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Real World Examples: Instructional Learning Formats

27 Sep 2017 by Gina Gates
In our previous "Real World Examples" post, we focused on Productivity. Let's explore the Instructional Learning Formats dimension to wrap up the Classroom Organization domain.
 
Looking through the CLASS lens, teachers who are high in ILF have students who are interested, excited, and motivated to engage in activities. They facilitate in a way that encourage students’ excitement by being involved, commenting on children's work, and asking relevant questions. Modalities in the classroom are hands-on, and include different ranges, such as auditory and visual, to keep things interesting. The goal of the activities that children are engaged in is clear, as the teacher orients the students to the learning objectives.

The Example: Baking Cookies

Last weekend, my daughters and I had the best time baking and decorating cookies. Wait—let me take a step back and tell you how we came to that decision.
 
Daughter #1: “Mom, I’m bored.”
 
Me: “Why don’t you read that new book I just bought you?”
 
Daughter #1: “I don’t really feel like reading. Maybe I’ll just watch TV.”
 
Ten minutes later
 
Daughter #2: “Mom, I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.”
 
Me: “Why don’t you call a friend and see if she wants to come over?”
 
Daughter #2: “No one is home. Maybe I’ll just go play on the computer.”
 
Fifteen minutes later
 
Daughter #1 and Daughter #2: “We’re bored. Is there anything we can do?” (Don’t you just love it when they team up on you?)
 
Me: “How about we bake some cookies?”
 
Daughter #1: “Yeah, I guess,” in a rather unenthusiastic tone. (Once they become teenagers, it’s not so cool to bake cookies with mom anymore. I’d like to believe that secretly she still loves it, but doesn’t like to admit it.)
 
Daughter #2: “Yes, can we? That would be awesome!” (At least one of them still gets excited.)
 

Variety of Modalities and Materials 

As we pull out all the ingredients and cooking utensils, I explain to the girls that we have several things that we will use to make the cookies (Range of auditory, visual, and movement opportunities). We’ve got our cookie sheets, spatulas, spoons, cookie dough, three tubes of colored frosting, and an assortment of sprinkles (Interesting and creative materials). I also found a couple of different cookie cutters in case they want to make the cookies into different shapes (Hands-on opportunities).
 

Clarity of Learning Objectives

My initial question to them of “How about we make some cookies?” got us started with the purpose, or objective, of this activity (Advanced organizers). Halfway through the activity, I noticed daughter #2 eating the raw cookie dough. I say, “remember, the cookie dough is to be used to make the cookies, not to eat it” (Reorientation statement). Honestly though, who can blame her? Raw cookie dough is very tempting. I remind them they are using all of these items to make and decorate the cookies in any way that they want (Summaries).
 

Effective Facilitation

As they begin to place the dough on the cookie sheets, I ask, “If we spread them out too much we may not be able to get as many cookies on the cookie sheet. Is there a way we can fit them so that we will get 12 cookies on each cookie sheet?” (Effective questioning). After the cookies come out of the oven and they have had time to cool a bit, the decorating begins. Of course, I can’t help but take part in this as well. (Teacher involvement). I then say, “I’m going to use chocolate frosting on my cookie, and use the pink sprinkles. How are you going to decorate your cookie?” The girls begin to share all the different ways they want to decorate the cookies (Expanding children's involvement).
 

Student Interest 

There was no question in my mind that they were both very engaged in this activity. If I needed any further proof, the aftermath left in my kitchen and on my counters was proof enough. (We will tackle clean-up duty at a later time.) Throughout the cookie baking activity, there were no comments of “I’m bored” or “I don’t have anything to do.” They both actively participated in all parts of the activity—they listened and stayed focused on what they were doing.
 
With cookies complete, the three of us sat down with a tall glass of milk to enjoy the fruits of our labor. And, in typical fashion, fifteen minutes after we had finished, I hear, “Mom, I’m bored.”
 
 
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