement



Welcome back to another school year. I hope your summer was relaxing and invigorating and you are looking forward to the approaching school year and the opportunity to stimulate and challenge your students’ minds.

This summer I was able to study Sir Ken Robinson, a British author, speaker and international advisor on education to governments, non-profits, and education organizations

I, like many people, find his writings and Ted Talks not only witty and inspiring but also thought-provoking and challenging. Much of his work deals with the diversity of intelligence, the power of imagination and creativity, and the importance of commitment to our own capabilities. He posits that the noticeable lack of them in our schools negatively affect students’ learning and teachers’ productivity and the absence of them is triggered by the demands of standardized testing.

I hope you find Sir Ken Robinson’s words inspiriting and challenging as I do and be mindful of them as you plan for the new year. Here is to a great 2017-2018 school year!