The ASOT Reflection

Region 9 High Reliability Schools-February 2019

Design Area Spotlight: Direct Instruction

Direct instruction is a necessity in presenting new content to students, and it doesn't have to include the boring lectures that we tend to think of when we hear that term.

Two elements within this design area work together to break up the content: chunking and processing. We utilize what we know about students' attention spans when we chunk content into "digestible bites" consisting of key pieces of information and we allow students to take in that knowledge when we have them process it in a variety of ways.

The third element in this design area is recording and representing content. The end goal of this element is that students will internalize the learning taking place. The term for this is encoding; students encode the information so that it moves from short-term memory to long-term storage. Below you will find some ideas on how students can record and represent content.

Element 8: Recording and Representing Content

Linguistic Representations

Linguistic representations, those involving words, can help students process new content. Ideas include summarizing and note-taking.

Nonlinguistic Representations

Nonlinguistic representations are another way students can record and represent new knowledge. This could include graphic organizers, pictorial notes, dramatic enactments, and mnemonic devices.
Education Place: Graphic Organizers

A collection of graphic organizers

Teach-nology: Graphic Organizers

More graphic organizer templates

Classroom Instruction That Works

This PDF includes the research backing nonlinguistic representation as well as examples of classroom practice.

Representing Knowledge Nonlinguistically

An article by Dr. Robert Marzano, published in Educational Leadership, gives five key points to using nonlinguistic representations.

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You've got questions...we've got answers!

In one of our recent ASOT sessions, we asked participants to leave us any questions they had. We'll address some of those in this section each month.

If you have any questions for this section, please let us know by emailing Christy at

How can I help other teachers understand student engagement?

Christy says...

One of the ways you can share what you know about student engagement is through the PLC process that is an integral part of Level 1 in the High Reliability Schools framework. One of the key questions addressed during PLCs is "How will we increase our instructional competence?" Student engagement is just one of many ways we utilize instructional strategies in order to teach effectively.

Beyond sharing ideas from your training in the Art and Science of Teaching, below is the Instructional Strategies Playlist for Teachers from Lead4Ward. If you click on the picture, you'll be taken to the site. This would be a great tool to share with your colleagues.

Another way you can help other teachers understand student engagement is to suggest that you and your team track it with a tool like the Tracking Student Responses form below.

There are also teacher and student feedback surveys available in the online compendium in various places. One that might be especially helpful is the "Noticing When Students Are Not Engaged" folio.

How do I use physical movement in a crowded classroom?

Miranda says...

We all know that physical movement in the classroom has a direct connection to students' energy levels and potential to maintain engagement in the classroom. Studies show that children who are more active exhibit better focus, faster cognitive processing, and more successful memory retention than kids who spend the day sitting still. Keeping the body active promotes mental clarity by increasing blood flow to the brain, making activity vital to both learning and physical and neurological health (Adelbary, 2017).

On p. 68 in NASOT you can find various strategies to incorporate physical movement into your classroom. What happens when you are teaching in an overcrowded classroom? Physical movement becomes a bit of a challenge, but it can be done. Planning ahead and thinking like your students will help you make decisions to ensure success when using specific physical movement strategies in your classroom. I found the following resources that might help you view physical movement from a different perspective when dealing with a crowded classroom.

Promoting Learning in an Overcrowded Classroom This is a FANTASTIC article with great resources to use when thinking about space, workflow and collaboration in an overcrowded classroom.

Choreograph Your Classroom This is a Teaching Channel video (YouTube version) that provides a different perspective on thinking about the flow of 'traffic' in the classroom.

Resource: R9 HRS Site

We are so excited to launch our new website this year. You can find it at There is a tab just for you as an ASOT teacher complete with files and documents that will help you reach your goals. Take a few minutes to explore the site or take a look at the ThingLink below for a tour of the site. Be sure to let us know if we can add anything that would be especially helpful for you!
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ASOT in Action Submissions

We know you work hard to try new things and to be the best teacher you can be. We want to celebrate all that you do and share what is working in classrooms across our region. If you have tried an ASOT element and think others could benefit from the idea, please consider taking a few pictures or even a video and submitting them to us to be included in future newsletters or other shared resources.

You can use the form below for easy submission of your photos and/or videos or you can email them to with a brief explanation of what you tried and what you thought of the strategy.

Coming Up!

Group 4 ASOT, Part 2

Tuesday, Feb. 26th, 9am to Wednesday, Feb. 27th, 4pm

301 Texas 11 Loop

Wichita Falls, TX

February 26-27 (Session#329904) is part 2 of the 3 two-day sessions for Group 4 in ASOT.

Group 4 ASOT, Part 3

Tuesday, March 26th, 9am to Wednesday, March 27th, 4pm

301 Texas 11 Loop

Wichita Falls, TX

March 26-27 (Session#329905) is the third and final two-day session for Group 4 in ASOT.

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