Interview Cards Strategy

I might have shared this last year, but it’s one of my favorite strategies to use. I’ve only used it in history, but can see it used EVERYWHERE! 🙂

I’ve used it as a before strategy as a way of reviewing material from the previous day. It gets the kids moving, and they are very engaged!

1. Every student needs an index card.
2. They have to move around the room and interview other students and write the information in the index cards.
3. Return to their seats. Let some of them share.

Our example:

We started studying the Homestead Act. They had to interview 3 students and collect 3 facts about the act.

I give them a time limit- like maybe 3-5 minutes.

They’re really not as loud as you would think they might be! 🙂

Here’s my class in action today.


What’s a favorite strategy you use?

Daily Outcomes

I am trying to be a strategic teacher this year. So far it is REALLY helping me stay focused!

We have a daily outcome for each lesson. It tells us what we hope to learn and be able to do by the end of the lesson. I refer to it during the lesson, and it helps us come full circle and wrap up the lesson. I AM LOVING IT! (Sorry McDonalds-had to borrow!) 🙂

I decide what the daily outcome should be based on the standard we are trying to master. For the past 3 weeks in our history class we have used “chunks” of the textbook to help us meet the daily outcome and standard. We are NOT reading each page of the textbook this year. If we tried to do this I think our brains would become so overwhelmed with ALL of the information that we would not end up mastering the standard. I’m hoping for an understanding of the big ideas-not just the memorization of facts, dates, and names that don’t make sense. 🙂



What are your thoughts on having a daily outcome to try to meet with each lesson?

Lesson Plan Template

Since I am SO PUMPED about being a strategic teacher I decided to create a lesson plan template that will help keep me on the path to purposeful planning which will lead to strategic teaching. This is a daily plan template NOT weekly. Yes, I know that is A LOT more work. Especially compared to my plans these past 2 years-they were really just to satisfy administration because I would actually write out on a different sheet of paper what I was actually doing in my classroom. 🙂

But now I want my plans to MATCH what and how I’m teaching. Strategically. 🙂



The TWIRL part is just something I added so I can circle each letter as I add that component to my lesson. Sort of my check system for myself.






The Assess section is MAINLY for formative assessments but will also be for summative assessments.

You like?

Strategic Teaching (More)

Do you want to get the juices flowing in your students’ brains? Welcome to strategic teaching! 🙂 (On a sidenote-even though our brain is SO VERY important, it is SO VERY ugly, too!-I had to use a picture of a colored brain because I did NOT want to look at the picture of the real thing longer than I needed!)

Here is the lesson plan structure for strategic teaching:

Lesson Framework

One outcome
Two instructional practices
Three parts to a lesson
Four steps to explicit instruction
Five components of active literacy

A lesson plan template possibility could look like this:

Daily outcome
Before, during, after strategies
Formative assessment

This would be a lesson for a class period when using  a piece of text or the textbook in a content area. Notice I said-CLASS PERIOD. Not a week. 🙂

Here are some more before, during, and after strategies:

BEFORE- Interview response (I loved this one!), List-Group-Label! Think,Pair,Share
DURING- Reciprocal teaching-I actually have a book about this (Time to read!), Cloze procedure
AFTER- Magnet summary, Collecting a job card from reciprocal teaching, Exit slip, One pager

Another possibility to get the kids moving AND applying different strategies is to set up a few stations around the room. For example, one station might be jot notes, another might be reciprocal teaching, and so on. They would rotate through the stations with 1 piece of text. A different chunk would be used at each station. So let’s say the text that you want them to read is 2 pages. You might want to have 4 stations so that only 1/2 of a page is used at each station. Make sense? I just had an idea. ONE of the stations could be the TEACHER station so that each group of students would have time with the teacher!!!! Voila-small group instruction!

For those that have a short class period here is a breakdown of a lesson time wise-

4 pages of text broken into 4 chunks. 5 minutes to read. 4 minutes to discuss with partner or group. 36 total minutes. 8 minutes afterwards to discuss and/or do formative assessment. 44 total minutes. Plus a before strategy so you’re looking at probably 50 minutes. That works doesn’t it? 🙂

Last tidbit of information. Outcomes could be written as “I can” statements so students have ownership and can think about whether or not they “can”.

I’m telling you this is what I’ve been looking for all my life. Well, besides my husband, and I already found him. 🙂

A strategic lesson plan routine/format that covers it all!!!

Are you ready to plan? Because I’m ready to plan! 🙂

Strategic Teaching

Will try to write this one again. The 1st one got deleted. I’m not pointing any fingers but WORDPRESS sure is acting suspiciously!!! My brain is now officially hurting so this one will be short, dry, and to the point. 🙂

Fantastic workshop today on content literacy/strategic teaching.

Essential Elements for Adolescent Learning:

1. Collaborative Leadership-Principal is responsible for motivating, providing effective PD, and instructional practices.
2. Assessment-Data driven instruction with MULTIPLE forms of assessment, constantly monitoring progress of students
3. Intervention- Targeted skills instruction, small group instruction
4. Professional Development- Should be ongoing (foreva), job embedded, and continually assessed
5. Strategic Teaching- Purposeful planning, multiple strategies used, explicit instruction with time for different kinds of practice

The one thing that made me perk up was purposeful planning. I’m going to ask myself WHY before I plan lessons, activities, assessments, grading practices, etc. I expect myself to answer myself with a justified explanation. 🙂

STRATEGIC TEACHING includes the following:
**One overall outcome based on standards
**Two instructional practices- chunking material and student discussion
**Three parts to lesson-Before, During, After
**Four steps to explicit instruction-I do, We do, Y’all do, You do
**Five parts of active literacy-TWIRL-talking, writing, investigating, reading, listening

Before examples-quick writes, abc brainstorm, anticipation guides, think alouds
During examples-talk to text, jot notes, mini-lecture
After examples-321, anticipation guide follow ups, code the text

You can google these to see what they look like. I’ll post links to some later. Like a lot later. Says panicky Shannon. 🙂

This workshop is making me want to be THAT strategic teacher. The one who plans everything with the students in mind and with a purpose. The one who goes home each day knowing she gave it her all. 🙂