Monday, May 13, 2013

How am I using instructional strategies in my classroom and how do they benefit student learning?

As I’m researching different instructional strategies, I was presently surprised to see that I already have a large repertoire of strategies and I use them often.  Some of the strategies that I used this week in my teaching included using graphic organizers to retell a story.  Having a graphic organizer for students at my age level is very beneficial for many reasons.  First, it is repetitive so they understand the directions and expectations. Second, it is a visual to help students map and plan story elements and sequencing.  Third, it builds on prior knowledge and allows students to share meaningful connections and demonstrate learning.  A second instructional strategy that I used was the KWL chart.  I have a love hate relationship with the KWL chart.  I think it is a high quality instructional tool because students can make connections, build on real-life experience and they can share with me where they want to go in their discoveries with the topic.  However, I find KWL very time consuming and overwhelming as they often want to learn about so many things and often times get off topic.  I also admit that I don’t always come back to the “learning” part of the KWL chart once again because of the time involved.  Finally, the third instructional strategy I used was compare and contrast.  To go with our living and nonliving unit I showed the students two objects: our classroom teddy bear and a picture of a real grizzly bear.  Together we brainstormed how the objects were similar and different which helped students think critically and enhance their understanding.  We then used a Venn diagram graphic organizer to document our findings. This strategy allowed my higher students to engage in deeper understanding of the concept and the visual helped all my students put the pieces together about the new concepts of living and nonliving.

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