Scholars' Academy

Signature Instructional Practices

Align With District 27’s Instructional Absolutes


Queens South Instructional Absolutes

  • Learning Target (“I can” statement) - Visible in the classroom and Unpacked; e.g. I can describe the differences between living and nonliving things.
  • Attention to Equity and Social-Emotional Needs of Students’
  • Differentiation:
    • Data-Driven Flexible Grouping/Small Group Work (Peer-Peer, Triads, Quads, etc.: students grouped according to commonalities, homogeneously or heterogeneously etc.)
    • Integration/Implementation of Scaffolds, Visuals and Other Supports for Students
    • Differentiated Tasks
  • Assessment (Format/Informal; Formative/Summative)
    • Teachers Checking for Understanding Throughout Lessons in a Variety of Ways (Demonstration of Learning (DOL) - Teachers Asking Probing Questions to Elicit Student Understanding, mid-point shares; entry slips, exit slips; peer checking
    • Success Criteria
    • Student Feedback: glows, grows of students work are actionable, specific, and incorporates rubric language
  • Rigorous Instruction/Cognitive Student Engagement
    • Higher Order Thinking (“HOT”) Questions
    • Student-to-Student High Quality Discussion in all content areas, not just teacher-led discussion (i.e. scholars citing evidence through facts; exposure to scholarly journals; students making their thinking visible)
    • Data-Driven Student-Centered Lessons
    • Explicit Instruction modeled by teachers (i.e. unpacking a math problem; exemplar think clouds; strategies from toolkits; use of anchor charts; feedback based on rubrics; writing and problem-solving methods for students; explicit thinking as the gradual release component)
  • Writing Across the Curriculum

Scholars’ Academy Signature Instructional Practices 2019-2020

  1. Clear explicit purpose/learning objective of lesson(District Learning Targets is an Instructional Absolute.)
  2. Management/Tone (organized for effort)
  3. Task Driven Engagement with Triad “Think, Share, Critique, Synthesize, Scale-Up” (District School Wide Discussion Protocol.) (Note Adjustment to Sequence)
  4. Depth of Knowledge Driven (Didactic-Reflective-Affective) Question Progression within each Lesson’s Task to Promote Rigorous Engagement and Student Ownership.(Rigorous Instruction is a District 27 Instructional Absolute.)
  5. Customized and Universal Supports used by Students during the lesson. (Tier 1/Tier 2) (Dif erentiation is District 27 Instructional Absolute.)
  6. Assessment Plan Includes Teacher and Student Assessment of Learning (Teacher/peer/self).(Assessment Plan is aligned to the learning objective and student’s learning target.)
  7. Consolidation of Learning:
    1. Individual Reflection and Triad/Class Discussion to Consolidate Learning:
      1. What did we learn today and how do we know?
      2. Final Opportunity for Writing across the curriculum every day.
        1. (Writing Across the Curriculum is District 27 Absolute.)

Sample Scholars’ Academy Lesson Plan/Structure Concepts

Note: There are many ways to structure effective lessons. This is one sample that incorporates much of the Danielson Framework’s Intentions.

I: Launch Phase: (Motivate, Hook, Interest, Connect to Prior/Future Learning)

Learning Objective: Teacher engaged the students with the learning objective at the start of the lesson to guarantee that the objective and activity/task are understood by students and clearly connected.


Teacher Mini-Lesson: Modeling or Engagement of the Students with an Inquiry Launched Lesson

  • What did the teacher directly teach? Were there thinking strategies modeled or demonstrate aloud?
  • Was a visual used that the teacher had students evaluate for strategy analysis (another option)?
  • Is the modeling covering information, or is it teaching them how to think, apply strategies, and approach the task of learning designed in the learning task?


II: Task Engagement Phase:

Choice Enhances Motivation: Is their choice of tasks, of components in tasks, or the manner in which to express what is learned?

Students work in small groups (triads) with instructional information, ideas, or materials for a clear purpose in a strategically designed task. Are the triads strategically put together for the unit’s or task’s purpose?

  • Is the task aligned to the learning objective
  • Does the task engage the students? Are their technical, visual, auditory, textual, supports? Are students aware and comfortable gaining access to Tier 1 and Tier 2 Supports?
  • Feedback: How is the teacher assessing and giving feedback while the students engage with triads? Is there a strategy? 1:1 conferencing? Targeted small group Tier 2 reteaching?

Discussion Protocol/Group Work/Assessment Plan: Teacher/Peer Feedback

Discussion protocol prevents alpha domination and forces all students to be accountable to expose their thinking and understanding.

Assessment Criteria is Clear: (Rubric, Model/Exemplar Based, Answer Keys)

  • Teacher- Student Assessment
  • Student -Self Assessment
  • Student – Student (peer) Assessment

Medial Summary of the Engagement Phase:

  • Does the teacher “Scale-Up” the thinking from the triads/cross-triad discussions in service of objective?
  • Does the engagement/assessment process repeat with this new information in mind during the second half of the lesson?


III Consolidation of Learning/Reflection:

Has time been managed to value and properly, again leverage and surface what students have learned during the lesson that demonstrates the objective has been attained?

How does what was learned/discussed impact the next lesson on this topic or in this unit? (Be aware of the tonight for-homework routine or the ticket out the door routine...such are rarely properly followed up upon)