Effective Teaching Strategies
Effective teaching strategies are the backbone of great lesson creation. Teachers continually search for effective and efficient ways to engage their students. I have witnessed teachers that are using effective teaching strategies, but the workflow of incorporating them from start to finish is a daunting task. Being an instructional technology coach, I advise teacher’s to leverage technology to help with the workflow issues. Unfortunately, many instructors are using tech tools just for the sake of using the tech tool. So how can we put it all together?
We need to start with the instructional strategies when we are designing our lessons. We need to ask ourselves what are we trying to have our students accomplish when they are engaging in the assignments and activities presented to them. When we present new content to our students, what are the next steps in our lesson design? Are students recording and representing new content? Do we give them an opportunity to process the new content? Are we allowing time for collaboration with the new content? Will students be able to apply this new found knowledge to new situations?
I would think that most teachers would answer yes to the questions above. If we are answering yes, we now need to search for the effective teaching strategies that provides that specific opportunity for our students. Once we have selected the appropriate strategy, then we should start to think about how technology can make the strategy be more engaging, effective, and efficient.
If you have not read the book The New Art & Science of Teaching by Robert Marzano, you should consider it. It is a great resource of researched based effective teaching strategies. I love how Marzano organizes teacher actions and students mental states and processes into three categories. He then breaks these categories into 10 design areas that provide a pathway for lesson or unit planning. Embedded within these 10 design areas are 43 categories of instructional strategies.
I do not want to summarize the entire book for this blog post, but I do want to address the 3 main categories Marzano focuses on. Category #1 is “feedback” which is referring to the information exchange between teacher and student. The 2nd category is “content” that refers to the progression of the lesson. Category #3 is “context” which is in reference to the student’s needs like engagement, belonging, and expectations. Each category is equally important in the learning process, but for this post I am going to focus on the “content” category.
Record to Slides Chrome Extension
The next part of this post is going to focus on the lesson or unit design and how we can use technology to enhance the educational and workflow experience. There are so many tech tools at are disposal and attempting to choose the right one can be a daunting task. I am going to focus on various effective teaching strategies using Google Slides and a Chrome extension called “Record To Slides” The Record to Slides extension gives you and your students the ability to embed a video directly into a Google Slide. When you have added the extension, a little blue camera button will appear in the upper right-hand side of the slide.
You simply click on the blue camera and a small recording screen will appear. Check out the image below for a quick overview/options on this screen.
It may take a few minutes for your video to process and be saved to your Google Drive. When this process is completed, a small video window will appear on the Google Slide. You can click on the video and drag and drop it wherever you want on the slide.
I have created some templates in Google Slides that will give student’s the opportunity to engage in an effective an instructional strategy. All of the examples below will use the Record to Slides Chrome extension to showcase the objective of the instructional strategy.
Instructional Strategy #1: Recording & Representing New Content
There are many ways students can record and represent new content. Sketchnoting, informal outlines, graphic organizers, and journals are a few of the popular options that teachers may give to students. Below is a template I created for students to engage in this instructional strategy by creating video or audio notes. There is a space in the upper right-hand corner of the template where teachers can create an instructional video with Record to Slides and drag and drop it into that area. Teachers could also use a video they created using Screencastify or a YouTube instructional video and insert it into the template.
Link to create a copy of the template below: https://bit.ly/2X5p6kR
Instructional Strategy #2: Processing New Content
Students need to have the opportunity to be engaged in activities that help process the new content that has been presented to them. One way students can do this is by completing a “Perspective Analysis”. This strategy will allow students to analyze and interpret different perspectives on a question, idea, or way to solve a problem. Below is a template I created to engage students in this instructional strategy by creating a video or audio answer. Teachers can change the questions and instructions if they wish when they create a copy of the template.
Link to create a copy of the template below: https://bit.ly/3o5qCzk
Instructional Strategy #3: Processing New Content With Engaging In a Complex Task
Another way we can have students process new content is for them to engage in answering questions about the content. We do not want the questions to be “typical worksheet” type questions in which the students can easily Google or copy the answer from a source. We should be asking questions where they have to predict, evaluate, judge, and apply prior knowledge. Below is a template I created to engage students in this instructional strategy by creating a video or audio answer to the questions. Teachers can change the questions and instructions if they wish when they create a copy of the template.
Link to create a copy of the template below: https://bit.ly/2LdDO6H
Instructional Strategy #4: Retrieval Practice
Retrieval practice is a great instructional strategy in which we allow students to recall and apply examples of previously learned content before they forget it. There should be a short delay after new content has been presented before we do this strategy. Once students have started to forget, they have to work harder to remember and this is where powerful learning begins to creep in. Below is a template I created to engage students in a retrieval practice strategy called a “Brain Dump”. They will create a video or audio answer to whatever you want to them to retrieve. There is also an option for teachers to leave video or audio feedback on the template. Teachers can change the questions and instructions if they wish when they create a copy of the template.
Link to create a copy of the template below: https://bit.ly/2W6N0Mm
Instructional Strategy #5: Reflecting On Learning
It is important for students to reflect on their learning as it helps them understand the learning process. Journaling and exit tickets have been a staple for this strategy for a long time. When students have the opportunity to reflect on important aspects like how they can improve their learning, what they are confused about, or the level of effort they put forth in learning and engaging with the new content. Below is a template I created that allows students to reflect on their learning and teachers to provide feedback to them. Student and teachers will create video or audio responses that will provide a meaningful learning experience.
Link to create a copy of the template below: https://bit.ly/3oOTIDn
Having a plan and thinking intentionally about how you design lessons for your students is essential. I am hopeful that this resources can provide you with a fresh perspective for the lesson building process. The template resources I provided can be used in any type of blended learning model or in a hybrid or fully remote situation. Since the templates are rooted in an effective instructional strategies, they can easily be adapted into an offline activity (paper/pencil, collaboration, teacher-led station, etc.) that students could do in a face-to-face school environment.
I would love for you to leave a comment to share ideas you have on how we can leverage effective teaching strategies using Record to Slides or other tech tools.