Students need to not only build mastery in current material but also remember what they have learned before and understand when and how to apply it. The way teachers organize their instruction can greatly influence a student's ability to learn, retain, recall, and apply skills and knowledge. In this topic you'll find information on four key ways that that instruction can be structured to improve students' long-term understanding: space learning over time with regular review and quizzing, include completed examples with practice opportunities, make abstract-concrete connections that explore ideas at work in various contexts, and using higher-order questions to help students delve deeper into explanations.

To learn more about the research underlying these practices, view the IES Practice Guide, Organizing Instruction and Study to Improve Student Learning.

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Classroom Observation: Tracking Questions and Responses

In teams, use this observation form to observe ongoing questions and responses generated by class instruction and then provide feedback on impact and possible improvement.

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05/20/2014
765 views

Sentence Starters for Generating Higher-Order Questions

Use this tool to develop questions and sentence starters that will help generate deeper explanations from students.

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05/20/2014
1411 views

Discuss and Design: Effective Classroom Structures for Higher-Order Questions

Use this observation chart to convene a school in-service session for teachers to learn about creating classroom structures that utilize student questioning to build explanations. Related...

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05/20/2014
949 views

Learning Together About Using Higher-Order Questions to Help Students Build Explanations

The discussion questions in this tool can be used to convene a school in-service session for teachers to learn why and how to teach using higher-order questions. Related Media: Using...

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05/20/2014
575 views

Student Work: Explanation of Math Answer

Just because a subject area involves problems with numbers and graphs doesn't mean students can't be asked to generate in-depth answers. View this sample student response to an algebra problem,...

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05/20/2014
541 views
Instructional Strategies at a District Level

Instructional Strategies at a District Level

In this video interview, a district curriculum director shares lessons learned about successfully implementing instructional strategies, like the use of higher-order questions, across many schools...

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05/20/2014
259 views

Sample Essential Questions by Grade Level

View examples of essential questions created by teachers at Normal Park Museum Magnet Elementary and see how they organize their science and social studies-based modules around these...

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05/20/2014
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Response Groups: Eliciting Explanations in History

Response Groups: Eliciting Explanations in History

History teacher Matt Moorman describes how he uses higher-order questions to engage students in critical thinking about important historical concepts and to help students to internalize the...

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05/20/2014
505 views
Essential Questions: A Schoolwide Approach

Essential Questions: A Schoolwide Approach

Administrators at one school describe how they support the use of higher-order questions through professional development that focuses on curriculum planning and effective instructional...

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05/20/2014
415 views
Opportunities for Student Explanations

Opportunities for Student Explanations

In this video students share the culminating project of a curriculum unit: museum exhibits designed to answer "essential questions." Students practice giving explanations that demonstrate their...

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05/20/2014
255 views

Lesson Plan: Socratic Seminar Planning Form

See how teachers at Normal Park Museum Magnet Elementary plan for Socratic Seminars by identifying main concepts, questions, and pre- and post-activities to maximize the effects of using...

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05/20/2014
962 views
Questioning in a Socratic Seminar

Questioning in a Socratic Seminar

Watch how this fourth-grade teacher uses a line of questioning in a structured, text-based discussion to help students recognize important elements and themes in a piece of art. Related...

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05/20/2014
349 views
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