Guide to the Five Steps


1.   SHOW |  To ready students for activity, engage in a fun (nonacademic) exercise where they explore patterns of topic-related concepts/skills

Start with an interesting and engaging nonacademic exercise such as interactive exercise, imagery, a piece of literature, words, symbols, etc. Doing so will help students notice patterns as they relate to concepts and skills they are about to learn.

Provide concrete materials for students to touch, see, hear, smell, taste, and interactive with

Facilitator encourages student-generated questions and comments to share their curiosity, observations, and what they notice

Students need to “see with their eyes” the physical characteristics of their experiences to then “see with their minds” – to make connections with the unusual things they notice and have questions about

How the facilitator relates to the students and interacts with them, affects how engaged students will be in the activity.

2.   TELL  |  Students describe topic-related patterns of concepts/skills, ask curious questions, and discuss past experiences with each other

Provide time for students to describe and discuss with each other, and with the class what they noticed and wondered about.

Encourage students to ask questions

Encourage students to write and/or draw what they noticed to make connections with their own experiences, find patterns, discover new understandings, and probe into insights

This is an excellent opportunity to capture vocabulary students use, level of knowledge on the topic, and thoughts in general

How the facilitator reacts to questions and models being a curious learner determines whether or not the students ask questions.

3.   ACTIVATE  |  Facilitator asks students for feedback, clarifies learner generated descriptions and ideas, followed by explaining topic concepts/skills

Provide connections between student experiences and topic concepts and skills.

Offer feedback to students to then move forward with presenting new information

Pace content and skills so students can enjoy the challenge of new learning and the satisfaction of understanding

Encourage cognitive (mental), physical, and emotional engagement

Facilitator competence, enthusiasm, relationship with students, organization, and ability to make information relevant directly affects students' willingness to learn new material.

4.   RESPOND  |  Facilitator coaches students as they develop skills to demonstrate evidence of learning outcomes and connections to real life

Provide time, coaching, and materials for students to demonstrate in their own words and understandings of new concepts.

Encourage continued questioning and learning through projects (group and individual) related to the topic concepts and skills

Encourage application of new concepts and skills to real life to influence change – write letters, call, email, the internet, interviews, etc.

Encourage creative ways to demonstrate understanding – journals, poetry, editorials, oral report, role playing, drama, PowerPoint, animation, movie, video, drawing, posters, models, or by teaching information to someone else, or making up an assignment

Teacher willingness to build on the students’ strengths and “let students do the work” greatly enhances students’ learning.

5.   SAY WHAT?  |  Students and facilitator evaluate the learning experience. Did students learn topic concepts/skills? Can activity be improved? What new questions come to mind as a result of the experience?

Provide opportunity to reflectively respond to questions such as:

“What sense did I make of this?”

Encourage students to help develop scoring guides to evaluate effectiveness of learning.

How do they know they have learned new knowledge or skill?

How could we do this differently the next time to improve this learning experience?

Develop a plan of action, what will students do as a result of this learning?

How will they continue to use these new concepts in everyday life and in other subject areas?

How teachers and students collaborate to evaluate learning determines personal investment in continued learning.