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Instructional Strategies

Key words: Instructional strategies, General Information, K-12

Submitted by: Brandie Butler and Laurie Hellings

Topic: Instructional Strategies

Task:
A. Learning centers in the classroom.
B. Using newspapers in the classroom.
C. Using instructional games in the classroom.
D. Preparing a recipe in the classroom.

Resources:

Internet Instructional Strategy contributed by Chaumain Strohmeyer and taken from Crafts for Kids. Blue Ridge Summit, PA. Tab Book 1991.

Luetke-Stahlaman, B. & Luckner, J. (1991). Effectively educating students with hearing impairments. New York: Longman.

Press, J. (1994). Little hands art book. Charlotte: Williamson Publishing.

Vacca,J.L., Vacca, R. T., & Gove, M.K. (1995). Reading and learning to read. New York: Harper Collins College Publishers.

Information:

The instructional strategies we chose to focus on are strategies that can be used across all content areas and with many different age groups.

A. The instructional strategy of learning centers allows learning to take place in a more interactive manner. Learning centers are usually set up by content area in a specific part of the classroom. They allow students to take responsibility for their learning and also allow them to work at their own pace. Learning centers cross all content areas and are useful for any age or grade level. A math learning center may consist of different types of manipulatives for students to work with, various brainteasers, and even worksheets. A science learning center may focus on one specific topic such as weather or the seasons. Different kinds of experiments may appear at this center. An English learning center may include a list of books to be read, speed reading strategies, or how to do a specific task, such as how to write a business letter. One important point to remember when developing a learning center is that each center should have clear objectives and also direction that students know and understand. To ensure understanding, a demonstration of the center may be helpful.

B. Newspapers can be a wonderful instructional strategy. Newspapers generate much enthusiasm when used in the classroom. They cover a large, diverse range of topics, and consequently can be used to study almost any subject. They are also relatively inexpensive and are constantly changing. Newspapers are always a new supply of ideas. One special advantage of using newspapers is that they range in reading levels, and therefore can be used with many different ability levels in the classroom. One final advantage to using newspapers as an instructional strategy is that they deal with societal cultural differences, and therefore serve as a bridge to the cultural gaps in classrooms. Using a newspaper can embellish any classroom, adding variety to an otherwise monotonous school day.

C. Games are an excellent instructional strategy. There are many advantages that games can provide in the classroom. They can be used in any content area and provide instant motivation for students. Students do not even realize that they are learning when playing a game because games are fun. However, they still provide skill practice and reinforcement. Games are a change of pace, adding variety to any classroom and any content area. This instructional strategy can be used in a variety of ways. An entire class can play a game together. The class could work in cooperative small groups. The game could be available for use at a learning center. Lastly, a game could be played with the teacher when a student is in need of extra help.

There are many activities that can be used with this strategy. One example is to play Bingo. Bingo can be used in language and reading class to help develop sight word vocabulary. It can be used for Math class to develop number recognition, or as practice for math facts. Bingo can be used in science or health class as well. The caller could read a question, and if students have the answer they can mark it on their card. These are just a few examples of how Bingo can be used in a classroom. There are many other ways as well. A second activity which can be used with this strategy is "I am a Detective". Students are told they are a detective. They are then given some work to complete, such as a list of math problems, some vocabulary words, health concepts, pictures of paintings, physics equations, or social studies questions. Each answer would then coincided with a letter. The letters would all spell out a hidden message. Like the last activity, this can also be used with any content area. Older students will even enjoy this. An alternative to giving the students a set of questions made by the teacher would be to help the students to decide what are the important things to know and let them make their own detective game. Then permit the students to complete each others.

D. Preparing recipes, like games, are wonderful instructional strategies because students often do not even realize that they are engaged in the learning process. When instruction is fun and meaningful, optimal learning occurs. Students are investing themselves in the lesson. Like the other strategies previously mentioned, this strategy also spans across all content area and can be used for all age levels. The following is a list of the content areas and concepts covered when using this strategy.

Content area: health
Concept: nutrition

Content area: math
Concept: measurement, counting, time

Content area: social studies
Concept: culture- by preparing certain foods popular to specific cultures.

Content area: writing
Concept: making a cookbook

Content area: art
Concept: illustrating a cookbook, making different shapes out of dough, sandwiches...

Content area: fine motor
Concept: opening, cutting, mixing, pouring, and closing

Content area: English/language/reading
Concept: builds vocabulary, practices turn taking, encourages prediction, and communication.

Content area: science
Concept: heightens use of senses, shows concept of matter changing.

Insights:

Instructional strategies could be the key to being a successful teacher. Games appear to be purely for the purpose of recreation. However, when they are used in the classroom students are instantaneously motivated to learn, because everyone likes to play games. Our goal as teachers should be to decipher a way to make every learning activity as motivational as a game.

Questions:

What is an instructional activity that can be used successfully with young children who cannot sit still and who's attention is difficult to obtain or maintain?

Bibliography:

Davis, W. E. (1983). The special educator: Strategies for succeeding in today's schools. Austin: Pro Ed.

Dickerson, D.P. (1982). A study of the use of games to reinforce sight vocabulary. The Reading Teacher 35, 46-49.

Parents Nursery School. (1974). Kids are natural cooks. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Uploaded by: Melissa Close/Kent State University/Deaf Education Major