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Professional Development Activity:
Learning How to Intensify Instructional Delivery
These lessons highlight the difference between instructional delivery that is less intensive and delivery that is more intensive and designed for students with significant learning difficulties. Within each section is a less intense lesson followed by a version adapted to be more intense.
Click on a lesson below to learn more:
Example Lesson 1:
Less Explicit vs. More Explicit Instruction
Explicit instruction is overt teaching of the steps or processes needed to understand a construct, apply a strategy, and/or complete a task. Explicit instruction includes teacher presentation of new material, teacher modeling, and stepbystep demonstration of what is expected, so that students can accomplish a learning task.
Less Explicit Instruction
In this lesson, fourthgrade students learn to generate questions about text. Review the less explicit version of the lesson and then answer the guiding questions below.
Less explicit instruction
 Tell students that asking questions about the passage during and after reading will help them check their understanding of what they read.
 Tell students that they will read a passage and generate questions after each section.
 Have students read the first section of the passage.
 Ask each student to write a question that can be answered by reading the passage.
 Have students share their questions and let others in the instructional group provide the answers.
Guiding Questions
Adaptation
Lesson adapted to be more explicit
Now, review the lesson on question generation adapted to be more explicit. Pay particular attention to the information in blue. This text highlights specific aspects that make this lesson more effective for students with learning difficulties.
 Tell students that asking questions about a passage during and after reading will help them check their understanding of what they read.
 Read the first section of the passage together.
 Model creating a question that can be answered by using information found “right there” in the passage:
Provide a model to make the steps for generating a question explicit for students. In addition, introduce one type of question at a time (e.g., “right there” questions first) to allow students to practice and understand the explicit steps for generating different types of questions.

Identify information from the text and turn it into a question. For example, say: “There is a lot of information about Cam finding the gold ring. I think that might be important. I’ll make a ‘right there’ question. The text tells right there where the gold ring was found, so I’ll make a question about that to be sure I can remember.
A thinkaloud provides explicit instruction for students regarding what they should think about when completing the task.Making a question is difficult for me. I have to remember that I’m starting with the answer or the important information and then consider what question would have the answer. I can do this.
A model of selftalk reminds students to use this selfregulation technique when they work through the task.My question is: ‘Where did Cam find the gold ring?’ I used one of our question words, where, to begin my question. Now, I need to check the text to be sure I made a ‘right there’ question.”

Have students find the answer in the text. Point out that the question can be answered by using only information from the text.
Engage students in the model and instruction. Here, students have to identify the answer in the text to make explicit the key features of a "right there" question.

 Continue with other sections of the text, modeling several questions for students.
Provide several models to help students understand how to complete the new task.
 Have students work in partner groups to select one section of text and generate one ‘right there’ question.
 Have partners share their question with the group and allow other students in the group to answer the question. Have students determine whether the question is truly a "right there" question and state why. Provide feedback as necessary.
Provide immediate feedback during initial practice attempts to explicitly emphasize the key features of completing the task.
Reflection Questions
Example Lesson 2:
Less Systematic vs. More Systematic Instruction
Systematic instruction is complex skills broken down into smaller, manageable “chunks” of learning and requires careful consideration of how best to teach these discrete pieces to achieve the overall learning goal. Systematic instruction includes sequencing learning chunks from easy to difficult and providing scaffolding to control the level of difficulty throughout the learning process.
Less systematic instruction
In this lesson, secondgrade students learn to measure to the nearest inch. Review the less systematic version of the lesson and then answer the guiding questions below.
 Tell students that they will learn to measure things to the nearest inch. Pass out a ruler to each student.
 Explain to students that if they measure something that ends between two numbers on the ruler, they will use the closest number (nearest inch). Draw a horizontal line on the board that is less than 12 inches long. Tell students that you will use the ruler to measure the line. Point to the end of the line and tell students the nearest inch. Write the number of inches on the board.
 Demonstrate measuring a different line and ask students to state the measurement to the nearest inch.
 Provide each student with a sheet of paper with three lines of different lengths drawn on it.
 Ask students to measure each line to the nearest inch and write the measurement. Check and provide feedback.
 Ask students to put a writing utensil of their choice on the desk and measure it to the nearest inch. Check and provide feedback.
Guiding Questions
Adaptation
Lesson adapted to be more systematic
Now, review the lesson on measurement adapted to be more systematic. Pay particular attention to the information in blue. This text highlights specific aspects that make this lesson more effective for students with learning difficulties.
 Tell students that they will learn to measure things to the nearest inch. Pass out a ruler to each student.
 Draw a large ruler on the board (or show a large classroom ruler). Point to the lines between the numbers on the ruler. Explain to students that if they measure something that ends between two numbers, they will use the closest inch. Point to the longest line between 2 and 3 inches, the 2.5inch mark. Have students find that line on their rulers. Tell students that if they point before that line, the closest number is 2 and that if they point after that line, the closest number is 3.
Provide instruction in a prerequisite skill for measuring to the nearest inch.
 Repeat the model, using the .5inch line between 6 and 7 and again between 10 and 11. Each time, have students find the .5inch line between those numbers on their rulers.
 Point to a spot between two numbers on the ruler (e.g., between 5 and 6 but closest to 5). Ask students which number/inch is closest. Remind students that because you pointed to a spot before the long line (halfway mark), the number 5 is closest. So, the nearest inch is 5 inches.
 Point to different points on the ruler between numbers. Have students point to the same spot on their rulers and tell their partner which number is closest. Call on a student to share with the group.
Provide students with opportunities to practice the prerequisite skill to ensure understanding before moving to the next steps in the process.
 Draw a line on the board that is less than 12 inches long. Tell students that you will use the ruler to measure the line. Do the following to measure and determine the nearest inch:
 Line up the end of the ruler with the end of the line.
 Trace your finger along the ruler until you get to the end of the line.
 Determine which number is closest.
 Record the length of the object to the nearest inch.
Provide students with a stepbystep process for measuring to the nearest inch. Breaking the process into steps can make the process more manageable by providing a scaffold for completing the task.
 Demonstrate measuring a different line and ask students to tell you whether the ruler lines up with the end of the object. Have students count the numbers with you as you follow along with the ruler to the end of the line. Have students tell you which inch is closest.
Include the stepbystep process in the model.
 Demonstrate again, this time measuring a small object instead of a line on the board.
Model the measurement of both lines and objects because students will be expected to measure both at the end of the lesson.
 Provide students with a sheet of paper with three lines of different lengths, two spaces to place objects to measure, and the steps for measuring to the nearest inch written on it.
 Ask students to tell you the first step of measuring to the nearest inch (line up the ruler). Tell students to complete this step for the first line. Check and provide feedback.
Provide scaffolding during initial practicre to assist students in remembering the stepbystep process for measuring to the nearest inch.
 Ask students to tell you the second step of measuring to the nearest inch (follow along the ruler to the end of the line and find the closest number). Tell students to complete the second step, counting as they trace their finger along the ruler. Tell students to put their finger on the number that is closest. Check and provide feedback.
 Ask students to tell you the third step of measuring to the nearest inch (record the length to the nearest inch). Tell students to record the number next to the line. Remind students that the number needs a label. Ask students which label they should use (inches). Tell students to write "inches" next to the number.
 Repeat steps 1012 with the second and third lines. Check and provide feedback, prompting when necessary.
 Tell students they will now measure an object by themselves, just like you showed them earlier. Have students place a writing utensil of their choice on the desk. Ask students to state the first step, second step, and third step of measuring to the nearest inch and then work independently to record their answer.
Slowly fade scaffolding to allow students to take on more of the process independently.
Remind students to assess whether they completed each step of measuring to the nearest inch and to write a checkmark next to each step they complete.Incorporate selfmonitoring to assist students in evaluating their task completion.
Check and provide feedback. Ask some students to demonstrate how they measured their writing utensil.
Reflection Questions
Next: Fewer Opportunities vs. More Opportunities for Response and Feedback
Previous: Less Explicit vs. More Explicit Instruction
Example Lesson 3:
Fewer Opportunities vs. More Opportunities for Response and Feedback
Students with learning difficulties need frequent opportunities to respond and practice with teacher feedback throughout lessons. Providing many opportunities for response and feedback can help teachers monitor student understanding and can help students refine and master new skills (Hattie & Timperley, 2007; Vaughn et al., 2000).
Fewer opportunities for response and feedback
In this lesson, thirdgrade students are continuing to learn about singledigit multiplication. Review the version of this lesson with few opportunities for response and feedback and then answer the guiding questions below.
 Write a singledigit multiplication problem on the board (5 × 3) and call on a student to draw a pictorial representation of the problem (5 groups of 3).
 Provide feedback to the student and explain to the instructional group how the picture represents the multiplication problem.
 Repeat steps 1 and 2 with several different singledigit multiplication problems, calling on different students each time to draw the pictorial representation on the board.
Guiding Questions
Adaptation
Lesson adapted to provide more opportunities for response and feedback
Now, review the lesson on multiplication adapted for more student response and feedback. Pay particular attention to the information in blue. This text highlights specific aspects that make this lesson more effective for students with learning difficulties.
 Provide each student with a small dryerase board and marker (or manipulatives).
 Remind students of the goal they set to learn singledigit multiplication and to monitor their progress toward that goal in today’s lesson (have students record their progress at the end of the lesson).
Incorporate goal setting and selfmonitoring of progress toward the goal to increase student attention, motivation, and effort.
 Write a singledigit multiplication problem on the board (5 × 3) and ask each student to draw a pictorial representation of the problem (5 groups of 3) on their own dryerase board. Check students’ representations as they work and provide feedback.
Using personal dryerase boards allows all students in the instructional group to practice multiple problems.
 Ask students to show their picture to their partner and to explain to their partner how their picture represents the multiplication problem. Check the representations and explanations as students work with their partner.
 Repeat steps 3 and 4 with several different singledigit multiplication problems.
 Ask a student to write one of the multiplication problems and to draw a picture to represent the problem on the class board. Provide feedback.
 Ask another student to explain how the picture on the board represents the multiplication problem.