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Professional Development Institute: Teaching Strategies

Professional Development


This page is under construction. New techniques will be added.

Cross Academy Teaching Techniques

Below is a list of teaching techniques from Cross Academy. At each link, you will find a short video description of the technique AND a detailed document with instructions and examples. Note that while these techniques have been put into categories, they overlap into other categories, so they only serve as a general guide.


3-2-1: In the 3-2-1 technique, students write about 3 things they learned in the lecture, 2 things they found particularly interesting from the lecture, and 1 question they still have about the lecture content.

Comprehensive Factors List: In Comprehensive Factors List, students write all the relevant factors they can think of about a specific topic, drawing from course content and personal experiences.

Online Resource Scavenger Hunt: In an Online Resource Scavenger Hunt, students use the Internet to engage in fact-finding and information processing exercises using instructor-specified library and Internet sources.

Translate That!: In Translate That!, you pause your lecture and call on a student at random to “translate” the information you just provided into plain English for an imagined audience that you specify.

Update Your Classmate: This is a short writing activity where students explain what they learned in a previous class session to set the stage for new learning.


Affinity Grouping: In Affinity Grouping, individual students generate ideas and identify common themes. Then, students form groups to sort and organize the ideas accordingly.

Analytic Teams: In Analytic Teams, each team member assumes a different role with specific responsibilities to perform while listening to a lecture or watching a video.

Case Studies: With Case Studies, student teams review a real-life problem scenario in depth. Team members apply course concepts to identify and evaluate alternative approaches to solving the problem.

Class Book: For a Class Book, individual students work together to plan and ultimately submit a scholarly essay or research paper. Then all students’ papers are published together.

Dyadic Essays: In Dyadic Essays, students: 1). complete a content unit, identify a central question, and draft an answer to that question, 2). exchange questions with a peer and prepare responses, and 3). pairs read and compare the model and in-class answers.

Dyadic Interviews: In Dyadic Interviews, student pairs take turns asking each other questions that tap into values, attitudes, beliefs, and prior experiences that are relevant to course content or learning goals.

Group Grid: In Group Grid, group members are given pieces of information and asked to place them in the blank cells of a grid according to category rubrics, which helps them clarify conceptual categories and develop sorting skills.

Jigsaw: In Jigsaw, students work in small groups to develop knowledge about a given topic before teaching what they have learned to another group.

Team Jeopardy: Team Jeopardy is a game in which student teams take turns selecting a square from a grid that is organized vertically by category and horizontally by difficulty. Each square shows the number of points the team can earn if they answer a question correctly, and more challenging questions have the potential to earn more points.

Test-Taking Teams: In Test-Taking Teams, students work in groups to prepare for a test. They then take the test, first individually and next as a group.

Think-Pair-Share: In a Think-Pair-Share, the instructor poses a question, gives students a few minutes to think about a response, and then asks students to share their ideas with a partner. Hence Think-Pair-Share.


Paper Seminar: Paper Seminar provides a framework for meaningful discussion centered on student work.

Quick Write: This is a learning assessment technique where learners respond to an open-ended prompt.

Support a Statement: The instructor provides students with a provocative statement and prompts them to locate details, examples, or data in their lecture notes to support the statement.

Three-Minute Message: 3-Minute Messages are modeled on the Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) academic competition, in which students have three minutes to present a compelling argument and to support it with convincing details and examples.

Student Study and Learning Skills

Active Reading Documents: Active Reading Documents are carefully prepared forms that guide students through the process of critical and careful reading.

Advance Organizers: This is a tool that professors can present to students prior to a lecture to help them structure the information they are about to learn.

Crib Cards: Crib Cards are three-by-five inch index cards that students create to use on exams, on which they write whatever information they believe will be useful to them.

Guided Notes: In Guided Notes, the instructor provides a set of partial notes that students complete during the lecture, focusing their attention on key points.

Lecture Engagement Log: These logs are records that students keep to document the various academic activities they engage in for a particular class.

Lecture Wrapper: A Lecture Wrapper is a tool for teaching students self-monitoring behavior as they identify key points from a lecture and then compare their points to the instructor’s list of points.

Personal Learning Environment: A PLE is a set of people and digital resources an individual can access for the specific intent of learning. Students illustrate the potential connections through a visible network of the set.

Post-Test Analysis: A Post-Test Analysis is a two-stage process that is divided into several steps designed to help students develop greater awareness of their test-preparing and test-taking skills.

Critical Thinking

Contemporary Issues Journal: Students look for recent events or developments in the real world that are related to their coursework, then analyze these current affairs to identify the connections to course material in entries that they write in a journal.

Fact or Opinion: This technique encourages students to critically evaluate information by questioning what they read.

IRAs: When using IRA’s, students complete a written response to a reading assignment that includes three components: 1) Insights, 2) Resources, and 3) Application.

Triple Jump: A Triple-Jump is a three-step technique that requires students to think through and attempt to solve a real-world problem.

Creative Thinking

Digital Stories: Students use computer-based tools, such as video, audio, graphics, and web publishing, to tell personal or academic stories about life experiences relevant to course themes.

Frames: A Frame is a template of sentence stems that provides the shape of a short essay, but not the content. Students complete the sentences, expressing their ideas in their own words, but doing so within a clear and organized framework.

Invent the Quiz: In Invent the Quiz, students write a limited number of test questions related to a recent learning module and then create an answer sheet, or alternately a model answer and scoring sheet, to accompany the test questions.

Letters: In Letters, students assume the identity of an important person in your discipline and write a letter explaining their thoughts on an issue, theory, or controversy to another famous person who holds a different perspective.

Role Play: A Role Play is a created situation in which students deliberately act out or assume characters or identities they would not normally assume.

Sketch Notes: For Sketch Notes, students use handwritten words and visual elements such as drawings, boxes, lines, and arrows to illustrate the main concepts from a lecture, as well as their interrelations.

Variations: In Variations, students create an altered version of the original, such as rewriting the ending of a story or imagining the consequences of a changed event in history.

Instructor Tools

Background Knowledge Probe: A Background Knowledge Probe is a short, simple, focused questionnaire that students fill out at the beginning of a course or start of a new unit that helps teachers identify the best starting point for the class as a whole.


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