This week, as part of my Master's Program, I was responsible for researching Robert Marzano and his Nine Essential Strategies for Classroom Instruction that works. Marzano's strategies are nothing new, but he has taken scientific research to prove the strategies' effectiveness. Because of Marzano, teachers are now able to use the same terminology to describe great instructional strategies. So, to answer the question, "Are Marzano's nine strategies a good thing?" Yes, in my opinion, they are a good thing.
When I was a first year teacher, Marzano's strategies had become quite popular. Book studies were conducted to really analzye each of the nine strategies and how to apply them in our own classes. Since I was a first year teacher, these book studies were quite useful as a way to guide me in developing my teaching style as well as lesson plans.
Some examples of things I have used in my class are the following:
1. Identifying Similiarities & Differences - Venn Diagrams
2. Summarizing & Notetaking - IVF statements after a movie or lab to summarize main points/topic in one sentence. I also provide my students with 3 column notes of science vocab terms with definitions. The student highlight main ideas while we discuss the terms as a class.
3. Reinforcing Effort & Providing Recognition - I like to provide my students with lots of positve recognition (part of our PBS- Positive Behavior Support plan used throughout the school).
4. Homework & Practice - The phrase "practice makes perfect" doesn't apply to science as much as math classes, but it is still very important. If and when homework is given in class it is used to reinforce learning and skills, not for busy work!
5. Nonlinguistic Representations - pictures always help in science. I like to show video clips for many of the vocabulary terms. Also the students draw pictures in the third column of their notes as a way to nonliguistically represent the vocabulary.
6. Setting objectives: Everyday, I put an Essential Question on the board. This way the students know what to expect to answer before the end of class. This provides a purpose for the students and keeps me focused with the standards.
7. Providing Feedback - Rubrics are useful for both the students as well as me!! This way, I'm able to give students explanations for their achievements as well as a guideline for me to follow and stay consistent and fair with each student.
8. Generating & Testing Hypotheses: This happens in science on a regular basis. At the beginning of each unit/topic, we start with a question (problem). We use the scientific method to create scientific inquiry as well as design our labs.
9. Questions, Cues, and Advance Organizers: All three of these are used on a daily basis to my "Question of the Day/Essential Question" on the board, to my cue of "Stop and Listen" (all the students know these three words mean to stop everything and look in my direction), and a variety of different ways to organize all the information given in class.
As we enter a new "digital era," it is important to utilize technology with Marzano's nine. This can happen fairly easily. Venn Diagrams can be created in presentation apps on iPads, wikis and blogs can provide immediate feedback, games, simulations, and picturesr can be downloaded as nonliguistic representation, labs can now be conducted virtually, and notetaking can be done on iPads and bumped to others iPads. There are endless possibilities. The question is, how come we are not using as much as we possibly can? There are so many teachers that prefer the old way of teaching. How can we change this and open their eyes to the endless possibilities that technology offers. I know that lack of funds is a typical excuse. I know I have personally used this. So, what are some ways we can bypass this excuse?