Element 6

Identifying Critical Information

Element Defined

Identifying critical content is utilized when teaching students brand new information. Skillful use of this element allows students identify which content is critical and helps them understand how learned content scaffolds in complexity.

Focus Statement

The teacher continuously identifies accurate critical content during a lesson or part of a lesson that portrays a clear progression of information that leads to deeper understanding of the content.

Desired Effect

Students know what content is important and what is not important.

Teacher Evidence Examples

  • Teacher highlights critical information that portrays a clear progression of information related to standards or goals
  • Teacher identifies differences between the critical and non-critical content

  • Teacher continuously calls students’ attention to accurate critical content

  • Teacher integrates cross-curricular connections to critical content

Strategies for Implementing

  1. Verbally cue critical content.
  2. Use explicit instruction to convey critical content.
  3. Use dramatic instruction to convey critical content.
  4. Provide advance organizers to cue critical content.
  5. Visually cue critical content.
  6. Use storytelling to cue critical content.
  7. Use what students already know to cue critical content.
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How to Identify Critical Content

Monitoring for the Desired Result

There are multiple ways teachers can monitor whether students know the content that is important and can distinguish between important and less significant information. Below are some examples that can help you tell if your students are able to identify critical content from a specific lesson:


  • Students can describe the level of importance of the critical information addressed in class
  • Students can identify the critical information addressed in class

  • Students can explain the difference between critical and non-critical content

  • Formative data show students attend to the critical content (e.g., questioning, artifacts)

  • Students can explain the progression of critical information

Scale

Identifying Critical Content
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Video Practice

Elementary Classroom
Marzano DQ:2;E:6

Reflection Questions for Improving Professional Practice

NOT USING - How can you begin to incorporate some aspects of this strategy into your instruction?

BEGINNING - How can you ensure that information is an accurate and clear progression of information and signal to students critical versus non- critical content?

DEVELOPING - In addition to ensuring an accurate and clear progression of information and signaling to students critical versus non- critical content, how might you monitor the extent to which students attend to critical information?

APPLYING - How might you adapt and create new strategies for identifying critical information that address unique student needs and situations?

INNOVATING - What are you learning about your students as you adapt and create new strategies?

Considerations

  • Be sure that your cues, organizers, and directions in identifying critical content are clear and explicit
  • Try to avoid assuming that all students have prior knowledge on the content when determining the critical information
  • Plan opportunities for students to respond and share understanding with peers or with the teacher
  • Use easy to understand language that leaves no confusion in student's minds

Identifying Critical Content