5 Teaching Strategies for the Classroom

5 Teaching Strategies for the Classroom
Carol Ann Tomlinson states, “No practice is truly a best practice unless it works for the individual learner.”  With that in mind, I have assembled a table showing 5 teaching strategies I feel would be most effective in teaching the gifted in a classroom, along with their characteristics, and why I recommend them.  These practices provide multiple approaches to content, process and product, key elements to well-rounded curriculum.

My Recommendations
Cooperative Learning/Group Investigations
A teaching activity in which the teacher purposively uses small group interaction to forward new learning and accomplish academic and social tasks.
Groups should be flexible, ideally 3-5 students, created by teacher, by students or needs-based.  It’s important to set group standards & have students self-reflect on their participation and groups’ function. 
Benefits: Collaboration among students; deeper thinking and understanding; enhanced feelings of empathy for others.
Differentiated Instruction
Student-centered whereby teachers provide appropriately challenging learning experience for all students.  Provides multiple approaches to content, process, and product.  Assessment is ongoing to develop next steps.  Purposeful student movement/talking. Flexible grouping. 
Students become engaged learners when they are appropriately challenged with meaningful lessons.  This method creates a reasonable range of approaches to learning much of the time so that most of the students find learning a fit most of the time.
Benefits: Students take responsibility for own growth /needs.  Collaboration between teacher/students ongoing to develop appropriate lessons.  Builds on what students already know. 
Simulation / Role Playing
An inductive teaching method in which students assume roles of people engaged in complex, real-life situations. / The involvement of students as participants and observers in a simulation of a real-world situation.
Students learn best by emulating real life.  Simulation is an effective method for making real-world situations, past or present, come to life for students as they become part of the event.  Role-playing is fairly easy to employ and can be used across multiple subject areas with a fairly quick preparation time, depending on the complexity of the task.
Sim. Benefits: Increased likelihood that concepts and principles induced from the simulation will be transferred and applied to the real world.

RP Benefits: Growth and understanding as it relates to content; students’ understanding of others’ beliefs and values; problem-solving skills.

Inquiry-based learning
An inductive teaching strategy in which the teacher poses a task, problem, or intriguing situation, while students explore the situation across small changes in the data set, and generate insights about the problem and/or solution.
Inquiry-based learning uses real-life issues with real-life data to solve problems.  Closed inquiry gives the teacher control of the question.  Open inquiry gives control of the question to the student/s.  
Benefits: Increased self-awareness; awareness of different points of view; enhanced curiosity; increased understanding of concepts and principles; enhanced ability to solve problems.

Creative Problem Solving & Problem-Based Learning
An inductive teaching method in which the teacher presents an ill-structured, novel, and complex problem for students to investigate and solve collaboratively with teacher guidance and coaching.
This would be the most ambitious method, but allows for the most autonomy for the students.  Because of the ill-structured nature of the problem, data and resources may not be readily available, creating additional challenges.  The teacher is truly a mentor or guide as students follow a scientific method approach of problem solving.
Benefits: Acquisition of new knowledge, concepts, and principles; enhanced problem-solving ability.

© Desktop Learning Adventures


  1. Ok - I officially LOVE your blog!! Definitely following you and glad I saw your "new blog" post on the forum :) I'm looking forward to getting more inspiration from you as you continue to write - LOVE that "bubbles out into the universe" idea on an earlier post. It's exactly how I feel sometimes - it's why I love getting comments. It means your bubbles "popped" on someone :)
    Lynn Fun in the Fours

    PS - You should check out FourthGradeStudio
    I think you and Meg would have a lot to share :)

  2. Hi Lynn! I just checked it out and I agree! I clicked on your link, but I'm not sure that meant I'm following you. I guess my goal for tonight is to figure out how to follow another blog! :)

    1. You have to click the little follower button on the blog itself - it's a real learning curve, isn't it? I'm astonished at what I've learned since starting all this - technologically as well as fabulous ideas for the classroom. It's totally addictive :)

    2. Yeah, I figured that out finally(with a little help from my blogging friends:). I'd done it once, but that wasn't enough to remember. Now I need to figure out how to get that TPT badge (the long one that features my products) on my blog. It doesn't seem to work the same way.

  3. Hi Pam,
    It looks like you are off to a great start. I need to start following upper grade blogs since there is a chance I may have to work with some 4th-5th graders next year and I have NEVER done that before. LOL
    Adventures In Teaching

  4. I've had experience in 5th, but that was as low as I went (aside from teaching preschool before I taught 6th:) You'll be fine in 4th or 5th. They're still innocent and like their teachers. Also, they're old enough to get your jokes! A bonus!! Thanks for following.

  5. Hi Pam, Great job! My students are so happy when they see the room set up for a Socratic seminar/shared inquiry lesson. You are right on the money about how it increases awareness. Come visit me at http://meatballsinthemiddle.blogspot.com/ I'm brand new at this too!


  6. Thanks, Darlene! My kiddos loved Socratic Seminar, also. I hopped over to your blog and left a couple (iPad was acting up) comments. I'm following your blog and look forward to some more great anecdotes!

  7. Hi Pamela! I think you are great, and I nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award. Stop by my blog for the info. I'm sorry, I tried to use cut and paste it for a link with my name, but I still don't know how to use it!

    1. OMG! This is the 3rd time I've tried to write this response! The other 2 were on my iPad, and every time I tried to fix a misspell, it locked up! Very irritating!! First (or is it second, now?:) thanks for the Liebster Blog award nomination. Lynn @ FunintheFours sent me the same nomination a couple days ago. At first I thought, I'm a fraud- I can't even figure out how to change my header or add a "Grab my Button" link. Then I decided I needed to be smarter than the computer... That said, I spent the day in Blog School. :) I even changed HTML! Those lessons are great. I may actually get this working the way I want it to work!

      So, if 2 people nominate one person, can that one person acknowledge both? That's my plan! Thanks again! (This day should probably be a blog post! :)

  8. Thanks, Stephanie. :). And thanks for following. I've added your blog to my list- its important to keep a primary perspective. I think we sometimes end up with grade-level blinders on.