Instructional strategies are wonderful tools for varying your teaching approach. They can be used to help your students check their understanding, consolidate their learning, and become more independent in their work. With our list of 58 varied ideas, we’ve got plenty of inspiration to help you discover techniques that cater to different learning styles and ages. Dive right in to find your new favorite strategy!
Ever tried to implement the trifecta of critical thinking in your teaching and failed? Give Think-Pair-Share a spin1 You can start off with a solo approach whereby each of your students quietly reflects on a question. Next, you can get them to pair up and share their thoughts before filling the whole class in on what they came up with!
Learn More: Lams Learning Medium
2. Jigsaw Learning
Jigsaw learning, otherwise described as cooperative learning, is a fantastic approach for building comprehension and facilitating group work in a fun way! Your classroom will turn into an expert factory as each of your kiddos takes a deep dive into a different subtopic. They’ll then reassemble and share their newfound expertise with each other.
Learn More: Learning Currents
3. Graphic Organizers
For those who prefer learning with visual aids, graphic organizers are a must! Whether you make use of flow charts, Venn diagrams, or mind maps in your classroom learning- any of these tools can help you unlock a world of understanding for your kiddies.
Learn More: Very Well Family
4. Role Play
Lights, camera, action! Have your learners step into the shoes of historic figures or embody abstract concepts with this fun role-playing idea. This super fun and immersive way of learning will help the content to stay with them for years!
Learn More: YouTube
5. Station Teaching
Transform your classroom into a competitive arena for an exciting relay race of knowledge! Start by placing your learners into small groups and then prompt them to get moving around your classroom to complete various activities that you’ll set out at stations around the room.
Learn More: Ecole Globale
6. Socratic Seminar
Socratic Seminars serve as a platform for student-led discussions that’ll sharpen questioning, critical thinking, and dialogue skills. Perfect for your older students, you’ll encourage them to engage in formal discussions and employ a whole host of active listening techniques to inform a second round of debate. How very civilized!
Learn More: eSchool News
7. Peer Tutoring
Kick back and relax! Why not let your students take a shot at teaching for a change!? We’re joking of course- you’ll still need to be on hand to support your kids and encourage them to engage, but they’re sure to love this lesson that flips the traditional classroom roles on their heads! Either as a one-on-one or in small groups, they’ll be learning by teaching one another!
Learn More: Emergent Tutoring
8. Project-Based Learning
Let your learners roam free in the wild world of self-guided research! You’ll need to kick things off with a question or challenge, but from there, they’re at the helm; charting a course through the seven steps of their project. You’ll be amazed at what your little researchers will discover!
Learn More: Literacy In Focus
9. Inquiry-Based Learning
Inquiry-based learning can be likened to a detective agency- where questions can be the key to unlocking the door to a whole world of new knowledge for your kiddos. This strategy allows you to encourage your students to don the hats of investigators and has them engage in probing, exploring, and experimenting to find answers. This strategy is sure to get them fired up for learning!
Learn More: Teacher PH
10. Mnemonic Devices
Did you know that ROYGBIV isn’t just a random collection of letters, but a powerful tool to remember the colors of the rainbow? Level up your students’ learning by teaching them some other mnemonic memory-boosting techniques or have them come up with their own!
Learn More: YouTube
11. Flipped Classroom
Buckle up for a role reversal like never before! Homework time transforms into a mini film festival where your kiddies will engage with a whole bunch of educational videos. This cool strategy has your learners engage with educational material at home meaning that there’s more time to actually work on applying the knowledge and getting feedback when they’re in school! Genius!
Learn More: YouTube
12. Virtual Field Trips
Who said classrooms are bound by four walls? With technology, you can effortlessly transport your students to far-off places right from the comfort of their desks. Recently, a whole bunch of museums have created virtual tours that can be accessed for free from their websites!
Learn More: The Journal
13. Exit Tickets
Think of exit tickets as a thoughtful adieu at the end of each class. Hand these out five minutes before you dismiss your class and let them reflect and write down what they remember or any lingering questions they may have about the day’s learning. You can then use what they write to help you plan your next lesson.
Learn More: The Art Of Education
14. Cooperative Learning
There’s strength in unity, and this approach proves it! Have your students come together to chase a set of common goals; fostering team spirit and collaboration while learning. To take on this strategy you’ll need to carefully plan your tasks and groupings to ensure your kiddos are set up for success!
Learn More: Continental Press
15. Hands-on Activities
Ever noticed how a child learns to tie shoelaces faster by doing rather than seeing? That’s the power of hands-on activities! Abstract concepts take on a tangible, understandable form meaning that your kiddies pick them up far faster. You’d be surprised at some of the creative ways you can make even the most boring lessons more hands-on!
Learn More: Begin Learning
16. Guided Reading
The love for reading is a lifelong gift. Foster a love of reading by employing guided reading sessions in your classroom where you’ll help them unravel the beauty of words, one page at a time! Use these sessions to develop their questioning skills and encourage them to develop a deeper understanding than just the words on the page!
Learn More: Learning A-Z
17. Brain Breaks
All work and no play can make learning a dull affair. Break up the monotony and keep energy levels high with these short, fun activities to get your kids up and moving. These brain breaks are the perfect way to reset their minds in between lessons or bring their focus back after an exciting recess!
Learn More: Twinkl
No doubt that you find complex concepts can be rather tricky for your learners to grasp. But, what if you could explain them using everyday things? That’s what analogies do! They help you to clarify concepts and your kiddies’ thinking by enabling them to visualize these abstract concepts.
Learn More: Language Tool
19. Fishbowl Discussions
This technique gives your learners an opportunity to encounter and respond to differing viewpoints. Start by having some of your students discuss whilst others observe the discussion quietly; then, they switch roles! This way, everyone gets an opportunity to engage and benefit from the fishbowl discussion whilst also having a chance to properly digest the points that are made by others.
Learn More: Slide Player
20. Goal Setting
Empower your kiddos to chart their academic journey by setting goals. By setting and tracking their own goals, they’ll learn how to take a self-directional approach to learning. This can also be a super way to keep them motivated throughout the year. Make sure you also take time to reflect on their progress and re-evaluate their goals as the year goes on.
Learn More: Kison
21. Reciprocal Teaching
Looking to switch up your traditional classroom routine? Take a step back as students rotate and take on different roles in a guided discussion about a certain topic or piece of text. By giving them roles, they’ll be able to dive deep into their understanding and questioning, making for a really rich group discussion!
Learn More: YouTube
22. Mind Mapping
Learning meets artistry as you teach your students how to use mind maps. They’re perfect for helping your kiddies broaden their knowledge, recall information, and boost creativity. The visual display of information will also help them to make connections between different topics as well as keep the information organized in a straightforward way.
Learn More: Mind Mapper
23. Choice Boards
What’s on the menu today? With choice boards, a buffet of activities awaits your learners! Each of these activities will help them to build their skills in a new area of learning. All you’ll need to do is print off the boards, then let your kiddos tick off the activities one at a time!
Learn More: The Collaborative Class
24. Differentiated Instruction
Everybody’s unique, and learning journeys are no different! Differentiation is an important part of our planning as teachers and it’s essential we tailor the learning to all the different learning capabilities in our classroom. There are a whole bunch of differentiation strategies to try out so that all your students can thrive!
Learn More: Structural Learning
25. Silent Discussions
Ever tried a silent discussion? This fun activity is a fantastic way to get your kiddos to engage in a written dialogue exercise; dynamically exchanging ideas and learning with a classmate. The best part is that all their ideas are recorded, so all their excellent discussion points are saved for future discussion!
Learn More: David Rickert
What kids don’t love games? Turn your lessons into intriguing quests with the gamification technique! This is an amazing way to spark a little friendly competition and gives your kiddos a chance to use what they’ve learned in a fun and challenging way!
Learn More: Hurix
27. Cold Call
Pop quiz anyone? Cold calling isn’t just a sales technique, it’s also a super teaching strategy! To use this inclusive approach to learning you’ll randomly pose questions and give a few learners an opportunity to explain how they reached the answer.
Learn More: Teacher Head
28. Self and Peer Assessment
This strategy is a s great one to encourage reflection and cut down on your marking! Encourage your kids to pair up in order to assess, appreciate, and advise on each others’ work. This shared task is a super strategy to foster a culture of constructive feedback and shared growth in your classroom.
Learn More: YouTube
By guiding your students through a process or skill, step-by-step, you create a clear path for them to follow. Modeling has been proven to reduce errors, break the monotony, and fill in the gaps of missing knowledge. You can go a step further by modeling a few different ways to complete a task and see which ones your kids find make the most sense to them!
Learn More: Teach Hub
Ignite the intellectual battlefield by engaging your students in friendly debates. They can unleash their critical thinking and channel their persuasive prowess- all whilst enhancing their understanding of new content! Just pick out an interesting topic or question to get them fired up then let them talk it out!
Learn More: Youth Incorporated Magazine
31. Reflective Journals
Reflective journals are one of the best ways to help your kiddos get to grips with their own learning, progress, and feelings. Invite your learners to jot down their thoughts and feelings about their school day and their learning journey. By writing about their successes and mistakes, they’ll develop greater awareness of where they’re going right and where they need to improve.
Learn More: Wellman Psychology
Questioning might seem like an obvious instructional strategy, but it deserves a place on our list nonetheless. The key to using questioning is to ensure your questions are broad and encourage your kiddos to deepen their thinking and make connections in their learning.
Learn More: IRIS Connect
33. Concept Maps
Similar to mind mapping, you can invite your students to draw their understanding! Concept maps, depicting relationships and significant elements, are great for clearing up any grey areas in learning before moving on to more complex content. Why not give this strategy a go in your next topic?
Learn More: LSC Cornell
34. Cue Cards
Cue cards may seem simple, but there’s a reason that their place in the classroom has remained secure for years! Each card, whether it shows a question, a prompt, or a fact, can be used to aid revision or prompt discussion. You can create a set for your kids or have them come up with their own and test each other!
Learn More: YouTube
35. Group Investigation
Collaboration meets exploration with this learning methodology! Assign a range of different topics to small groups of learners and have them conduct an in-depth investigation and prepare an insightful presentation. They’ll love the chance to take charge and get hands-on, then tell everyone else about what they learned.
Learn More: Steemit
36. Word Walls
Word walls act as a visual glossary that your students can reference at any time. These nifty tools convert your classroom walls into a vocabulary treasure trove! You can add spelling words, commonly misspelled words, or even words relating to your current topic. Not only will it be a great learning aid for your class, but it’ll also make for a lovely display!
Learn More: Edutopia
37. Convergent and Divergent Thinking
Your students will need to practice higher-level thinking in all of their classes. You can challenge them by providing prompts with a variety of responses (divergent thinking) or a prompt with a complete set of data with a singular solution (convergent thinking).
Learn More: Prodigy Game
Mastering both common and subject-specific vocabulary is a surefire way for your kiddies to improve their learning outcomes. You can ensure they’re learning this important vocabulary by incorporating new words into their daily routine by previewing terms, including the terms in instruction, reviewing the terms, and modeling the use of new vocabulary in discussions.
Learn More: EL Education
All students, from pre-school through post-graduate levels, can benefit from visual representation. By implementing graphs, images, videos, and mind maps in your teaching, you’ll help solidify the information in their long-term memory.
Learn More: Mrs. Richardson’s Class
40. Note-Taking Skills
Effective note-taking is an essential skill that your kiddos will need throughout their school life! Not one technique will work for all students, so teachers should introduce various methods. Children can establish a note-taking habit that could include summarizing, bullet points, or visual aids.
Learn More: Read And Spell
41. Independent Study
When younger children start school, they should be given opportunities to improve their autonomy. As they reach secondary school, the skills of self-motivation and responsibility will support them through independent study. Independent study could cover a wide range of content areas through online learning, research projects, or apprenticeships.
Learn More: University Of Waterloo
Your kiddos have access to a lot of technology and as a teacher, you’ll have to compete for your students’ attention sometimes. Microlearning takes key concepts and breaks the content into smaller pieces, and the content is written to be highly accessible and engaging. What a super way to build up their understanding of topics as they move from one mini-lesson to the next!
Learn More: Open Stax
Every day you use metacognition and you probably don’t even realize you’re doing it! Take the opportunity to share your internal thought processes (or metacognition) with children. By explaining your thinking in real-time, they’ll be able to develop their own thought processes.
Learn More: Brookings
44. KWWL Chart
We often provide our students with note-taking tools, such as the classic KWL grid. This updated chart includes a column for your students to locate the sources they will use to gather information, ranging from books to anchor charts to websites.
Learn More: Ms. Francine’s Website
45. Case Studies
A great way to teach your kiddos about something is by giving them a real-life example. An easy strategy you can integrate to support your learning content is case studies. Use case studies to focus on one individual or one location and provide a significant amount of detail to help your learners to apply their knowledge in an engaging way!
Learn More: Boston University
When you’re introducing a new concept or unit, it’s a good idea to incorporate activators into the learning process! This strategy gets your learners to start thinking before the content is presented. To implement this strategy you can use brainstorming, quick writes, or icebreakers to allow your students to open their minds to a concept.
Learn More: Comprehension Connection
47. Multisensory Learning
As a teacher, you have to introduce new concepts on a daily basis. The majority of these concepts are usually shared with your kiddos through written or spoken words but another effective teaching strategy incorporates the other senses, Multisensory learning is the perfect way to build a stronger foundation for their long-term retention of information!
Learn More: Lexicon Reading Center
48. Anchor Charts
Anchor charts are an amazing way to introduce a topic to your children. This colorful instructional tool can be hung in the classroom for them to reference the concepts as they continue with their learning. Why not give this instructional strategy a go at the start of your next topic?
Learn More: Teach Simple
49. Mathematical Problem-Solving
Math is something your kiddos will practice over and over again until they master foundational concepts. A great way to really make this learning stick with them is by incorporating real-world problems to help them understand these important concepts and why they’ll need them in their future lives!
Learn More: Fort Hayes State University
Everyone knows that children love stories but as our students get older, we often make the mistake of telling fewer stories. Why not use storytelling as a “hook” for a lesson or unit and get your kiddos fired up for their learning? This is an excellent strategy for any grade and works well in any subject!
Learn More: Waterford
51. The Muddiest Point
It’s a given that we should use formative assessment strategies to help plan and adjust our instruction. This great formative assessment tool has your students identify the concept still confusing them the most, or the “muddiest point” This method will give you information to plan whole and small-group activities, as well as encourage some independent practice!
Learn More: Learning And Teaching Hub
Our students are exposed to a tremendous amount of information as they move through school. One skill they’re sure to need will be to take a bunch of information and summarize it in a way they understand! The thinking behind this is that if they can explain a concept in their own words, they’re more likely to remember it.
Learn More: Happy Teacher Momma
53. One-minute Response
Are you looking for a quick formative check of your kiddos’ understanding or feedback on a lesson? In that case, a one-minute response is an excellent strategy! You’ll give your students a clear prompt, with only one minute to respond and the information gathered can be used as a snapshot to inform your instruction moving forward!
Learn More: Northern Illinois University
54. Parking Lot
Teachers don’t always have time to answer student questions immediately, but it’s important that we try to circle back to them! If you find yourself short on time or unsure about an answer, you can create a ‘parking lot’ in your classroom. This designated area of wall space means that no question will ever go unanswered again!
Learn More: Teacher Vision
55. Hand Signals
When your students are engaged, they’re far more likely to retain information and stay on task. Using hand signals in your classroom will allow them to respond without stopping a lesson and, even better, they don’t require any additional materials. Be sure you have shared and modeled clear expectations and model hand signals with your kiddos to get this off the ground.
Learn More: Plymouth Community School
56. Student Self-Assessments
When you are walking around the room providing support, it’s handy to have a way to check in on all students. By introducing a communication system, like red-yellow-green cups, you can identify who needs help at any given moment, and this process will keep the learning environment running smoothly.
Learn More: Better Lesson
57. Four Corners
Your learners are asked to answer questions all day long and this can get a bit boring. Introducing this activity and getting them to move around your room and engage in conversation is sure to shake things up! All you need to do is designate four corners then ask a question! You could consider using the letters A-D or different colors to represent answer choices or strongly agree through strongly disagree for opinion-based questions.
Learn More: The Edvocate
If you teach older students and they are ready to experience a concept you have covered, simulations are an excellent next step! Your middle and high school kiddos will be challenged with these online simulations that require them to apply their knowledge to get the digital experiments to work!
Learn More: PBS