Instruction and
Critical Thinking
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For further conversation about any of these topics:
Rick Wormeli
Herndon, Virginia, USA
(Eastern Standard Time Zone)
Quick Reference: Differentiated Lesson Planning Sequence
A. Steps to take before designing the learning experiences:
1. Identify your essential understandings, questions,
benchmarks, objectives, skills, standards, and/or learner
2. Identify your students with unique needs, and get an early
look at what they will need in order to learn and achieve.
3. Design your formative and summative assessments.
4. Design and deliver your pre-assessments based on the
summative assessments and identified objectives.
5. Adjust assessments or objectives based on your further
thinking discovered while designing the assessments.
Quick Reference: Differentiated Lesson Planning Sequence
B. Steps to take while designing the learning experiences:
1. Design the learning experiences for students based on preassessments, your knowledge of your students, and your
expertise with the curriculum, cognitive theory, and students
at this stage of human development.
2. Run a mental tape of each step in the lesson sequence to
make sure things make sense for your diverse group of
students and that the lesson will run smoothly.
3. Review your plans with a colleague.
4. Obtain/Create materials needed for the lesson.
5. Conduct the lesson.
6. Adjust formative and summative assessments and objectives
as necessary based on observations and data collected while
When Designing your Actual Lessons….
1. Brainstorm multiple strategies
2. Cluster into introductory, advanced, and
strategies that fit between these two
3. Sequence activities in plan book
4. Correlate Class Profile descriptors,
Differentiation Strategies, and cognitive
science principles to lessons – What do you
need to change in order to maximize
instruction for all students?
Quick Reference: Differentiated Lesson Planning Sequence
C. Steps to take after providing the learning
1. Evaluate the lesson’s success with students.
What evidence do you have that the lesson
was successful? What worked and what
didn’t, and why?
2. Record advice on lesson changes for yourself
for when you do this lesson in future years.
To provide meaningful context, let’s
design a differentiated lesson from
[Artist Unknown
Are we successfully differentiating teachers?
1. Are we willing to teach in whatever way is necessary for
students to learn best, even if that approach doesn’t match
our own preferences?
2. Do we have the courage to do what works, not just what’s
3. Do we actively seek to understand our students’ knowledge,
skills, and talents so we can provide an appropriate match for
their learning needs? And once we discover their strengths
and weaknesses, do we actually adapt our instruction to
respond to their needs?
4. Do we continually build a large and diverse repertoire of
instructional strategies so we have more than one way to
5. Do we organize our classrooms for students’ learning or for
our teaching?
Are we successfully differentiating teachers?
6. Do we keep up to date on the latest research about
learning, students’ developmental growth, and our
content specialty areas?
7. Do we ceaselessly self-analyze and reflect on our
lessons — including our assessments — searching
for ways to improve?
8. Are we open to critique?
9. Do we push students to become their own
education advocates and give them the tools to do
10. Do we regularly close the gap between
knowing what to do and really doing it?
What is fair…
…isn’t always equal.
Differentiating instruction is doing what’s fair for
students. It’s a collection of best practices
strategically employed to maximize students’
learning at every turn, including giving them the
tools to handle anything that is undifferentiated. It
requires us to do different things for different
students some, or a lot, of the time. It’s whatever
works to advance the student if the regular
classroom approach doesn’t meet students’ needs.
It’s highly effective teaching.
Carol Dweck (2007) distinguishes between
students with a fixed intelligence mindset who
believe that intelligence is innate and
unchangeable and those with a growth
mindset who believe that their achievement
can improve through effort and
learning…Teaching students a growth mindset
results in increased motivation, better grades,
and higher achievement test results.”
(p.6, Principal’s Research Review, January 2009, NASSP)
To meet diverse
student needs,
we need
expertise in four
areas .
What is Mastery?
“Tim was so learned, that he could name a
horse in nine languages; so ignorant, that he
bought a cow to ride on.”
Ben Franklin, 1750, Poor Richard’s Almanac
Working Definition of Mastery
Students have mastered content when they
demonstrate a thorough understanding as
evidenced by doing something substantive
with the content beyond merely echoing it.
Anyone can repeat information; it’s the
masterful student who can break content into
its component pieces, explain it and alternative
perspectives regarding it cogently to others,
and use it purposefully in new situations.
• The student uses primarily the bounce pass
in the basketball game regardless of its
potential effectiveness because that’s all he
knows how to do.
…and Mastery
• The student uses a variety of basketball
passes during a game, depending on the
most advantageous strategy at that moment
in the game.
What is the standard of excellence
when it comes to tying a shoe?
Now describe the evaluative criteria
for someone who excels beyond the
standard of excellence for tying a
shoe. What can they do?
Consider Gradations of Understanding and Performance from
Introductory to Sophisticated
Introductory Level Understanding:
Student walks through the classroom door while wearing a
heavy coat. Snow is piled on his shoulders, and he exclaims,
“Brrrr!” From depiction, we can infer that it is cold outside.
Sophisticated level of understanding:
Ask students to analyze more abstract inferences about
government propaganda made by Remarque in his
wonderful book, All Quiet on the Western Front.
• Determine the surface area of a cube.
• Determine the surface area of a rectangular prism (a
rectangular box)
• Determine the amount of wrapping paper needed for another
rectangular box, keeping in mind the need to have regular
places of overlapping paper so you can tape down the corners
• Determine the amount of paint needed to paint an entire
Chicago skyscraper, if one can of paint covers 46 square feet,
and without painting the windows, doorways, or external air
Define vocabulary terms.
Compare vocabulary terms.
Use the vocabulary terms correctly.
Use the vocabulary terms strategically to obtain a particular
There’s a big difference: What are we really trying to assess?
• “Explain the second law of thermodynamics” vs.
“Which of the following situations shows the second
law of thermodynamics in action?”
• “What is the function of a kidney?” vs. “Suppose we
gave a frog a diet that no impurities – fresh organic
flies, no pesticides, nothing impure. Would the frog
still need a kidney?”
• “Explain Keynes’s economic theory” vs. “ Explain
today’s downturn in the stock market in light of
Keynes’s economic theory.”
From, Teaching the Large College Class, Frank Heppner, 2007, Wiley and Sons
Feedback vs Assessment
Feedback: Holding up a mirror to the student,
showing him what they did and comparing it to the
criteria for success, there’s no evaluative
component or judgement
Assessment: Gathering data so we can
make a decision
Greatest Impact on Student Success:
Formative feedback
Be clear: We grade against
standards, not routes students take or
techniques teachers use to achieve
those standards.
What does this mean we should do with class
participation or discussion grades?
Assessment OF Learning
• Still very important
• Summative, final declaration of proficiency,
literacy, mastery
• Grades used
• Little impact on learning from feedback
Assessment AS/FOR Learning
• Grades rarely used, if ever
• Marks and feedback are used
• Share learning goals with students from the
• Make adjustments in teaching a result of
formative assessment data
• Provide descriptive feedback to students
• Provide opportunities for student for self-and
peer assessment
-- O’Connor, p. 98,
Teacher Action
Result on Student
Just telling students # correct and Negative influence on
Clarifying the scoring criteria
Increase of 16 percentile points
Providing explanations as to why
their responses are correct or
Increase of 20 percentile points
Asking students to continue
Increase of 20 percentile points
responding to an assessment until
they correctly answer the items
Graphically portraying student
Increase of 26 percentile points
-- Marzano, CAGTW, pgs 5-6
Topic or
Reducing to
Smplst trms
Reducing to
Smplst trms
Really Don’t
Benefits of Students Self Assessing
• Students better understand the standards and
• Students are less dependent on teachers for feedback;
they independently monitor their own progress
• Students develop metacognitive skills and adjust what
they are doing to improve their work
• Students broaden learning when they see how peers
approach tasks
• Students develop communication and social skills when
required to provide feedback to others.
-- from Manitoba’s Communicating Student Learning, 2008
Student Self-Assessment Ideas
• Make the first and last task/prompt/assessment of a unit
the same, and ask students to analyze their responses to
each one, noting where they have grown.
• Likert-scale surveys (“Place an X on the continuum: Strongly
Disagree, Disagree, ‘Not Sure, Agree, Strongly Agree) and
other surveys. Use “smiley” faces, symbols, cartoons, text,
depending on readiness levels.
• Self-checking Rubrics
• Self-checking Checklists
• Analyzing work against standards
• Videotaping performances and analyzing them
• Fill in the blank or responding to self-reflection prompts (see
examples that follow)
• Reading notations
Student Self-Assessment Ideas
• “How Do I Know I Don’t Understand?” Criteria: Can
I draw a picture of this? Can I explain it to someone
else? Can I define the important words and
concepts in the piece? Can I recall anything about
the topic? Can I connect it to something else we’re
studying or I know?
[Inspired by Cris Tovani’s book, I Read It, But I Don’t Get It,
Stenhouse, 2001]
• Asking students to review and critique previous
• Performing in front of a mirror
Student Self-Assessment Ideas: Journal Prompts
I learned that….
I wonder why...
An insight I’ve gained is…
I’ve done the following to make sure I understand what is being taught…
I began to think of...
I liked…
I didn’t like…
The part that frustrated me most was…
The most important aspect/element/thing in this subject is….
A noticed a pattern in….
I know I learned something when I…
I can't understand...
I noticed that...
I was surprised...
Before I did this experience, I thought that….
What if...
I was confused by...
It reminds me of...
This is similar to….
I predict…
I changed my thinking about this topic when…
A better way for me to learn this would be…
A problem I had and how I overcame it was…
I’d like to learn more about…
This quarter, you’ve taught:
4-quadrant graphing
Slope and Y-intercept
Multiplying binomials
3-dimensional solids
Area and Circumference of a circle.
The student’s grade: B
What does this mark tell us about the student’s proficiency with
each of the topics you’ve taught?
Unidimensionality – A single score on a test represents a single dimension or
trait that has been assessed
Total Score
Problem: Most tests use a single score to assess multiple
dimensions and traits. The resulting score is often invalid and
useless. -- Marzano, CAGTW, page 13
Defining D.I. Concept-Attainment Style
Some students [get] more work to do, and others
less. For example, a teacher might assign two
book reports to advanced readers and only one to
struggling readers. Or a struggling math student
might have to do only the computation problems
while advanced math students do the word
problems as well.” (Tomlinson, p. 7)
Teachers have more control in the classroom.
Teacher uses many different group structures
over time.
A science and math teacher, Mr. Blackstone,
teaches a large concept (Inertia) to the whole
class. Based on “exit cards” in which students
summarize what they learned after the whole class
instruction, and observation of students over time,
he assigns students to one of two labs: one more
open-ended and one more structured. Those that
demonstrate mastery of content in a post-lab
assessment, move to an independent project
(rocketry), while those that do not demonstrate
mastery, move to an alternative rocketry project,
guided by the teacher, that re-visits the important
content. (Tomlinson, p. 24)
Teachers can differentiate:
-- Tomlinson, Eidson,
Learning Environment
According to:
Flexible Grouping: Questions to Consider
• Is this the only way to organize students for learning?
• Where in the lesson could I create opportunities for students
to work in small groups?
• Would this part of the lesson be more effective as an
independent activity?
• Why do I have the whole class involved in the same activity at
this point in the lesson?
• Will I be able to meet the needs of all students with this
• I’ve been using a lot of [insert type of grouping here – whole
class, small group, or independent work] lately. Which type of
grouping should I add to the mix?
There’s a range of flexible groupings:
Whole class or half class
Small groups led by students
Partners and triads
Individual study
One-on-one mentoring with an adult
Wiki’s, Nings, PBWiki’s, and on-line communities
Temporary pull-out groups to teach specific mini-lessons
Anchor activities to which students return after working in
small groups
• Learning centers or learning stations through which students
rotate in small groups or individually.
Ebb and Flow of Experiences
Back and forth over time or course of unit
Small Group
Small Group
Whole Group
Basic Principles:
• Assessment informs instruction –
Diagnosis and action taken as a result of
diagnosis are paramount.
• Assessment and instruction are
• Change complexity, not difficulty. Change
the quality/nature, not the quantity.
Structured or open-ended?
Basic Principles:
Use respectful tasks.
Use tiered lessons
Compact the curriculum.
Scaffold instruction.
Organization and planning enable
Basic Principles:
• Teachers have more control in the classroom,
not less.
• Frequently uses flexible grouping.
• Teachers and students collaborate to deliver
Models of Instruction That Work
Dimension of Learning:
[Robert Marzano]
Positive Attitudes and Perceptions about Learning
Acquiring and Integrating Knowledge
Extending and Refining Knowledge
Using Knowledge Meaningfully
Productive Habits of Mind
1/3 Model:
[Canaday and Rettig]
• 1/3 Presentation of content
• 1/3 Application of knowledge and skills
• 1/3 Synthesis of the information
Concept Attainment Model:
[Summarized from Canaday and Rettig]
• Teacher presents examples, students work with them,
noting attributes
• Teacher has students define the concept to be learned
• More examples are critiqued in light of newly discovered
• Students are given practice activities in which they apply
their understanding of the lesson concept
• Students are evaluated through additional applications
Traditional Learning
Constructivist Learning
• Part to whole, emphasize skills
• Whole to part, emph. concepts
• Strict adherence to curriculum
• Pursue student questions
• Rely on textbooks, workbooks
• Rely on prim. sources, manip.
• Students are “blank slates”
• Students are thinkers
• Teachers disseminate info
• Teachers mediate, interact
• Teachers seek correct answer to
validate learning
• Teachers seek students’ knowledge to
make decisions
• Assessment/Teaching separate
• Assessment/Teaching are interwoven
Direct Instruction Model
[Summarized from Canaday and Rettig]
Review previously learned material/homework
State objectives for today
Present material
Provide guided practice with feedback
Re-teach (as needed)
Assign independent practice with feedback
Review both during and at the end of the lesson
Closure (Summarization)
Learning Profile Models:
Myers - Briggs Personality Styles, Bernice
McCarthy’s 4MAT System, Gregorc Scale
and Teaching Model, Bramson’s Styles of
Thinking, Left Brain vs. Right Brain,
Multiple Intelligences
Additional Differentiated
Instruction Strategies
Use Anticipation Guides
Create personal agendas for some students
Use centers/learning stations
Adjust journal prompts and level of
questioning to meet challenge levels
• Incorporate satellite studies (“Orbitals”)
Personal Agenda for Michael R., December 5th, 2008
Daily Tasks:
___ Place last night’s homework at the top right corner of desk.
___ Record warm-up activity from chalkboard into learning log.
___ Complete warm-up activity.
___ Listen to teacher’s explanation of the lesson’s agenda.
___ Record assignments from Homework Board into notebook.
Specific to Today’s Lesson:
___ Get graphic organizer from teacher and put name/date at top.
___ Fill in examples in g.o. while teacher explains it to the class.
___ Read both sides of the g.o. so you know what you are looking for.
___ Watch the video and fill in the g.o. during the breaks.
___ Complete closing activity for the video.
___ Ask Ms. Green to sign your assignment notebook.
___ Go to math class, but first pick up math book in locker.
• “a lot” – Running to each wall to shout, “a”
and “lot,” noting space between
• Comparing Constitutions – Former Soviet
Union and the U.S. – names removed
• Real skeletons, not diagrams
• Simulations
• Writing Process described while sculpting
with clay
D e nd rite s
M y e lin s h e a th
S c hw a n n c e ll
N o d e o f R a n v ie r
S y na p tic te rm ina ls
N uc le us
S y na p s e s
Oxygen/Nutrient-Filled Bloodflow
When the Body is in Survival Mode
Vital Organs
Areas associated with growth
Areas associated with social activity
The Brain’s Dilemma:
What Input to Keep, and What Input to Discard?
• Survival
• Familiarity/Context
• Priming
Emotional Content
-- Summarized from Pat Wolfe’s Brain
Matters, 2001
Prime the brain prior to asking students to do any learning
Priming means we show students:
1) What they will get out of the
experience (the objectives)
2) What they will encounter as
they go through the experience
(itinerary, structure)
Worthy they were,
Rafael, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Donatello.
Theirs’ a chromatic and plumed rebirth,
‘A daring reflection upon man.
Beyond Hastings and a Wive’s tale in Canterbury,
Galileo thrust at more than Windmills,
He, Copernicus Gravitas.
And for the spectre of debate,
religion blinked then jailed,
errant no more,
thereby errant forever.
Cousin to Pericles, Son of Alexander,
The cosmology of Adam fanned for all,
feudal plains trampled by trumpeters,
man and woman lay awake -calves on wobbly legs,
staring at new freedom
and Gutenberg’s promise.
Creating Background Where There is None
• Tell the story of the Code of Hammurabi before
discussing the Magna Charta.
• Before studying the detailed rules of baseball,
play baseball.
• Before reading about how microscopes work,
play with micros copes.
• Before reading the Gettysburg Address, inform
students that Lincoln was dedicating a cemetery.
Creating Background Where There is None
• Before reading a book about a military campaign or a
murder mystery with references to chess, play Chess with a
student in front of the class, or teach them the basic rules,
get enough boards, and ask the class to play.
• In math, we might remind students of previous patterns as
they learn new ones. Before teaching students
factorization, we ask them to review what they know about
prime numbers.
• In English class, ask students, “How is this story’s
protagonist moving in a different direction than the last
story’s protagonist?”
• In science, ask students, “We’ve seen how photosynthesis
reduces carbon dioxide to sugars and oxidizes water into
oxygen, so what do you think the reverse of this process
called, ‘respiration,’ does?”
Moving Content into Long-term Memory
Students have to do both,
The way the brain
How many
teachers sequence
their lessons for
Lesson Sequence
The Primacy-Recency Effect
Avoid Confabulation
The brain seeks wholeness. It will fill in the holes in
partial learning with made-up learning and
experiences, and it will convince itself that this
was the original learning all along. To prevent this:
Deal with Misconceptions!
Students should
summarize material they
already understand, not
material they are coming
to know.
• What do you see?
• What number do you see?
• What letter do you see?
Perception is when we bring meaning to
the information we receive, and it
depends on prior knowledge and what
we expect to see. (Wolfe, 2001)
Are we teaching so that students perceive,
or just to present curriculum and leave
it up to the student to perceive it?
Recall Success
with Individual, Unrelated Items
Age of Student
# of Unconnected,
Individual Items
Successfully Recalled
(plus or minus 2, Wolfe, 2001)
We file by similarities,
and we retrieve by differences.
What does this mean
for instruction?
Taking Positive Risks
“The fellow who never makes a mistake takes
his orders from one who does.”
-- Herbert Prochnow
“If I had been a kid in my class today, would I
want to come back tomorrow?”
-- Elsbeth Murphy
“Nothing ventured, something lost.”
-- Roland Barth
Negating Students’ Incorrect Responses
While Keeping Them in the Conversation
• Act interested, “Tell me more about that…”
• Empathy and Sympathy: “I used to think that, too,” or “I
understand how you could conclude that…”
• Alter the reality:
-- Change the question so that the answer is
-- That’s the answer for the question I’m about to
-- When student claims he doesn’t know, ask, “If you DID
know, what would you say?”
Negating Students’ Incorrect Responses and
While Them in the Conversation
• Affirm risk-taking
• Allow the student more time or to ask for
• Focus on the portions that are correct
Remember Who’s Doing the Learning:
• Whoever responds to students/classmates is doing
the learning. Make sure the majority of the time
it’s the students responding, not the teacher.
• Teachers ask 80 questions each hour on average,
while students ask only two during that same hour.
(Hollas) Students learn more when they ask the
questions. Find ways to make question-asking so
compelling and habitual they can’t escape it.
Inquiry Method
Something arouses students’ curiosity.
2. Students identify questions regarding topic. There is usually
one main question with several sub-questions that help
answer the main question. These questions are submitted
to classmates for review.
3. Students determine the process of investigation into topic.
Their proposal for how to conduct the investigation is
submitted to classmates for review and revision as
4. Students conduct the investigation.
5. Students share their findings.
Socratic Seminar
Shared experiences, chosen for richness of ideas, issues,
ambiguity, “discussability”
Students reflect on material
Group dynamics, ground rules, and courtesy are understood
and accepted.
A. Teacher asks a provocative question. Opening, Core, and
Closure Questions
B. Students respond to the provocative question and each other.
C. Teacher offers core questions that help students interpret and
to re-direct, also evalutes and tries to keep mouth shut.
C. Closing – connect to the real world of the student
Writings, Summations, Artwork, Reflection, Critique, Analysis
Debate Format
Statement of the General Debate Topic and Why it’s
Important – 1 min.
2. Affirmative Position Opening Remarks – 3 min.
3. Negative Position Opening Remarks – 3 min.
4. Affirmative Position Arguments – 5 min.
5. Negative Position Arguments – 5 min.
6. Caucus – Students on both teams consider their arguments
and rebuttals in light of what has been presented. – 3 min.
7. Affirmative Rebuttal and Questioning of the Negative’s Case – 3
8. Negative Rebuttal and Questioning of the Affirmative’s Case – 3
9. Closing Arguments Affirmative Position – 2 min.
10. Closing Arguments Negative Position – 2 min.
Meeting of Minds
at Rachel Carson Middle School
Portrayals of Dr. Sally Ride, Albert
Einstein, Josef Stalin, Bob Dylan, Boss
Tweed, Dr. Robert Oppenheimer,
Senator Joseph McCarthy, the
Unsinkable Molly Brown, Rosa Parks.
In the background: Advisors for each
historical figure
Meeting of Minds
Potential Topics for Discussion:
• Should Earth have one language or many?
What are the roles of men and women in
• Should students be required to wear uniforms
in school?
• What are the qualities of a good leader?
• Should rap music lyrics be censored?
• Should our country have gone to war?
Logical Fallacies
• Ad Hominem (Argument To The Man) -- Attacking the person instead
of attacking his argument: “Dr. Jones’ conclusions on ocean currents
are incorrect because he once plagiarized an research article.”
• Straw Man (Fallacy of Extension) -- Attacking an exaggerated version of
your opponent's position. "Senator Jones says that we should not fund
the attack submarine program. I disagree entirely. I can't understand
why he wants to leave us defenseless like that." *
• The Excluded Middle (False Dichotomy) -- Assuming there are only two
alternatives when in fact there are more. For example, assuming
Atheism is the only alternative to Fundamentalism, or being a traitor is
the only alternative to being a loud patriot. *
From Jim Morton’s’ “Practical Skeptic” website
• Melatonin production in young adolescents
shifts by 3 to 5 hours, but runs for the same
length of time.
• Sleep deprivation often invokes the
starvation response in the body.
• Sleep helps us encode memories for longterm memory; lack of sleep lowers the brain’s
capacity to learn new things
(Dye, 2000, as cited in Sprenger)
Memorization Techniques
Practice reciting facts while looking at your eyes in a mirror,
while standing in front of your family or friends, while
Memorize the lines from the end to the front.
Memorize in phrases, and use “bridges” (last word of one
phrase, first word of the next phrase)
Use different voices to recite the facts/lines.
Have someone call the cues for you.
Use memory devices (mnemonics).
Have a crazy conversation with someone, in which each time
one of you speaks, you use one of the words or concepts.
Let time pass between memorizing sessions.
Draw and color a picture of the concepts/lines.
Use props.
Practice in the same place you’ll be asked to remember them.
Make an outline of the lines or concepts, and memorize that.
“All thinking begins with wonder.”
-- Socrates
Our job is not to make up
anybody’s mind, but to open
minds and to make the agony of
decision-making so intense you
can escape only by thinking.”
-- Fred Friendly, broadcaster
Motivating Students
When Nothing Else Works
• Teacher Assistance Teams
• Specialists
• Coaches or Pastors/Rabbis
• Alternative Instruction
• Strong relationship with trusted adult
• Diet
• Sleep
• Doctor’s Physical Exam
• Looping
• Deal with poverty issues
Motivating Students When Nothing Else
Works (cont.)
• Middle school concept
• Teacher training in young adolescence
• Videotaping
• Behavior checklist
• Use inertia
• Deal with loneliness and/or powerlessness
• Multiple intelligences
• Ask the student
Classroom Samples
• Students watch an instructional video. Every
10 to 15 minutes, the teacher stops the video
and asks student to summarize what they’ve
• The teacher does several math problems on
the front board, then assigns students five
practice problems to see if they understand
the algorithm.
• Students are working in small groups on an
assigned task. One student isn’t cooperating with
the rest of his group, however, and as a result,
the group is falling farther behind the other
• There are only enough microscopes for every
three students. One student uses the microscope
to bring items into focus, another draws what the
group sees through the eyepiece, then the three
students answer questions.
• Students are silently reading content in their
textbooks and completing a graphic organizer
about the material.
• Eleven students do not do the assignment
from last night. Consequently, they are not
prepared to move on with the class in today’s
• Four ELL students have been placed in your
class, but they are far from comfortable with
English, especially with the vocabulary
associated with your subject area.
Common Definition -- Adjusting the following to maximize
– Readiness
– Interest
– Learning Profile
Tier in
Rick’s Preferred Definition:
-- Changing the level of complexity or required
readiness of a task or unit of study in order to meet
the developmental needs of the students involved
(Similar to Tomlinson’s “Ratcheting”).
Tiering Assignments and Assessments
Example -- Graph the solution set of each of
the following:
1. y > 2
2. 6x + 3y < 2
3. –y < 3x – 7
Given these two
ordered pairs, students
would then graph the
line and shade above or
below it, as warranted.
2. 6x + 3y < 2
3y < -6x + 2
y < -2x + 2/3
-5 1/3
Tiering Assignments and Assessments
For early readiness students:
• Limit the number of variables for which student
must account to one in all problems. ( y > 2 )
• Limit the inequality symbols to, “greater than” or,
“less than,” not, “greater then or equal to” or, “less
than or equal to”
• Provide an already set-up 4-quadrant graph on
which to graph the inequality
• Suggest some values for x such that when solving
for y, its value is not a fraction.
Tiering Assignments and Assessments
For advanced readiness students:
• Require students to generate the 4-quadrant graph
• Increase the parameters for graphing with
equations such as: --1 < y < 6
• Ask students what happens on the graph when a
variable is given in absolute value, such as: /y/ > 1
• Ask students to graph two inequalities and shade or
color only the solution set (where the shaded areas
Anchor activities refer to two types of learner
management experiences:
• “Sponge” activities that soak up down time, such
as when students finish early, the class is waiting
for the next activity, or the class is cleaning up or
distributing papers/supplies
• A main activity everyone is doing from which the
teacher pulls students for mini-lessons
Anchor Lesson Design
(10-45 min.)
Anchor Activities Advice
• Use activities with multiple steps to engage students
• Require a product – ‘increases urgency and
• Train students what to do when the teacher is not
• Start small: Half the class and half the class, work
toward more groups, smaller in size
• Use a double t-chart to provide feedback
• Occasionally, videotape and provided feedback
Double-T Charts
Char.’s of
Char.’s of
Char.’s of
success we’d
success we’d
success we’d
we’d hear
What to Do
When the Teacher is Not Available
Suggestions include:
• Move on to the next portion; something may trigger an idea
• Draw a picture of what you think it says or asks
• Re-read the directions or previous sections
• Find a successful example and study how it was done
• Ask a classmate (“Ask Me,” “Graduate Assistant,” “Technoids”)
• Define difficulty vocabulary
• Try to explain it to someone else
lesson on the
topic -everyone
does the
same thing
Students practice, process,
apply, and study the topic in
small groups according to their
needs, styles, intelligences,
pacing, or whatever other factors
that are warranted
come back
To Increase (or Decrease) a Task’s Complexity,
Add (or Remove) these Attributes:
Manipulate information, not just echo it
Extend the concept to other areas
Integrate more than one subject or skill
Increase the number of variables that must be considered; incorporate
more facets
Demonstrate higher level thinking, i.e. Bloom’s Taxonomy, William’s
Use or apply content/skills in situations not yet experienced
Make choices among several substantive ones
Work with advanced resources
Add an unexpected element to the process or product
Work independently
Reframe a topic under a new theme
Share the backstory to a concept – how it was developed
Identify misconceptions within something
To Increase (or Decrease) a Task’s Complexity,
Add (or Remove) these Attributes:
Identify the bias or prejudice in something
Negotiate the evaluative criteria
Deal with ambiguity and multiple meanings or steps
Use more authentic applications to the real world
Analyze the action or object
Argue against something taken for granted or commonly accepted
Synthesize (bring together) two or more unrelated concepts or objects to
create something new
Critique something against a set of standards
Work with the ethical side of the subject
Work in with more abstract concepts and models
Respond to more open-ended situations
Increase their automacity with the topic
Identify big picture patterns or connections
Defend their work
• Manipulate information, not just echo it:
– “Once you’ve understood the motivations and viewpoints of the two
historical figures, identify how each one would respond to the three
ethical issues provided.”
• Extend the concept to other areas:
– “How does this idea apply to the expansion of the railroads in
1800’s?” or, “How is this portrayed in the Kingdom Protista?”
• Work with advanced resources:
– “Using the latest schematics of the Space Shuttle flight deck and real
interviews with professionals at Jet Propulsion Laboratories in
California, prepare a report that…”
• Add an unexpected element to the process or product:
– “What could prevent meiosis from creating four haploid nuclei
(gametes) from a single haploid cell?”
• Reframe a topic under a new theme:
– “Re-write the scene from the point of view of the
antagonist,” “Re-envision the country’s involvement in
war in terms of insect behavior,” or, “Re-tell Goldilocks
and the Three Bears so that it becomes a cautionary tale
about McCarthyism.”
• Synthesize (bring together) two or more unrelated
concepts or objects to create something new:
– “How are grammar conventions like music?”
• Work with the ethical side of the subject:
– “At what point is the Federal government justified in
subordinating an individual’s rights in the pursuit of safeguarding its citizens?”
The Equalizer
(Carol Ann Tomlinson)
Foundational ------------------ Transformational
Concrete ------------------------ Abstract
Simple --------------------------- Complex
Single Facet/fact -------------- Multi-Faceted/facts
Smaller Leap ------------------- Greater Leap
More Structured --------------- More Open
Clearly Defined ---------------- Fuzzy Problems
Less Independence -------- Greater Independence
Slower --------------------------- Quicker
William’s Taxonomy
Risk Taking
Frank Williams’ Taxonomy of Creative Thinking
Fluency – We generate as many ideas and
responses as we can
Example Task: Choose one of the simple machines we’ve studied (wheel and axle,
screw, wedge, lever, pulley, and inclined plane), and list everything in your home
that uses it to operate, then list as many items in your home as you can that use
more than one simple machine in order to operate.
Flexibility – We categorize ideas, objects, and
learning by thinking divergently
about them
Example Task: Design a classification system for the items on your list.
Frank Williams’ Taxonomy of Creative Thinking
Originality – We create clever and often unique
responses to a prompt
Example Task: Define life and non-life.
Elaboration – We expand upon or stretch an
idea or thing, building on
previous thinking
Example: What inferences about future algae
growth can you make, given the three graphs of
data from our experiment?
Frank Williams’ Taxonomy of Creative Thinking
Risk Taking – We take chances in our thinking, attempting tasks
for which the outcome is unknown
Example: Write a position statement on whether or not genetic
engineering of humans should be funded by the United States
------------------------------------------------------------------------------Complexity – We create order from chaos, we explore the logic
of a situation, we integrate additional variables
or aspects of a situation, contemplate
Example: Analyze how two different students changed their
lab methodology to prevent data contamination.
Frank Williams’ Taxonomy of Creative Thinking
Curiosity – We pursue guesses, we wonder about
varied elements, we question.
Example: What would you like to ask someone who has lived aboard the
International Space Station for three months about living in zero-gravity?
Imagination – We visualize ideas and objects, we go
beyond just what we have in front
of us
Example: Imagine building an undersea colony for 500 citizens, most of
whom are scientists, a kilometer below the ocean’s surface. What factors
would you have to consider when building and maintaining the colony
and the happiness of its citizens?
R = Role, A = Audience, F = Form, T = Time or Topic, S = Strong
adverb or adjective
Students take on a role, work for a specific audience, use a particular form
to express the content, and do it within a time reference, such as preCivil War, 2025, or ancient Greece.
Sample assignment chosen by a student:
A candidate for the Green Party (role), trying to convince election board
members (audience) to let him be in a national debate with Democrats
and the Republicans. The student writes a speech (form) to give to the
Board during the Presidential election in 2004 (time). Within this
assignment, students use arguments and information from this past
election with third party concerns, as well as their knowledge of the
election and debate process. Another student could be given a RAFT
assignment in the same manner, but this time the student is a member
of the election board who has just listened to the first student’s speech.
Raise the complexity: Choose items for each
category that are farther away from a natural fit
for the topic . Example: When writing about Civil
War Reconstruction, choices include a rap artist, a
scientist from the future, and Captain Nemo.
Lower the complexity: Choose items for each
category that are closer to a natural fit for the
topic. Example: When writing about Civil War
Reconstruction, choices include a member of the
Freedmen’s Bureau, a southern colonel returning
home to his burned plantation, and a northern
business owner
Learning Menus
Similar to learning contracts, students are
given choices of tasks to complete in a unit or
for an assessment. “Entrée” tasks are
required, they can select two from the list of
“side dish” tasks, and they can choose to do
one of the “desert” tasks for enrichment.
(Tomlinson, Fulfilling the Promise of the Differentiated Classroom, 2003)
Tic-Tac-Toe Board
A Theorem
An math
Change the Verb
Instead of asking students to describe
how FDR handled the economy during the
Depression, ask them to rank four given
economic principles in order of importance
as they imagine FDR would rank them, then
ask them how President Hoover who
preceded FDR would have ranked those same
principles differently.
Decide between…
Why did…
Argue against…
Argue for…
Thinking Critically with Gifted Students
• No matter what readiness level, we teach essential and
enduring knowledge first.
• Gifted experiences illuminate more material during the course
of the year, whether by moving more rapidly, by exploring
concepts in greater depth, or by offering more breadth in the
field of study.
• Gifted students encounter higher order thinking skills
(analysis, synthesis, evaluation, application, justification) as
standard operating procedure.
• In gifted experiences, tangential thinking is invited.
• Subjects are integrated to a larger extent.
• Assessment is more authentic and alternative assessment is
more likely to occur in gifted experiences.
• Instruction can be differentiated in terms of changing focus on
concept’s depth, frequency, assessment, and/or multidimensional understanding.
• Gifted students often think academic struggle is a weakness,
something to avoid. We teach otherwise. To seek challenge
and to struggle with learning strengthens us. It is an academic
• Enrichment does not equal fluff. All activities are
academically substantive.
• Gifted experiences will have some unique opportunties:
Socratic Seminars, Meeting of the Minds, and determining
authenticity of historical fiction books are examples.
• Gifted experiences often have more shared leadership in the
classroom (‘a bit more democracy).
• Our textbook and novels are resources, not the curriculum.
• Primary sources in research are more heavily valued and used
in gifted experiences.
• In general, gifted students do not like whole novels to be read
to them. Excerpts are fine.
• Gifted experiences expose children to a larger variety of
language and literature.
• Non-traditional grammar, sentence structures, vocabulary
words and writer’s voice are encouraged in gifted
• There can often be a wider range of readiness levels in a
classroom of gifted students than there is in a classroom of
regular students – be ready for them!
• Gifted students tend to appreciate the teacher’s use of humor
more than regular students do.
• Gifted experiences move students toward greater autonomy
than would be found in regular education experiences.
As often as possible, compact the
curriculum. It actually hurts an advanced
student’s education to teach him content and
skills he already knows.
Don’t forget to make the implicit explicit.
We would never assign students to portray
historical figures in a mock trial, for example,
and never teach them how to do it.
Two Important Planning Points:
1. Practice turning regular education
experiences into gifted/advanced education
experiences. Give it a shot right now with
anything in your lesson.
2. Anticipate the need for gifted/advanced
experiences in every lesson and actively plan
for those opportunities.
“Little Geniuses”
(Article by Thomas Armstrong about alternative giftedness).
Acting Ability
Aesthetic perceptiveness
Artistic Talent
Athletic prowess
Common sense
Emotional maturity
Excellent memory
Inquiring mind
Knowledge of a given subject
Leadership abilities
Literary aptitude
Logical-reasoning ability
Manual dexterity
Mathematical ability
Mechanical know-how
Moral character
Passionate interest in a specific topic
Physical coordination
Political astuteness
Problem-solving capacity
Sense of humor
Social savvy
Spatial awareness
Spiritual sensibility
Strong will
Verbal ability
Great Resources!
• www.nagc.org – National Association for Gifted Children
• www.cec.sped.org – Council for Exceptional Children
• Tomlinson, Carol Ann, Doubet, Kristina. (2006) Smart in the
Middle Grades: Classrooms that Work for Bright Middle
Schoolers. Westerville, OH: NMSA
• Tomlinson, C.A., Kaplan, S.N., Renzulli, J.s., Purcell, J.,
Leppien, J., & Burns, D. (2002) The Parallel Curriculum: A
design to Develop High Potential and Challenging High
Ability Learners. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press
Great Resources!
• Winebrenner, Susan. Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular
Classroom: Strategies and Techniques Every Teacher Can Use
to Meet the Academic Needs of the Gifted and Talented, Free
Spirit Publishing, 2001
• Wormeli, Rick. (2005) Summarization in any Subject.
Alexandria, VA: ASCD; (2006) Fair Isn’t Always Equal:
Assessment and Grading in the Differentiated Classroom.
Portsmouth, ME: Stenhouse; (2007) Differentiation: From
Planning to Practice, Grades 6-12. Portsmouth, ME:
Stenhouse; (2009) Metaphors& Analogies: Power Tools for
Teaching any Subject, Portsmouth, ME: Stenhouse
• Anything on gifted by Richard Cash or Diane Heacox
Reality Check
• We can offend ELL students.
• Some ELL students don’t receive appropriate instruction
for their intellectual level.
• There’s a lot of anxiety when we don’t know the
language or culture of the country in which we are
living, so much so that many of us would find it
hopeless to keep trying. It takes a tremendous
amount of energy and patience every day to remain
attentive and engaged when you’re first learning a
Unfortunately, we tend to equate low language
proficiency with low mental function as well. As a result,
we don’t ask ELL students to make comparisons, analyze
data, connect ideas, synthesize concepts, or evaluate
performances. By not pushing ELL students this way,
these students get further behind. What can we do to
move our mindset past this conventional way of thinking?
Students in some cultural groups are reluctant to
publicly ask questions, particularly of adults, and also may
be hesitant to make conjectures. For students from cultures
in which students are expected to wait to be asked before
speaking, and where students are not expected to ask
questions of elders, it is very important for the teacher to
explicitly set the expectation for students to ask questions
and express their opinions in the…classroom. Otherwise,
classroom discourse becomes an exercise in trying to
participate in a game where only others know the unwritten
Debra Coggins, Drew,Kravin, Grace Coates, Carroll Davila, Maria Dreux, English
Language Learners in the Mathematics Classroom, Corwin Press, 2007, p. 82
25 Practical Tips for Assisting ELL
Students in the Regular Classroom
1.Speak slowly and clearly.
2.Repeat important words/information several
3.Extend time periods for responding to prompts.
4.Avoid using idioms and colloquialisms until
students are more advanced with our culture,
or if we use them, take the time to explain
them to ELL students.
5.Gesture and point to what we are referring.
6. Ask students to read text more than once.
7. Label objects and concepts in the classroom frequently.
8. Provide a lot of specific models, including a lot of handson experiences.
9. Use a lot of visuals: pictures, illustrations, graphs,
pictographs as well as real objects during instruction.
10. Frequently demonstrate what we mean, not just
describe it. From Classroom Instruction that Works
with English Language Learners (ASCD, 2006, p. 41),
Hill and Flynn offer, “ELLs will have a greater chance
of learning and recalling terms if they use their arms to
represent the radius, diameter, and circumference of
circles or the right, acute, and obtuse angles of
11. Make ELL students feel like they belong and have a role
to play in classroom learning.
12. Use a lot of thinking aloud or self-talk to model the
sequence of doing the task or the language to use
when thinking about the concept.
13. Use cooperative learning groups; let ELL students work
with English proficient partners.
14. Sometimes let students draw responses instead of
writing them; use more than one format for assessing
students if the general approach won’t allow ELL
students to accurately portray what they know.
15. Find ways to enable ELL students to demonstrate their
intellectual skills and maintain dignity.
16. Give students very quick feedback on their word use.
17. Spend time before lessons building personal background in English
language learners so they have an equal chance to attach
new learning to what’s already in their minds.
18. Stay focused on how ELL students are doing toward their learning
goals, not how they’re doing in relation to other students. We
remove ll hope when we ceaselessly cajole ELL students into
proficiency by comparing them to language proficient students. It’s
a mistake to think they need more motivation or that parading
others’ success in front of them motivates them; they desperately
want to be proficient.
19. Recognize the difference between conversational language and
academic language and that students need help with both;
learning one does not mean you’ve learned the other. This means
we go out of our way to explain terms like, “similar,” “math
exercise,” “vocabulary,” “compare,” “supporting detail,” “analyze,”
“instead of,” “not only,” “while,” “unlike,” “common,” “distinct,”
“feature,” “trait,” “characteristic,” and, “equal.”
20. Take the time to learn about English language learners home
Additional Ideas from, English Language Learners in
the Mathematics Classroom (2007)
21. Invite ELL students to learn and explore ideas in
their own languages first, then translate them to
22. Provide ELL students with response stems,
such as, “One thing that I learned was….”
23. Ask students to re-state classmates’ comments
as they begin their own comments
24. Relate concepts in story format before specific
25. Incorporate all those vocabulary
acquisition strategies you learned years ago as
well as the ones that see today. You can’t have
too many vocabulary building ideas!
Seriously, we all should be vocabulary guru’s no
matter what subject we teach.
ELL’s need Authentic Talk -- Is this authentic?
What is Ben doing?
Ben is holding a picture of a whale in the ocean.
Why is Ben holding a picture of a whale in the ocean?
Ben is holding a picture of a whale in the ocean because
he is interested in protecting whales in the ocean.
Why is Ben interested in protecting whales in the ocean?
Ben is interested in protecting whales in the ocean
because he is afraid they will become extinct.
What does the word, “extinct” mean?
“Extinct” means there are no more animals of that kind
on our planet.
Is this Conversation Authentic?
• Where can I buy soccer cleats? Mine are too old. I can’t
turn fast in them. I’m the “sweep” this weekend.
• Wow, I hate playing sweep. I’m a mid-fielder.
• I can’t play mid-field very well. It’s too tiring. You have to
be everywhere.
• Yeah, but you can get the other team off sides.
• Sometimes, but I don’t think about that a lot. So, ‘the
• Oh yeah. Over at Fair Oaks Mall, there’s a sports store
near the soft pretzel shop. Who are you playing?
My twin sister plays goalie for a team. They might
be playing you.
Avoid Painting All ELL Students with Same, Broad Brush Stroke!
Just like regular education students, all ELL students are not at the
same point of development in language.
Some ELL students can respond to*:
“Show me…,” “Label the….,” “Circle the…,” “Where is…,” “Who
has….,” and yes-no questions.
After a year or three, most ELL students can respond to:
“Why…,” “How…,” “Explain…,” “What would happen if…,” “Why do
you think…” and “Decide if….”
Successful teachers respond strategically to this variance in ELL
students, including those ELL students whose performance is
outside these ranges.
*Hill and Flynn citing a
Krashen and Terrell study
Metaphorical and Critical Thinking is Universal!
At every stage of language acquisition, all of
humanity thinks metaphorically. Hispanic, Greek, French,
Phillippino, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, American,
Egyptian, Iraqi, Italian, and Norwegian people think
metaphorically. To not include metaphors, analogies,
pattern recognition, and critical thinking in ELL students’
learning experiences due to language struggles is like
assuming they don’t know how to feed themselves
because they don’t eat the same food as we do. It’s
pompous, and it denies ELL students their basic
instruction. We can’t save advanced thinking only for
advance language proficiency students.
Bilinguals tend to outperform monolinguals on
some tests of language and nonverbal intelligence,
including the ability to think abstractly about language, or
meta-linguistic awareness, and one kind of creativity
known as divergent thinking. Other studies have shown
that bilinguals are better at executive control, or the
ability to solve problems that require us to ignore
irrelevant information and to focus on what is important.
They also have superior working memories, that is, a
better ability to keep information in mind while solving a
-- James Crawford and Stephen Krashen, English Learners in
American Classrooms: 101 Questions, 101 Answers (Scholastic,
2007, p. 31)
Sheltered Instruction
We only remember concepts that we can
understand. So, teach subject content to ELL
students in their native language whenever possible
(Crawford and Krashen, 2007). As students become
proficient in the specific content, place them in
“sheltered instruction” experiences in which we focus
predominantly on that content, but we weave in
English as much as possible without diluting full
content mastery.
Sheltered Instruction
“The goal in the minds of both students and
the teacher is mastering the subject matter, not
particular rules of grammar or vocabulary. In this
way, students absorb academic English naturally and
incidentally, while they are learning useful
knowledge. If students are tested, they are tested on
subject matter, not language.” (p. 24)
For Translations if your District Doesn’t have Translation Staff:
Translation Web sites. Look also for associations of language
Use the student’s family members.
Contact the Embassy or Consulate in Washington, D.C. or local
to you
Contact a bank or investment firm in your area that does a lot
of international financing.
Use local associations of individuals from the specific culture
in question. They often have liaisons with the larger
community and can contact their membership to find
someone who can help with translations.
Use translation scanners -- often pocket-sized, that can
translate almost any language into English and back again.
References, Research, and More Ideas
1.Cary, Stephen. Working with English Language Learners:
Answers to Teachers’ Top Ten Questions, 2nd edition,
Heinemann, 2007
2.Coggins, Debra; Kravin, Drew; Coates, Grace Davila;
Carroll, Maria Dreux. English Language Learners in
the Mathematics Classroom, Corwin Press, 2007
3.Crawford, James; Krashen, Stephen. English Learners in
American Classrooms: 101 Questions, 101 Answers,
Scholastic, 2007
4.Feldmand, Jerome A. From Molecule to Metaphor, MIT
Press, 2008
5.Flynn, Kathleen M., Hill, Jane D. Classroom Instruction
that Works with English Language Learners, ASCD,
6.Wormeli, Rick. Metaphors & Analogies: Power Tools for
Teaching any Subject, Stenhouse Publishers, 2009
assignment: Build a paper-based data visualization, as directed by the
infosthetics.com website…The inspiration: Strips of paper discarded next to the
school’s paper trimmer. My yearning for sunlight.
“Description: I currently live in Umeå, a city at latitude 63° 50′ N in northern
Sweden. Our winter days are short and summer days are long. Using the actual and
predicted lengths of daylight for the first of each month in 2009, I created a
visualization with 12 “petals”. The outer loop of each petal represents the 24 hours
in the day; the inner loop is the length of daylight, ranging from 4h 33m on January
1 to 20h 34m on July 1. The white thread where the loops are joined is the
start/end point. Each outer loop is 24 cm from start to end point, representing 24
hours. The inner loop for January is a little over 4.5 cm, representing the 4h 33m.
When assembled, like a clock, the top loop is 12 (December 1); the bottom one
opposite it is 6 (June 1).
“I like how the simple lines suggest the passing of time and the cycle of the
months as well as the promise of spring to come. There are multiple flower forms
suggested, from the symmetrical outer petals to the drooping flower formed by the
inner loops, to the spikier poinsettia-like flower formed by the negative space in
the middle.”
From: http://infosthetics.com/archives/2009/02/paper-
based_visualization_competition_the_winner_and_more.html, and from, www.charlenelam.com
From the Greek, metapherein, which means “to transfer”
and “to bear” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary,
11th Edition, 2004).
We “transfer” or “bear” one concept/object/attribute to
another, comparing something in one domain with an
element in another domain. By domain, we refer to the
larger categories or themes into which items fit. A
metaphor re-imagines or re-expresses something in one
category (domain) in terms of another category (domain)
to clarify or further thinking: “She is my rock.” “That test
was a monster.” “Reading those books created my ladder
of success.”
Good metaphors give us new information
(Glucksberg, 2001), not the same
information. They don’t restate the obvious:
cars are like automobiles. To be useful, they
must provide fresh perspective or insight: My
son’s car is a sports locker on wheels.
Consider this, too: In order to be a good
metaphor, they must factually be false!
“Mathematics is not a way of hanging
numbers on things so that quantitative
answers to ordinary questions can be
obtained. It is a language that allows one to
think about extraordinary questions...getting
the picture does not mean writing out the
formula or crunching the numbers, it means
grasping the mathematical metaphor.”
- James Bullock
We think primarily in physical terms. Over time
we become adept at translating symbolic and
abstract concepts into meaningful structures or
“Physicalizing” the abstract and symbolic:
• Gets oxygen and nutrients to cognitive centers of
the brain via the bloodstream
• Relieves bone growth plate stress
• Relaxes students and improves their
perspective/attitude – creates mild euphoria
• Supports cognitive theory regarding how students
best learn
• Makes abstract content vivid and thereby
illuminates it
• It’s fun and intrinsically motivating
Physicalizing Process:
• Identify essential components, pieces, or definition
of whatever we’re teaching
• Physicalize those pieces and present them to the
• Class critiques the physicalization in terms of
accuracy, comprehensiveness, appropriateness, and
clarity. ‘Makes suggestions for improvement.
All three steps are learning experiences that help
students internalize the knowledge.
Have Some Fun – Anything Can Be A Metaphor!
An apple
a star (the birth place of energy on our planet) in the middle (the seed pattern
makes a star if we cut it the right way)
we must break the surface to get to the juicy good parts
the outside doesn’t reveal what lies inside
the apple becomes soft and mushy over time
the apple can be tart or sweet depending on its family background
its parts are used to create multiple products
A cell phone
lifeline to the larger world
an unapologetic taskmaster
an unfortunate choice of gods
a rude child that interrupts just when he shouldn’t
a rite of passage
a declaration of independence
a secret language encoder (text messaging abbreviations unknown to adults)
delineation of generations
A pencil sharpener
Whittler of pulp
Tool diminisher
Mouth of a sawdust monster
Eater of brain translators
Cranking something to precision
Writing re-energizer
Scantron test enabler
Wall between fantasy and reality
Denied secrets
Arbiter of suspense
Making a house a home
Vacuum cleaner antagonist
Cat’s “Jungle Gym”
• Circulatory system of the country
Enforcer of Manifest Destiny
Iron monster
Unforgiving mistress to a hobo
Economic renewal
Relentless beast
Mechanical blight
Movie set
A foreshadow of things to come
A hearkening to the past
Look Around your Classroom and Give it a Shot…
• Is that coffee cup a soothing friend or a
catalyst for creativity?
• Is the open classroom door an invitation for
the rest of the world to join in your discussion,
or is it a momentary lapse in security?
• Is the computer sitting in the corner gathering
dust an albatross around your neck, or does it
represent emancipation from tedium and
conventional practice?
Process for Generating
Metaphors and Analogies
1. Break the topic into its component pieces.
2. Identify comparisons with the topic that are relevant to
students’ lives, making abstract ideas as concrete and
personally affecting as possible. Create a common frame
of reference in students if necessary.
3. “Test drive” the metaphor or analogy with others whose
opinions you trust. Make sure the person can identify the
metaphor and message on his own.
4. Double-check that the metaphor or analogy furthers your
cause, won’t confuse students, and actually adds to
instruction instead of weakens it.
5. After using a metaphor or analogy, ask students to
evaluate its helpfulness.
Metaphors – Analysis Chart
Symbol to Represent
Explanation of Symbol
How this Symbol Connects to Character/Event
Passages Cited to Support this Connection
-- Based on an idea from Kelly Gallagher’s Deeper
______________________ is (are) a _________________
because _______________________________________.
Ask students to include something intangible, such as
suspicion or an odyssey, in the first blank. The tangible
comparison---a combination lock or an elliptical trainer--would fit in the second section.
Ask students to justify their choices:
“Suspicion is a combination lock because it secures a
possession’s well-being that cannot be assured through trust
alone. Odyssey is an elliptical trainer because it has a beginning,
middle, and end, and along the way, we encounter moments of
endurance, doubt, despair, and elation, leaving comfort and
returning again.”
Questioning the Metaphor
Find a way to improve the metaphor or analogy:
“Man has been here 32,000 years. That it took a
hundred million years to prepare the world for him
is proof that that is what it was done for. I suppose it
is. I dunno. If the Eiffel tower were now representing
the world's age, the skin of paint on the pinnacleknob at its summit would represent man's share of
that age; & anybody would perceive that that skin
was what the tower was built for. I reckon they
would. I dunno. - "Was the World Made for Man?“
(from, www.twainquotes.com)
Metaphors Break Down
“You can’t think of feudalism as a ladder because you
can climb up a ladder. The feudal structure is more like
sedimentary rock: what’s on the bottom will always be on
the bottom unless some cataclysmic event occurs.”
-- Amy Benjamin, Writing in the Content Areas, p. 80
“A classroom is like a beehive.” Where does the simile sink?
• Students are not bees.
• Students have a variety of readiness levels and skill sets for completing
tasks. Bees are more uniform.
• Students don’t respond blindly or purely to the pheromones of the
queen bee.
• Students are busier throughout the day and night than bees.
• Students don’t swarm when angered.
How Do these Metaphors Fall Apart?
1. Life is like an apple tree.
2. The structure of an essay is like a hamburger.
3. The lawyer harvested the information from three
4. She broke the glass ceiling.
5. Cancer is an unwelcome house guest.
6. Eyes are windows to the soul.
7. Urban renewal was the engine that powered the
8. Their conversation was as risky as Russian roulette.
9. That remark was the tipping point in the debate.
10. The purpose of a neuron’s myelin sheath is the same as
the Police Department’s motto: To serve and protect.
Test the Verb Strength
Did we invade the country, or did we liberate it? The choice of
verbs frames our thinking. Ask students to change only the verb
and explain how the reader or listener’s interpretation of the topic
would change as a result.
The senator corralled her constituents.
The senator coddled her constituents.
The senator ignited her constituents.
The senator stonewalled her constituents.
The senator suckered her constituents.
The senator mollified her constituents.
The senator lifted her constituents.
Manipulate the Metaphor to See How It
Changes Meaning
Cafeteria and
Clinic Workers
Custodial Staff
Teaching Staff
# of Students
% Graduating
Presenting like this, which one looks better for
# of Graduates
# of Graduates
Apple University
Orange College
Banana Academy
Grape Institute
Presented like this, which one looks better for
% Graduating
% Graduating
Apple University
Orange College
Banana Academy
Grape Institute
Conceptual Metaphor
Concept: Ideas are food.
All this paper has in it are raw facts, half-baked ideas, and warmed-over theories.
There are too many facts here for me to digest them all.
I just can’t swallow that claim.
Let me stew over that for a while.
That’s food for thought.
She devoured the book.
(p. 36)
Let’s let that idea simmer on the back burner for a while.
Concept: The mind is a computer
He is hard-wired for action.
My mental software no longer works.
I can’t quite retrieve that memory.
I haven’t yet processed what he said.
Did you store away what I told you?
(p. 113)
What Do Conceptual Metaphors Mean for the Classroom?
• Explain conceptual metaphors frequently. “Learning is a
journey” -- Do your students know what you mean by this?
How about, “Inventors are forward-thinking?” -- Why do we
think of invention as progress? Do inventors ever retard
• What was the conceptual metaphor that assisted the Nazi
Party’s rise to power prior to World War II? What was the
conceptual metaphor used by Henry Ford to develop his
revolutionary ideas about assembly-line manufacturing, mass
production of affordable automobiles, and paying workers
high wages? What are the competing conceptual metaphors
for dark matter, anti-matter, and what happened during the
birth of the universe?
As you guide students’ metaphorical thinking, take the time to identify
conceptual comparisons:
• What is the protagonist’s conceptual metaphor for life,
and how is that different from he antagonist’s
• What are the conceptual metaphors used by both sides
of the debate on global warming?
• By what conceptual metaphor do the leaders in
Northern Sudan govern Darfur, and is there any hope
of changing that metaphor so we can end the death
and destruction resulting from this modern-day
• How did Nelson Mandela change the operative
metaphors of South Africa?
• What is the new, post-Hurricane Katrina conceptual
metaphor for New Orleans?
Ask Students to Practice Explaining Metaphors
Metaphor: “Google it.”
Definition: Google is a common Internet search
engine. Instead of the longer statement, “Go
to the Internet, find a search engine, and look
for the topic using that search engine,” people
shorten it to something that represents that
whole process---the name of a common
search engine, Google.
Make the Implicit, Explicit
• What does it mean to triangulate something?
• If our thinking is parallel to someone else’s
thinking, what do we mean?
• The character said that life was like a carnival
Tilt-a-Whirl. What did she mean by that?
• Kira just said she going to be toast tonight
with these grades. Is this good or bad for her?
Descriptions With and Without Metaphors
Solving for a variable
Obstructionist Judiciary
Economic Principles
Poetic License
Temporal Rifts
Religious fervor
Ask students to identify multiple connotations
of words. Consider using these terms: cook,
light, fire, wall, bleed, read, cold, plant, shade,
blanket, sound, wave, mask, book, race, curve,
and table. Notice that changing the tense and/or
parts of speech shifts the meaning in many cases:
“He ran a good campaign.” “Let’s give it a dry
run.” “Are you running out of steam?” “Let’s table
this conversation until later.” “She sat at the table
for dinner.” “The table displays the empirical data
for our conclusions.”
Same Concept, Multiple Domains
The Italian Renaissance: Symbolize curiosity, technological
advancement, and cultural shifts through mindmaps, collages,
graphic organizers, paintings, sculptures, comic strips, political
cartoons, music videos, websites, computer screensavers, CD
covers, or advertisements displayed in the city subway system.
The economic principle of supply and demand: What would it look
like as a floral arrangement, in the music world, in fashion, or
dance? Add some complexity: How would each of these
expressions change if were focusing on a bull market or during a
Geometric progression, the structure of a sentence,
palindromes, phases of the moon, irony, rotation versus revolution,
chromatic scale, Boolean logic, sine/cosine, meritocracy, tyranny,
feudalism, ratios,the relationship between depth and pressure,
musical dynamics, six components of wellness, and the policies of
Winston Churchill can all be expressed in terms of: food, fashion,
music, dance, flora, fauna, architecture, minerals, weather, vehicles,
television shows, math, art, and literature.
Learning is to Analogy as Teaching is to _____________
• Identify the relationship between two elements: “Light
sprinkle is to torrential downpour” -- the second item
is a more intense version of the first one
• Determine what would constitute that same
relationship in a completely different domain – In what
other pair of items in a different domain is the second
item a more intense version of the first one? How
about: phrase/essay? smile/laughter?
penlight/lighthouse? Battery power/nuclear power?
bench/recliner? Seed/tree?
Common Analogous Relationships
Part : Whole
Whole : Part
Tool : Its Action
Tool user : Tool
Tool : Object It’s Used With
Worker: product he creates
Category : Example
Effect : Cause
Cause : Effect
Increasing Intensity
Decreasing Intensity
Person : closely related
Person : least related adjective
Math relationship
Effect : cause
Action : Thing Acted Upon
Action : Subject Performing the Action
Object or Place : Its User
Object : specific attribute of the object
Male : Female
Symbol : what it means
Classification/category : example
Noun : Closely Related Adjective
Elements Used : Product created
Attribute : person or object
Object : Where it’s located
Lack (such as drought/water – one thing lacks
the other)
Meaningful Arrangement and Patterns are Everything
Visuals and Graphics are Powerful!
When students are learning
vocabulary terms, significantly
more are learned when students
portray the words graphically
(ex: Shape spellings) instead of
defining terms and using them in
a sentence.
Students can portray Aristotle’s
Rhetorical Triangle (ethos,
pathos, logos) by juggling.
• A life-size photo of skeletal children feverishly sewing goods in a
garment factory as you discuss the rise of labor unions during the
industrial revolution.
• A book or a wizard’s hat would be appropriate symbols for
Hermione Granger in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
• A magnifying glass could trigger images of detective fiction’s
Sherlock Holmes.
• What’s a good visual symbol of the preterite in Spanish class?
What icon might remind students to focus on their target heart
rates in physical education class? Can you think of a suitable
symbol for an economic recession? What graphic would reinforce
the proper response of bystanders who see a classmate getting
bullied? And how would Democrats and Republicans symbolize
their own and each party’s main themes? Why is a particular
person in history or character in a novel best portrayed by a brake
pedal (because he slows forward progress of something) or a gas
pedal (because he speeds things up)?
(The gas/brake pedal metaphor is found in Kelly Gallagher’s Deeper Reading, Stenhouse
Publishers, 2005)
Creating and interpreting patterns of content, not
just content itself, creates a marketable skill in today’s
students. A look at data as indicating “peaks and
valleys” of growth over time, noticing a trend runs
parallel to another, or that a new advertising campaign
for dietary supplements merges four distinct worlds -Greco-Roman, retro-80’s, romance literature, and
suburbia – is currency for tomorrow’s employees.
To see this in a math curriculum, for example, look
at algebraic patterns. Frances Van Dyke’s A Visual
Approach to Algebra (Dale Seymour Publications,
A submarine submerges, rises up to the
surface, and submerges again. Its depth d is a
function of time t. (p.44)
A submarine submerges, rises up to the
surface, and submerges again. Its depth d is a
function of time t. (continued)
Consider the following graphs. Describe a situation that
could be appropriately represented by each graph. Give the quantity
measured along the horizontal axis as well as the quantity measured
along the vertical axis.
Statues (Body Sculpture)
Students work in small groups
using every groupmember’s body
to symbolically portray concepts
in frozen tableau.
Where does the learning occur?
Metaphors (Gallagher)
Square Peg, Round Hole
Brake Pedal, Gas Pedal
Billiards Table
Snow Globe
_______ is like a _______ because ________.
(William J. Gordon)
“The joining together of different and apparently
irrelevant elements,” or put more simply, “Making
the familiar strange.”
1. Teach a topic to students.
2. Ask students to describe the topic, focusing on descriptive
words and critical attributes.
3. Teacher identifies an unrelated category to compare to the
descriptions in #2. (Think of a sport that reminds you of
these words. Explain why you chose that sport.) Students
can choose the category, too.
4. Students write or express the analogy between the two: The
endocrine system is like playing zones in basketball. Each
player or gland is responsible for his area of the game.
4-Square Synectics
1. Brainstorm four objects from a particular category
(examples: kitchen appliances, household items, the circus,
forests, shopping malls).
2. In small groups, brainstorm what part of today’s learning is
similar in some way to the objects listed.
3. Create four analogies, one for each object.
Example: How is the human digestive system like each
household item: sink, old carpet, microwave, broom
Example: How is the Pythagorean Theorem like each musical
instrument: piano, drum set, electric guitar, trumpet?
Will ____ become the new ____?
Samples: Micro-fiber is the new suede.
Red is the new black.
Applied to k-12 curriculum:
• What is meant by the statement: “Decimals are the
new fractions?”
• Are PDA’s the new paper and pencil?
• Is a Constitutional republic the new representative
• Is M-Theory the new String Theory?
• Is this character the Atticus Finch of the story?
Petals Around the Rose
The name of the game is, “Petals
Around the Rose.” The name is
very important. For each roll of the
game, there is one answer, and I
will tell you that answer.
Petals Around the Rose
Petals Around the Rose
Clues to give students if they
All the math you need to solve
this problem you learn in
kindergarten or before.
The sequence of the dice
patterns has no bearing on the
Successful Thinkers…
Concede ignorance when they are ignorant.
Find out what’s going on.
Respect intellectuals and don’t deride them.
Speak out after doing their homework.
Examine superstitions.
Play thinking games and amuse themselves by
trying to answer puzzle questions.
• Become more informed about history than they are.
Successful Thinkers…
• Aren’t afraid to change their minds.
• Are aware that their opinions, assumptions, and
beliefs are often affected by peer-group pressure.
• Are realistically skeptical – even of leaders.
• Recognize that they have personal prejudices.
• Do not to fall in love with their first answers.
[from Steve Allen’s book, Dumbth: The Lost Art of Thinking: with 101 Ways to
Reason Better and Improve your Mind (Prometheus Books)]
The Gettysburg Address
Four score and seven years ago our fathers
brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived
in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men
are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil
war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so
conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are
met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to
dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place
for those who here gave their lives that that nation
might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we
should do this. But in a larger sense, we can not
dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who
struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor
power to add or detract…
Proficient Readers
Aoccdrnig to rseerach at an Elingsh
uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in what
order the ltteers in a word are, the olny
iprmoetnt tihnh is that the frist and lsat
ltteer is in the rghit pclae. The rset can
be a total mses and you can still raed it
outhit a porbelm. This is bcuseae we
do not raed ervey letetr by itslef, but
the word as a wlohe.
-- Sousa, p. 62
Reading Comprehension:
16 All-Time Best Practices
Create personal background where there is none.
Set or facilitate reading purpose.
Prime students’ minds.
Teach students how to monitor their own comprehension.
Use frequent and varied summarization techniques.
Use think-alouds.
Teach students “fix up” strategies to use when confused.
Make reading a transformative experience.
Reading Comprehension:
16 All-Time Best Practices
 Facilitate substantive and personal interaction with text.
 Teach vocabulary for its own sake.
 Ask students to write a lot, particularly as they come to
know content
 Teach text structures to students.
 Teach students metaphors and to think metaphorically.
 Teach students how to visualize text.
 Teach reading in context of content studies.
 Teach students how to adjust reading for different purposes
and texts.
Proficient Readers
Use “fix up” strategies when something is confusing
Monitor their own comprehension
Set purpose for reading
Use existing knowledge to make sense of new knowledge
Synthesize information
Ask questions throughout the reading process
Draw inferences
Determine what is important
-- Researcher/Educator F. David Pearson
Aren’t these the skills we want students to
have in all subject areas, not just reading?
Chronological Order
Definition and Key words: This involves putting facts, events, a
concepts into sequence using time references to order them.
Signal words include on (date), now, before, since, when, not
long after, and gradually.
“Astronomy came a long way in the 1500s and 1600s. In
1531, Halley’s Comet appeared and caused great panic. Just
twelve years later, however, Copernicus realized that the sun
was the center of the solar system, not the Earth, and
astronomy became a way to understand the natural world,
not something to fear. In the early part of the next century,
Galileo made the first observations with a new instrument –
the telescope. A generation later, Sir Issac Newton invented
the reflecting telescope, a close cousin to what we use
today. Halley’s Comet returned in 1682 and it was treated as
a scientific wonder, studied by Edmund Halley.”
Compare and Contrast
Defintion and Key words: Explains similarities and differences.
Signal words include however, as well as, not only, but,
while, unless, yet, on the other hand, either/or, although,
similarly, and unlike.
“Middle school gives students more autonomy than
elementary school. While students are asked to be
responsible for their learning in both levels, middle school
students have more pressure to follow through on
assignments on their own, rather than rely on adults. In
addition, narrative forms are used to teach most literacy
skills in elementary school. On the other hand, expository
writing is the way most information is given in middle
Cause and Effect
Definition and Key words: Shows how something happens
through the impact of something else. Signal words include
because, therefore, as a result, so that, accordingly, thus,
consequently, this led to, and nevertheless.
“Drug abusers often start in upper elementary school.
They experiment with a parent’s beer and hard liquor and
they enjoy the buzz they receive. They keep doing this and it
starts taking more and more of the alcohol to get the same
level of buzz. As a result, the child turns to other forms of
stimulation including marijuana. Since these are the initial
steps that usually lead to more hardcore drugs such as Angel
Dust (PCP), heroin, and crack cocaine, marijuana and alcohol
are known as “gateway drugs.” Because of their addictive
nature, these gateway drugs lead many youngsters who use
them to the world of hardcore drugs.”
Problem and Solution
Definition and Key words: Explains how a difficult situation, puzzle, or
conflict develops, then what was done to solve it. Signal words are the
same as Cause and Effect above.
“The carrying capacity of a habitat refers to the amount
of plant and animal life its resources can hold. For example,
if there are only 80 pounds of food available and there are
animals that together need more than 80 pounds of food to
survive, one or more animals will die – the habitat can’t
“carry” them. Humans have reduced many habitats’ carrying
capacity by imposing limiting factors that reduce its carrying
capacity such as housing developments, road construction,
dams, pollution, fires, and acid rain. So that they can
maintain full carrying capacity in forest habitats, Congress
has enacted legislation that protects endangered habitats
from human development or impact. As a result, these
areas have high carrying capacities and an abundance of
plant and animal life.”
Proposition and Support
Defintion and Key words: The author makes a general statement followed
by two or more supporting details. Key words include: In addition, also,
as well as, first, second, finally, in sum, in support of, therefore, in
“There are several reasons that teachers should create
prior knowledge in students before teaching important
concepts. First, very little goes into long-term memory
unless it’s attached to something already in storage. Second,
new learning doesn’t have the meaning necessary for longterm retention unless the student can see the context in
which it fits. Finally, the brain likes familiarity. It finds
concepts with which it is familiar compelling. In sum,
students learn better when the teacher helps students to
create personal backgrounds with new topics prior to
learning about them.
Definition and Key words: Focuses on listing facts,
characteristics, or features. Signal words include to begin
with, secondly, then, most important, in fact, for example,
several, numerous, first, next finally, also, for instance, and
in addition.
“The moon is our closest neighbor. It’s 250,000 miles
away. It’s gravity is only 1/6 that of Earth. This means a boy
weighing 120 pounds in Virginia would weigh only 20
pounds on the moon. In addition, there is no atmosphere
on the moon. The footprints left by astronauts back in 1969
are still there, as crisply formed as they were on the day they
were made. The lack of atmosphere also means there is no
water on the moon, an important problem when traveling
Be a Suspicious Reader
• How does this fit with what I know?
• What evidence does he offer for his
• Where is he going next?
• Am I safe with where this is going – How is
it affecting me?
• What is he not saying?
• Why is he presenting it this way?
Logical Fallacies
• Ad Hominem (Argument To The Man) -- Attacking the person instead
of attacking his argument: “Dr. Jones’ conclusions on ocean currents
are incorrect because he once plagiarized an research article.”
• Straw Man (Fallacy of Extension) -- Attacking an exaggerated version of
your opponent's position. "Senator Jones says that we should not fund
the attack submarine program. I disagree entirely. I can't understand
why he wants to leave us defenseless like that." *
• The Excluded Middle (False Dichotomy) -- Assuming there are only two
alternatives when in fact there are more. For example, assuming
Atheism is the only alternative to Fundamentalism, or being a traitor is
the only alternative to being a loud patriot. *
From Jim Morton’s’ “Practical Skeptic” website
Reading Notations
I agree with this.
I disagree with this.
I don’t understand this.
Wow! (‘Elicits a strong emotion)
General Claim
Evidence for the Claim
(These can be numbered to indicate
their sequence, too: EV1, EV2, EV3…)
Reading Math
[Adapted from Literacy Strategies for Improving Mathematics Instruction, Joan M.
Kenney, ASCD, 2005]
• Math books have more concepts per sentence and
paragraph than any other type of text.
• There is little redundancy in math text.
• Words as well as numbers and other symbols are
used throughout text.
• Eyes travel in different patterns than traditional
• There are often have distracting sidebars.
Journalistic vs. Encyclopedic Writing
“The breathing of Benbow’s pit is deafening,
like up-close jet engines mixed with a cosmic
belch. Each new breath from the volcano
heaves the air so violently my ears pop in the
changing pressure – then the temperature
momentarily soars. Somewhere not too far
below, red-hot, pumpkin size globs of ejected
lava are flying through the air.”
-- National Geographic, November 2000, p. 54
“A volcano is a vent in the Earth from which molten
rock (magma) and gas erupt. The molten rock that
erupts from the volcano (lava) forms a hill or
mountain around the vent. Lava may flowout as
viscous liquid, or it may explode from the vent as
solid or liquid particles…”
-- Global Encyclopedia, Vol. 19 T-U-V, p. 627
Sample Anticipation Guide
“AQOTWF is not an accusation nor a
confession, and least of all an adventure.”
“War changes people.”
“War forces people to reject traditional values
and civilized behavior.”
“Cruel trainers are the best instructors for
soldiers about to go to war.”
“True friendship endures all.”
“Whole generations are destroyed by war.”
is indifferent to mankind’s pain and
“To no man does the Earth mean so much as
to the soldier.”
“Every soldier believes in Chance.”
Me My Group Author
Components of Blood Content Matrix
Red Cells
Size &
White Cells
T-List or T-Chart: Wilson’s 14 Points
Main Ideas
Reasons President
Wilson Designed the
Plan for Peace
Three Immediate Effects
on U.S. Allies
created by the Plans
Cornell Note-Taking Format
[Summarize in
short phrases
or essential
questions next
to each block
of notes.]
[Write your
notes on this
Review -- Summarize (paragraph-style) your
points or responses to the questions. Reflect and
comment on what you learned.
Somebody Wanted But So
Somebody (characters)…
wanted (plot-motivation)…,
but (conflict)…,
so (resolution)… .
Something Happened And Then
Something (independent variable)…
happened (change in that independent
and (effect on the dependent
then (conclusion)… .
Narrowing the Topic
The Civil War
Is the topic narrow
enough to be focused,
but broad enough to
have plenty to write
Battles of the Civil War
Is the topic narrow
enough to be focused,
but broad enough to
have plenty to write
Battles of Gettysburg
Is the topic narrow
enough to be focused,
but broad enough to
have plenty to write
What was the “Fish
hook” strategy used at
the Battle of Gettysburg?
Yeah. That’s it.
Writing Tips
• Writers need fivethings to write well:
• Ask students to write a lot – every day is not too much.
We don’t learn to swim by staring at the water. From
1998 NAEP Study: There’s a strong correlation between
the amount of writing students did and how well they
scored on reading assessments. (p. 145, Gallagher)
• If students are anxious about their writing, have them
write under a pseudonym known only to you.
Writing Tips
• Start small. Have the first writings be only a few
sentences or lines.
• The best thinking for most writers comes after 15
to 20 minutes of writing.
• “If a student knows that her writing will be
evaluated with heavy emphasis on mechanics and
spelling, she will: use only words she’s sure she can
spell, keep sentences simple to avoid making
mistakes, avoid any unusual punctuation
situations, stick to ordinary structures, all of which
adds up to no risk, no stretching, little growth, and
even less excitement or discovery.”
-- Author and Writing Teacher, Marjorie Frank
Writing Tips
• “What you can say, you can write.”
-- Marjorie Frank
• Writing is teaching the reader, and teaching is
a very effective way to learn.
• We can write our way into a basic
understanding of anything.
• Writing is primarily a thinking process, not
putting marks on paper process.
• Immerse students in models. They will
outgrow them.
Writing Tips
• Writing makes us vulnerable. Treat students’
writing with elevated sensitivity.
• Tell students to write a paper that begs to be read
• Every sentence must further the message or it
should be tossed.
• Avoid turning students into parrots.
Writing Concisely
Avoid Redundancies and Saying the Same thing in different ways: 
more additions, absolutely certain/essential/necessary, advance
forward, 2:00 a.m. in the morning, baby puppy/kitten, blended
together, brief moment, deliberate lie, foreign imports, necessary
requirement, old antique, orbiting satellite, preliminary draft,
proceed ahead, raise up, refer back, repeat over, tiny particle, true
facts, unexpected surprise, violent explosion, visible to the eye,
while at the same time.
Cut to the Chase:
“A small number of people” – “three people”
“His whole speech bothered me.” – “His speech bothered me.”
-- William Brohaugh’s book, Write Tight, 1993, Writer’s Digest Books
Students edit, not the teachers.
Shorten text and edit daily.
Assess students’ editing and revising.
If helpful, edit in waves.
Emphasize the power of editing and revision:
“Great books are never written; they are always
re-written.” -- Michael Crichton
Some Great “Silver Bullets” from Janet Allen:
• Vocabulary development is directly
proportional to time spent reading.
• Three avenues to effective vocabulary
instruction: integration, repetition, and
meaningful use. (Nagy et al., 1988)
• Teach no more than 8 to 10 new words
outside of reading per week.
• Don’t ask students to write sentences with
the vocabulary terms until they’ve studied
them in depth.
• Use words over and over in natural flow of
conversation – model, model, model –
normalize their use. Have students practice
saying the words – even choral recitation –
just to visualize themselves saying it.
• Definition approach is ineffective by itself.
(Baumann and Kameenui, 1991)
• Relying solely on context clues is often
ineffective, but knowing the definition with
context clues can be very effective.
(Baumann and Kameenui, 1991)
Help with Paraphrasing
• Build students’ vocabulary and verbal dexterity. Post word
banks. Use vocabulary immersion.
• Provide repeated experiences with varied sentence
combinations and word play.
• Use repeated think-alouds of a paraphraser at work from
both teacher and students.
• Provide ample opportunities to assess paraphrasings of
original text or experience.
• Allow students to copy models -- They’ll outgrow them.
• Take a page from the active listening lessons -- “So what
you’re saying is…”
• Provide repeated experiences with encapsulation such as
creating newspaper headlines.
• Play renaming and clue games such as Password, Taboo, and
$25,000 Pyramid.
Great Vocabulary
Acquisition Ideas
Shape spellings
Restaurant Menu
Wanted Dead or Alive Posters
Taboo Cards
Vocabulary Rummy Cards
Competitive Conversation
using vocabulary
Word Walls
The Frayer Model
[Frayer, Frederick, Klausmeier, 1969]
Non- Essential
< Topic >
Taboo Cards
One-Word Summaries
“The new government regulations for the meatpacking industry in the 1920’s could be seen as an
“Picasso’s work is actually an argument for….,”
“NASA’s battle with Rockwell industries over the
warnings about frozen temperatures and the O-rings
on the space shuttle were trench warfare….”
Basic Idea: Argue for or against the word as a good
description for the topic.
Exclusion Brainstorming
The student identifies the word/concept that does not
belong with the others, then either orally or in writing
explains his reasoning:
• Mixtures – plural, separable, dissolves, no formula
• Compounds – chemically combined, new properties, has
formula, no composition
• Solutions – heterogeneous mixture, dissolved particles,
saturated and unsaturated, heat increases
• Suspensions – clear, no dissolving, settles upon standing,
larger than molecules
3 – Identify three characteristics of Renaissance art
that differed from art of the Middle Ages
2 – List two important scientific debates that occurred
during the Renaissance
1 – Provide one good reason why “rebirth” is an
appropriate term to describe the Renaissance
3 – List three applications for slope, y-intercept
knowledge in the professional world
2 – Identify two skills students must have in order to
determine slope and y-intercept from a set of points
on a plane
1 – If (x1, y1) are the coordinates of a point W in a
plane, and (x2, y2) are the coordinates of a different
point Y, then the slope of line WY is what?
Word Morphology:
Teach Prefixes, Roots, and Suffixes!
Mal – badly, poor
Meta – beyond, after,
Mis – incorrect, bad
Mono – one
Multi – many
Neo – new
Non – not
Ob, of, op, oc – toward,
Oct – eight
Paleo – ancient
Para – beside, almost
Penta – five
Per – throughout, completely
Peri – around
Poly – many
Post – after
Pre – before
Pseudo – false
Concept Ladder
(J.W. Gillet, C. Temple, 1986, as described in Inside Words, Janet Allen)
Causes of:
Effects of:
Language associated with:
Words that mean the same as:
Historical examples:
Contemporary examples:
Evidence of:
Literature connections made:
“Word Link”
1. Each student gets a word.
2. In partners, students share the link(s)
between their individual words.
3. Partner team joins another partner team,
forming a “word cluster.”
4. All four students identify the links among
their words and share those links with the
-- Yopp, Ruth Helen. “Word Links: A Strategy for Developing Word
Knowledge,” Voices in the Middle, Vol. 15, Number 1, September 2007,
National Council Teachers of English
In-Out Game: Students determine the classification a
teacher’s statements exemplify, then they confirm their
hypothesis by offering elements “in the club” and elements
“out of the club.” They don’t identify the club, just the items
in and out of it. If the students’ suggestions fit the pattern,
the teacher invites them to be a part of the club. The game
continues until everyone is a member.
Example: She is in the club but the class is not. They are in the club, but
the penguins are not. You are in the club, but the donuts are not. Give
me something in and out of the club.” A student guesses correctly that
the club is for personal pronouns, so she says, “We are in the club, but
moon rocks are not.” To make it a bit more complex, announce the club’s
elements and non-elements in unusual ways that must also be
exemplified by the students, such as making all the items in and out of the
club alliterative or related in some way. This can be as obvious or as
complex as you want it to be.
Extreme Vocabulary
(Making Words Their Own: Building Foundations for Powerful Vocabulary, 2008)
Distribute word pairs of opposites.
In partners, students place these words at opposite ends of a continuum
drawn on paper (or hung as tent cards on rope), and in between the
extremes, they place words that fall along the continuum of meaning. For
example -- extremes of temperature: Freezing --- Cold --- Tepid --- Warm --Hot --- Boiling
Once students ge the idea, try something more complex, such as
inconsolable and carefree. Where would despondent fit? How about
concerned, content, worried, and satisfied? As students discuss the proper
positioning of the words and physically move the tent cards back and forth,
students draw on visual cues and cement the definitions in their minds. If
finding the specific words to go between the two extremes is difficult at first,
provide suggestions that students study then place in the sequence.
Ask students to explain their rationale for their choices and positions.
Classmates critique their decisions. Does “inconsolable---despondent--–
worried--–concerned--–content--–satisfied--–carefree” work sequentially?
Why or why not?
• Groups of students line up according to criteria.
Each student holds an index card identifying what
he or she is portraying.
• Students discuss everyone’s position with one
another -- posing questions, disagreeing, and
explaining rationales.
Students can line-up according to:
chronology, sequences in math problems, components
of an essay, equations, sentences, verb tense,
scientific process/cycle, patterns: alternating,
category/example, increasing/decreasing degree,
chromatic scale, sequence of events, cause/effect,
components of a larger topic, opposites, synonyms
Human Continuum
Human Continuum
Use a human continuum. Place a long strip of
masking tape across the middle of the floor, with
an "Agree" or “Yes” taped at one end, and
"Disagree" or “No” at the other end. Put a notch
in the middle for those unwilling to commit to
either side. Read statements about the day’s
concepts aloud while students literally stand
where they believe along the continuum. Be
pushy – ask students to defend their positions.
“Haunker Hawser”
Supplies: 100-foot rope, two pairs of gloves,
two crates or two, round wood boards:
Ropes Course Games
Ropes Course Games
Electric Fence (Getting over triangle fence without
Spider Web (Pass bodies through “webbing”
withot ringing the attached bells)
Group Balance (2’X2’ platform on which everyone
stands and sings a short song)
Nitro-glycerin Relocation (previous slide)
Trust Falls (circle style or from a chair)
• Mindware: www.mindwareonline.com (1-800-999-0398)
• Fluegelman, Andrew, Editor. The New Games Book, Headlands Press
Book, Doubeday and Company, New York, 1976
• Henton, Mary (1996) Adventure in the Classroom. Dubuque, Iowa:
Kendall Hunt
• Lundberg, Elaine M.; Thurston, Cheryl Miller. (1997) If They’re
Laughing… Fort Collins, Colorado: Cottonwood Press, Inc.
• Rohnke, K. (1984). Silver Bullets. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall Hunt.
• Rohnke, K. & Butler, S. (1995). QuickSilver. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall Hunt
• Rohnke, K. (1991). The Bottomless Bag Again. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall
• Rohnke, K. (1991). Bottomless Baggie. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall Hunt
• Rohnke, K. (1989). Cowstail and Cobras II. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall Hunt
Great Resources on Cognitive Science:
• Begin with NMSA publications on the unique nature of the
young adolescent mind!
•David Sousa – How the Brain Learns, How the Special
Needs Brain Learns, How Brain Learns to Read, How the
Gifted Brain Learns, How the Brain Learns Math, How
the Brain Influences Behavior, How the Brain Learns in t
he Differentiated Classroom (with Carol Ann Tomlinson,
• Pat Wolfe – Brain Matters
• Eric Jensen – Different Brains, Different Learners, and others
• Marilee Sprenger – How to Teach So Students Remember
• Barbara Strauch – The Primal Teen
• John Medina – Brain Rules
• Robin Fogarty – anything by her
Great Resources to Further
your Thinking and Repertoire
• Armstrong, Thomas. Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom. 2nd Edition,
ASCD, 1994, 2000
• Beers, Kylene. (2003) When Kids Can’t Read What Teachers
Can Do, Heineman
• Beers, Kylene and Samuels, Barabara G. (1998) Into Focus:
Understanding and Creating Middle School Readers. Christopher-Gordon
Publishers, Inc.
• Benjamin, Amy. Differentiating Instruction: A Guide for Middle and High
School Teachers, Eye on Education, 2002
• Burke, Kay. What to Do With the Kid Who…: Developing
Cooperation, Self-Discipline, and Responsibility in the
Classroom, Skylight Professional Development, 2001
• Forsten, Char; Grant, Jim; Hollas, Betty. Differentiated Instruction:
Different Strategies for Different Learners, Crystal Springs Books, 2001
• Forsten, Char: Grant, Jim; Hollas, Betty. Differentiating Textbooks:
Strategies to Improve Student Comprehension and Motivation, Crystal
Springs Books
• Frender, Gloria. Learning to Learn: Strengthening Study Skills and Brain
Power, Incentive Publications, Inc., 1990
Great Resources to Further
your Thinking and Repertoire
Glynn, Carol. Learning on their Feet: A Sourcebook for
Kinesthetic Learning Across the Curriculum, Discover
Writing Press, 2001
Heacox, Diane, Ed.D. Making Differentiation a Habit, Free Spirit Publishing, 2009
Heacox, Diane, Ed.D. Differentiated Instruction in the Regular Classroom, Grades
3 – 12, Free Spirit Publishing, 2000
Hyerle, David. A Field Guide to Visual Tools, ASCD, 2000
Jensen, Eric. Different Brains, Different Learners
Lavoie, Richard. How Difficult Can This Be? The F.A.T.
City Workshop, WETA Video, P.O. box 2626, Washington, D.C.,
20013-2631 (703) 998-3293. The video costs $49.95. Also
available at www.Ldonline.
Levine, Mel. All Kinds of Minds
Levine, Mel. The Myth of Laziness
Marzano, Robert J. A Different Kind of Classroom: Teaching with Dimensions of
Learning, ASCD, 1992.
Marzano, Robert J.; Pickering, Debra J.; Pollock, Jane E. Classroom Instruction
that Works: Research-based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement,
ASCD, 2001
Northey, Sheryn. Handbook for Differentiated Instruction, Eye on Education,
Purkey, William W.; Novak, John M. Inviting School Success: A Self-Concept
Approach to Teaching and Learning, Wadsworth Publishing, 1984
Rogers, Spence; Ludington, Jim; Graham, Shari. Motivation & Learning: Practical
Teaching Tips for Block Schedules, Brain-Based Learning, Multiple Intelligences,
Improved Student Motivation, Increased Achievement, Peak Learning Systems,
Evergreen, CO. 1998, To order, call: 303-679-9780
Rutherford, Paula. Instruction for All Students, Just ASK Publications, Inc (703)
535-5432, 1998
Sousa, David. How the Special Needs Brain Learns, Corwin Press, 2001
Sprenger, Marilee. How to Teach So Students Remember, ASCD, 2005
Sternberg, Robert J.; Grigorenko, Elena L. Teaching for Successful Intelligence: To
Increase Student Learning and Achievement, Skylight Training and Publishing,
Strong, Richard W.; Silver, Harvey F.; Perini, Matthew J.; Tuculescu, Gregory M.
Reading for Academic Success: Powerful Strategies for Struggling, Average, and
Advanced Readers, Grades 7-12, Corwin Press, 2002
Tomlinson, Carol Ann -Fulfilling the Promise of the Differentiated Classroom, ASCD, 2003
How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms, ASCD, 1995
The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners, ASCD,
At Work in the Differentiated Classroom (VIDEO), ASCD, 2001
Differentiation in Practice: A Resource Guide for Differentiating Curriculum,
Grades 5-9. ASCD, 2003 (There’s one for K-5 and 9-12 as well)
Integrating, with Jay McTighe, 2006, ASCD (This combines UBD and DI)
Tovani, Cris. I Read It, But I Don’t Get It. Stenhouse Publishers, 2001
Wolfe, Patricia. Brain Matters: Translating Research into Classroom Practice,
ASCD, 2001
Wormeli, Rick. Metaphors & Analogies: Power Tools for Teaching any Subject,
Stenhouse Publishers, 2009.
Wormeli, Rick. Differentiation: From Planning to Practice, Grades 6-12,
Stenhouse Publishers, 2007
Wormeli, Rick. Fair Isn’t Always Equal: Assessment and Grading in the
Differeniated Classroom, Stenhouse 2006
Wormeli, Rick. Summarization in Any Subject, ASCD, 2005
Wormeli, Rick. Day One and Beyond, Stenhouse Publishers, 2003
Wormeli, Rick. Meet Me in the Middle, Stenhouse Publishers, 2001