Instructional Activities

Practicing Strategy: Quiz, Quiz, Trade

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • May 6, 2019, 2:21 p.m.

As students work to build skill automaticity and accuracy, we want to avoid death by worksheet and provide fun ways for students to process, practice, and strengthen important neural pathways. One instructional activity that always delivers is the Kagan collaborative learning strategy Quiz/Quiz/Trade.

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Summer Reader's Theatre Club

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • May 6, 2019, 2:18 p.m.

Looking for a FUN summer reading opportunity to keep your students reading all summer long? Try hosting a Reader's Theater group with your school or community. Invite students from kindergarten through twelfth grade to join in on the fun!


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Rally Coach as a Micro-Intervention

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • April 23, 2019, 11:05 a.m.

When students are developing skills or strategies, they sometimes need coaching to move them to mastery. The Kagan strategy Rally Coach can be a perfect micro-intervention for helping students achieve the daily learning targets.

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Intentional Pair Shares

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • March 13, 2019, 2:05 p.m.

How can we get all our students to share their thinking? When setting up for pair shares, students should always know ahead of time who their share partner will be. They should have a title or designation to help them know who will talk and who will listen. Each time students are going to pair share, direct specific students to start the conversation. For example, say "Partner A: explain why you think the character..." Give students a short amount of time to explain and then say something like "Partner B: Do you agree or disagree with A? Is there evidence in the text to support your thinking?"

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Word Clouds

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Dec. 10, 2018, 8:54 a.m.

A word cloud is an image composed of words or phrases. Individually or as a team, students create an image in which the size of each word or phrase indicates its importance to the overall meaning of the topic or text. Word clouds can be created for concepts, characters, events, and themes across content areas.


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Quick Writes in Action

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Oct. 8, 2018, 9:34 a.m.

We love to show ideas from our newsletter and seminars in action! You have probably heard and read some of our posts about quick writes. It is one of the best instructional strategies for building writing stamina and confidence. Here are two educators who used quick writes in September!

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Micro-Interventions: Are We Taking Action Quickly?

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Oct. 8, 2018, 8:56 a.m.

Using the success criteria, teachers can closely monitor learning and provide timely feedback about each students' progress or lack there of. The goal is to watch for students to demonstrate the success criteria. If they aren't able to demonstrate the daily learning target, then we must think about what is keeping them from doing so and take action quickly. Is there a gap or misconception that needs to be addressed in order to move students forward?

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Math Quick Writes

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Sept. 10, 2018, 9:58 a.m.

Writing in mathematics is a critical component for developing deep conceptual understanding. Math quick writes are a great way to get students thinking and explaining math concepts and relationships. A quick write is an opportunity for students to think about a specific topic or respond to a math-related question. The goal is to activate prior knowledge, make connections, and explore ideas. Any question or task that requires comprehension or analysis can be turned into a quick write.

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New Tools for Quick Writes

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Aug. 7, 2018, 9:54 a.m.

Quick writes are a great way to kick off a writer’s workshop, or any class really. Give students a short prompt and ask them to write as much as they can, as well as they can, as quick as they can. Set a timer for one, three or even five minutes and let students write or "drite" (drawing + writing) about the prompt. 


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25 Days of Quick Writes

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Oct. 10, 2017, 4:09 p.m.

Writer’s Workshop should start and end with writing connected texts.
Quick writes are a great way to kick off writer’s workshop or any class, really.
Tell students to write as much as they can, as good as they can, as quick as they can. Set a timer for one to five minutes.

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