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Ready-to-Go Instructional Strategies That Build Collaboration, Communication, and Critical Thinking

Ready-to-Go Instructional Strategies That Build Collaboration, Communication, and Critical Thinking

March 2017 | 160 pages | Corwin

Craft a culture of engaging, student-centered learning!

Meaningful instruction in today’s world of information overload is a demanding task, however, effective instructional strategies increase the odds that students are actively learning and getting prepared for the world beyond school.
Alisa H. Braddy and Denise White were questioned continuously over their years as professional development specialists about where teachers could find all the valuable tools they had just learned. This book is the answer! In addition to actual scenarios and vignettes, other features include

  • Reflection questions to challenge readers’ thinking and push them into action 
  • A matrix highlighting the benefits of each strategy at-a-glance
  • Step-by-step procedures for implementing strategies
  • Adaptations for various grade levels and subject areas

Intended to satisfy teachers’ cravings to make sense of all the standards, initiatives, and other demands, this essential resource presents teachers, administrators, and instructional coaches with the tools to provide intentional, purposeful instruction. 

Instructional Strategies Matrix
About the Authors
Chapter 1: Hooking Them In: Powerful Strategies for Opening a Lesson
Chapter 2: Keep Calm and Question On: Creating Quality Questions for Critical Thinking
Chapter 3: Let Them Talk: Structuring Academic Conversations and Effective Communication
Chapter 4: Two Heads are Better than One: Strategies for Effective Collaboration
Chapter 5: Get Moving: Embedding Purposeful Movement into Instruction
Chapter 6: Make it Stick: Powerful Strategies for Closing a Lesson and Providing Reflection
Resources: Strategy Templates

"This book provides tools and strategies that will help educators become more reflective of their teaching practices while helping students take control of their learning."

Ellen Asregadoo, Teacher
PS 190

"These two ladies are truly “teachers’ teachers” and have gifted the profession with a plethora of proven, research-based strategies to make learning more powerful and teaching more fun! The book is arranged in a way that it can be read as a whole or used as a quick and easy resource to improve instruction in a certain area. Strategies are presented in an easy-to-follow format, and suggestions for use in different content areas and for a variety of ages are given. This book is beneficial for individual teacher use or could be incorporated into small group or whole staff professional development. It is obvious that Braddy and White have experience with learners of all ages, including teachers. This is a valuable resource to make even the best teacher better!"

Ellen Auchenpaugh, Academic Coach
Cobb County School District

"In today’s age of instant gratification and the fast-paced world of information overload, this is the exact book that teachers, administrators, and university professors need to create a learning environment that fosters high levels of engagement and culture-building in one’s classroom, school, or district. Alisa and Denise, master teachers and coaches, hit the nail on the head with their first book, which provides ready-to-use strategies that build a classroom of highly engaged learners.

What makes their book unique is not only the vignettes that are created for each chapter, but also the “Why it Works” section. The brain is a pattern-seeking device, and when we can place meaning in why we do what we do, we are able to better preserve the integrity, intentionality, and fidelity of the strategy. Educators have to engage students in developing episodic memories that enhance the learning to move it from short- to long-term memory.

I’ve highlighted, sticky-noted, and written in every margin my own ideas and suggestions for my university classes and presentations at a recent principal conference, and even shared them with my wife, who is a high school administrator. This is more than a handbook—it’s a life-changing teacher resource for the new or skilled teacher. As you lesson plan, keep this text beside you to enhance your ability to have students dig deeper in the content, push and support them to develop analytic thinking, and, most important, prepare them for tomorrow’s world.

The only professional support that is better than Ready-to-Go Instructional Strategies That Build Collaboration, Communication, and Critical Thinking is to have Denise and Alisa in your own classroom or school coaching you. Trust me. I know."

Dr. Adam D. Drummond, Educational Consultant
Drummond Educational Innovations

"This book is a dream come true for educators—teachers, instructional coaches, and administrators!  It is an all-in-one resource filled with tools that engage learners at all levels and with diverse learning styles.

It is so user-friendly and organized just like a lesson for easy implementation of new strategies.  Chapter 1 begins with hooking the learners through anticipatory set and continues unraveling many strategies while providing reflection and ways to increase the rigor of instruction and student learning.  Collaboration, critical thinking, and communication drive the instructional strategies that create student-centered learning.  The final chapter focuses on engaging lesson closure with strategies that drive home and affirm the learning. 

This is truly a masterpiece that builds the educator’s toolbox with ready-to-use strategies!  The entire book or selected portions can easily be used for professional development or while coaching teachers in student-centered instruction.

Denise and Alisa have utilized their personal classroom experiences as well as sound research in crafting this resource. 
Ready-to-Go Instructional Strategies That Build Collaboration, Communication, and Critical Thinking provides a plethora of 21st Century best teaching practices!"

Janet M. Fickling, Principal
Midway Elementary

"Never in my professional reading have I found a book to be so practically written and useful! Although the strategies are all based in research, you never feel talked down to or confused.  Actually, it’s the opposite, you can almost feel Braddy and White’s presence, as if they are right there, speaking to you, giving suggestions that will have immediate impact."

Sarah Hadden, Director of Curriculum & Technology
Greenwood Lake UFSD

"This is a must-read for teachers, administrators and curriculum leaders! It is filled with exciting yet practical ideas and strategies to actively engage students in learning while challenging and encouraging critical thinking at the same time. The organization of the book is so user-friendly. From believable vignettes to understandable definitions to explanations of why it works to practical strategies, this is a truly practical guide for anyone who teaches. It will resonate with all educators and draw them in with its brilliant yet timeless ideas and strategies."

Donna Hooks, Retired Principal

"Denise and Alisa provide a treasure trove of practical, proven, and powerful strategies that outline a road map to meaningful student engagement. Ready-to-Go Instructional Strategies That Build Collaboration, Communication, and Critical Thinking is an easy-to-use resource for educators who wish to find new ways to work with today's youth.  This book is sure to bring growth and new learning for educators both young and old."

Tom Padalino, Principal
Thoreau Demonstration Academy

"Finally we will be able to clean out our bookshelves of educational reference books and replace them with Ready-to-Go Instructional Strategies That Build Collaboration, Communication, and Critical Thinking! This is an easy-to-use, quick guide containing numerous instructional strategies. Whether you’re a veteran teacher or new to the profession, Ready-to-Go Instructional Strategies will help you build collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. For veterans, it’s a one-stop collection of tried and true strategies with quick reminders of how and why to use them. For those new to the profession, it will quickly become the best support you’ve ever encountered! I love recommending this treasure to the educators with whom I work!"

Brenda Russell, Instructional Coach
Cocoa Beach, FL

"I love that the strategies in this book are listed with explanations and actual examples of setting them up. It is great for both new and seasoned teachers–it either confirms work they are doing or gives/refreshes new ideas to use and when they can be used."

Debra A. Scarpelli, Math Educator/ESL
Pawtucket School Deptartment / RIMLE

"Denise White and Alisa Braddy hit a home run with this well-written work. Educators will come to treasure this impressive toolkit as a one-stop reference to design and deliver engaging and rigorous instruction. The use of scenarios conveys an excellent model of real-world situations teachers may encounter in the classroom. The authors' step-by-step strategies offer job-embedded active learning for teachers in their daily practice. Add all of this up and you have a model of how teachers can effectively make the switch from planning for teaching to planning for learning. I will ensure that this book is in the hands of our teachers and other instructional leaders as a road map for providing engaging, rigorous, and relevant learning in our district."

Lowell H. Strike, Ph.D., Superintendent of Schools
Little Elm ISD

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1: Hooking Them In

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