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Ohio Partnership for Excellence in Paraprofessional Preparation
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Introductory Scenario

The Value of Explicit Instruction 

Ms. Patty, a paraprofessional, works in an elementary classroom and district that encourages inquiry based learning or a hands-on approach. This allows students to explore and learn from their exploration. One of the classes that she works in is working on the skill of counting money. The students have a wide range of abilities within the class. Some students can count a collection of all different coins up to a value of $5.00 while other students have difficulty counting a collection of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to $1.00. She has been assigned to help two students who have difficulty with this skill. The teacher has exposed the students to different strategies for counting money. Most students are able to pick the strategy that works best for them. Ms. Patty has worked with these students before and knows that the students know the names and values of the coins, but do not have one strategy for counting the value of all the coins. The intervention specialist has mentioned using explicit instruction to teach these students a strategy to count a collection of coins. The hope is that students will be taught the steps in a logical way so that they can experience success with this skill.

Explicit Instruction involves:

  • Selecting critical content
  • Breaking down content into smaller pieces
  • Sequencing skills logically
  • Providing models
  • Giving students many opportunities to respond.
  • Providing immediate feedback
  • Highlighting examples and nonexamples

It also implements I DO, WE DO, YOU DO as seen in the previous unit focusing on scaffolding.

When using explicit instruction it is important to sequence the skills into smaller steps that include only the most important steps. It is also essential to make sure that the students have the prerequisite skills to complete the task. Prerequisite skills are the skills that the students need before instruction even begins. In other words, if a strategy involves skip counting by 25, 10, 5, & 1 this would be a prerequisite skill. If students do not possess the prerequisite skills then a different strategy may need to be used. 

Take Notes...

What steps are involved in the task of counting a group of coins? 
 
What are the prerequisite skills needed to follow these steps? 
 
Have you ever worked with students who may benefit from explicit instruction? 

Module: Helping with Instruction

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