A: Actively Teach

It is illogical to assume that students can meet these rigorous standards without equally rigorous teaching. This page focuses on various types of active teaching that engages, inspires and produces visible learning in students. The learning impact of the chosen active teaching strategy is “informed” by formative or authentic assessment. Types of formative assessment that support active teaching are found on the “M-Measure Performance” page of this website.

The CCSS will require intensive staff development to help teachers acquire a repertoire of teaching strategies and skills in developing formative assessment in order to both intentional teaching, activate student engagement and student mastery. Through John Hattie’s groundbreaking research, Visible Learning, teachers now know which strategies WILL “PROBABLY” provide evidence of student learning and what WILL NOT. Weak strategies include lecturing for long periods of time, and “outlining” content that has not been taught. Neither of these are driven by the engagement demands of Active Teaching. See John Hattie’s video, discussing the critical mindsets needed to empower teaching and learning through visible learning.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pD1DFTNQf4

Explanation of John Hattie’s work: http://tinyurl.com/c3wlkqv

A teacher may choose from a broad variety of different ways to actively teach, each unique, depending on the content area; however, the basic notion of active teaching, dynamically interacting with students and adjusting teaching based on student understanding is the same in all content areas: Active teaching is characterized by these elements:

              Guidelines for Active Teaching:

  • Activate prior knowledge—begin by stimulating student interest.
  • Lecture/Teach: Employ a variety of teaching delivery systems, in short “chunks” of time—five to seven minutes.
  • Allow a minimum of two minutes of intellectual processing, more for critical thinking and discussion



1. Dr. Spencer Kagan: Cooperative Learning Implementation Structures:

Virtually all “Active Teaching” includes forms of cooperative learning: http://tinyurl.com/6meatoo

2. Dr. Spencer Kagan: Cooperative Learning—Free articles:


3. Dr. Marzano's Websitenotable-9

a research laboratory,  provides free links to research-based strategies based on all of his  groundbreaking books including, Classroom Instruction That Works, which in 2004 explained the “Notable 9”, (nine highly effective strategies, which have now been expanded to 12. See the list on the right) This website advertises custom professional development in building engaged schools, guidance in adopting the CCSS, hosts webinars, includes videos, etc. If teachers regularly incorporated some of the many strategies explained in his books such as Teaching and Assessing, Formative Assessment, The Highly Engaged Classroom, Coaching Classroom Instruction, etc. there would be no need for this website.




SEE: http://tinyurl.com/cqv9brl

This links to the 12 Core strategies and how to apply this key research, using technology to engage learners and improve achievement. All classroom examples are sorted by grade level.

Outstanding third party resource for Marzano’s “Notable Nine” effective teaching strategies:   includes integration of technology:    http://tinyurl.com/yp7c6c

Download the brain graphic, a “mind map” on Marzano’s Notable 9)

  4. Effective Learning Strategies and Tools created by Clayton Public Schools: Over thirty strategies and tools. 80 Pages of detailed instructions on how to implement novel teaching strategies in your classroom. This 1997 pdf file contains summaries of many of the strategies explained in Dr. Silver’s Strategic Teacher below.


1. Strategic Teacher: Selecting the Right Research-Based Strategy for Every Lesson: by Harvey F. Silver, Richard W. Strong and Matthew J. Perini. One of the most powerful, all-in-one resources to train teachers on complex and sophisticated teaching strategies:      http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/107059.aspx  

The Study Guide For The Strategic Teacher: http://tinyurl.com/cwnbyzg

2. The Interactive Lecture: How to Engage Students, Build Memory, and Deepen Comprehension (A Strategic Teacher PLC Guide) (Strategic Teacher PLC Guides) by Harvey F. Silver and Matthew J. Perini: Instead of the passive nature of normal lecturing, the NEW AMERICAN LECTURE commands students’ attention through sensory memory, activates the processing capacities of working memory, and helps students convert what they learn into permanent memory. It is guided by four basic principles:

1. Connection 2. Organiztion 3. Dual Coding 4. Exercise and Elaboration


3. Thoughtful Classroom Professional Learning Portfolios: Details instructional practices that make the greatest students gains based on “The Best Bets”. Based on Marzano’s work: See the video. The Thoughtful Classroom Portfolio Series makes the important work of implementing and sustaining
high-impact, research-based instructional practices in your classrooms easier than ever. Powerful tool for Professional Learning Teams learning teaching strategies.


4. DR. KAGAN’S SMART CARDS: Teach smarter! These powerful quick reference guides review active teaching steps and procedures. Each card is loaded with ideas, activities, strategies, theory, and rationale to keep each teacher’s classroom and teaching on the cutting edge. These low cost reference cards provide a treasure chest of invaluable ideas.


5. Spencer Kagan: “It’s All About Engagement”: Dr. Kagan’s remarkable body of work, in addition to many cooperative learning authors, provides ready-made resources that ensure “engagement”. This website is the “one-stop shopping” for teachers seeking to practice engagement activities in all content areas. In addition, his resources provide systems to assist teachers in promoting discussion and solidification of complex material. http://www.kaganonline.com,

6. Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College Doug Lemov, Norman Atkins: This resource includes important strategies and behavior management tips critical for high school teachers. Includes a CD Rom of effective teaching. The website below explains some of the strategies.


7. Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners, Ron Ritchart, Mark Church, Karen Morrison, Jossey Bass

These authors from Harvard Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education, present different ways of student thinking and engagement. When you purchase the book, they also provide a CD Rom of model teaching practices and student engagement activities:


8. Classroom Instruction that Works: Research Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement Ceri B. Dean, Elizabeth Ross Hubbell, Howard Pitler, Bj Stone: Outstanding book; a revision of Dr. Marzano’s classic 2004 book. This 2011 revision includes 21st Century strategies: multi-media, blogs, wikis, etc. and recalculations of effect size of Marzano’s original “Notable 9”. This link includes a video by the authors, and a link to a study guide for their book. http://tinyurl.com/cbz8m8q