This month our Bright Spots come from teachers in Carmel, Summit School, North Rockland, Mount Vernon, and Hallen School who attended a training on Specially Designed Instruction (SDI).

What were students able to achieve?
  • I taught the rhyme/chant strategy to  a student who was struggling to memorize math facts.  After one week, the student had memorized and was able to apply multiplication facts for the 3 times tables.
  • After I modeled how to use a checklist with “Ask yourself” questions, 3 of the 5 students were able to independently and accurately edit spelling and punctuation in their penpal letters.
  • My students were not comprehending and retaining information from texts.  I taught them to annotate passages; using this strategy my students correctly answered Macbeth study guide questions 4/5 times.
  • Using a highlighting strategy I taught them, 5/5 students were able to accurately solve multi-step math equations with negative numbers.
  • Using written sentence starters 2/3 students were able to increase time on-task and independently write a literacy analysis.
  • Using chunking, text features and graphic organizers, 12/12 of my students were able to synthesize information and identify the main idea and important details

What instructional practice had such a positive impact on students?

Teachers in the SDI training learned about Strategy Instruction, where the teacher explicitly teaches students self-directed  strategies to engage in a step-by-step process to complete a learning task. The teachers here explicitly taught students the steps for a variety of learning tasks, including a rehearsal strategy to enhance recall, a proof-reading strategy to edit and revise written work, an annotation strategy to enhance reading comprehension, a highlighting strategy to identify critical details solving a problem, and text analysis strategies to synthesize and analyze critical information in text.

What can we learn from this?

Students with a variety of learning challenges can learn self-directed step-by-step strategies to successfully overcome those challenges when teachers use explicit Strategy Instruction.