Effective Instructional Strategies Explained… These are the Good Ones!


It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted the more ineffective strategies… NOW! For the good ones! Again, as I said in my first post, a BALANCE of the different approaches is needed! Here’s the link to the strategies to limit (more Ineffective Strategies)
Whole Language approach: Also called, the “Top to bottom approach,” and is contrasted to a phonics or skills based approach to decoding and spelling. The philosophy here is to focus on meaning and strategy instruction, literature-based or integrated instruction. Many of the next strategies are a part of a whole language philosophy. When looking at second language learners, including Deaf children, this philosophy and approach to language is critical! This one will get its own post…for now this link shows a very basic overview.
A Writing Activity

Readers and Writer’s workshop: Writers engage in reading and writing for their own purposes. Led by the teacher through ‘mini lessons’ the students learning reading and writing strategies while choosing their own reading and writing topics. This is a great explanation! 

 You can also see how I did a mini writer’s workshop lesson with my son during the writing of our recent vacation blog. In it I note how I picked two grammar principles to teach during that writing session. After we had done the writing together, he felt confident to write on his own.

Cooperative learning: More than just working in groups, cooperative learning gives each student a chance to fulfill a different role in a group: a leader, a secretary, a moderator, etc. while completing the assigned task. More here
Visuals (SMART boards, pictures, tables, graphs): Visuals are so important for deaf children, it is their primary learning style (even if they are using Auditory Listening Devices (ALDs)). Teachers who use visuals will have an easier time of keeping students’ attention while increasing performance.
Bi-lingual/Tri- modal instruction(English/ASL/speech and listening as needed): Using American Sign Language (ASL) to teach English. More than just using sign language as the ‘mode of communication’ in the classroom, these strategies connect and bridge ASL and English while developing both. The goal is for your child to truly become bilingual in ASL and English. This one needs its own post… and you can find basic explanation here for now. This is one article of how a preschool approach might look.
This is our Sensory table – with spelling words!

Balanced Literacy Approach – Children need read in different ways every day. The teacher should be reading aloud to the class daily in ASL following the 15 principles of Read Alouds . Shared reading happens as the same book, or book type, is read repeatedly and the reading shared between student and teacher, with the teacher modeling and supporting the students as they read. Finally, the students read the SAME book on their own, with confidence.

Hands on Activities: Math manipulatives, science projects, field trips, art, constructing reports on research, creating artifacts. As part of integrated units, hands on activities give the students a way to discover new knowledge or to put their learning into action. Our LegoFraction lesson is one example.
Painting a house as part of our Fire unit.

Integrated Thematic Units: Teachers select a theme around which to base all subjects around. In the Fall math, science and language arts can all relate to the Autumn Season. Basic skills instruction is still built into the daily routine, but the main teaching revolves around the theme. Focus is on depth and world knowledge through whole language learning. Check it out more here.

Development of child’s Native Language (ASL): ASL should be focused on and developed. When bilinguals strengthen their native language, the second language is also strengthened (reference here). Easily added to thematic units, ASL can enrich the learning of any subject. We’ll have some fun examples of this!
Always Reading!

Differentiated Assessments: Rubrics, portfolios, testing on content only (using ASL and oral exams), presentations, projects, writing samples, etc. While standard testing is still required, grades can be determined based on a variety of assessments that not only allow the students to shine in different ways, but also develop a variety of different skills. Find a great explanation here.

Structured routines with strong classroom management: All students thrive off of structured routines and strong classroom management. Class meetings and rules can engage the students in the governing of their own class, encouraging more cooperation. Positive reinforcement for following routines and being engaged in learning is a must.

While this list is extensive and feels overwhelming, as you learn more about a Whole Language approach, you will see how so many of these strategies fall into place. It is my goal to provide you with examples of these strategies and how they might look both in the classroom, and at  home.I’ll update this post with links to those examples as they come!

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