PDF DocumentObservation Strategy Cards


Students get to know one another by creating trading cards about themselves that include (1) a self-portrait, (2) a nickname for themselves, and (3) one thing that others are not likely to know. Students pass them around and look for cards that they would like to ask a question about.

External Link  Overview of Trading Cards

MEMORY WALL (Grades K-12)

This is a strategy to create visual "memory scenes" of stand-out moments within the classroom in which students learned together, collaborated effectively, worked through a difficult situation, etc. This strategy is effective at celebrating accomplishments within the classroom and building camaraderie among students.

External Link  Overview of Memory Wall

BUG LIST (Grades K-12)

Students collect a list of things that irritate or "bug" them. This could be displayed somewhere in the classroom and serve as driving questions for students to explore at different times during the year.

External Link  Overview of Bug List

CAMPFIRE (Grades K-12)

A fun technique in which students tell stories about things that happened within the classroom or while working in teams around positive or neutral terms or concepts that the educator decides upon (e.g. - collaboration, helpful, cooperation, etc.) This technique helps build camaraderie among students across the classroom.

External Link  Overview of Campfire

CREATIVE DNA (Grades 3-12)

Utilizing six colored post-it notes that correspond with the colors of the creative sequence, students visually show what part of the creative sequence they like the most and which they like the least. This technique is especially effective when students are just beginning to work in teams on a unit that involves the Creative Sequence because it gives them a sense of where the team will work well and where they may encounter some difficulty working together.

PDF Document Overview of Creative DNA

THE INNOVATION 5 (Grades 3-12)

Within this technique, students get an overview of five of the traits that make up someone who is innovative and that we all possess in different quantities. During the overview of the traits, students fill in a spider diagram that shows their own innovator profile and which of the five traits they believe they excel at. The emphasis here is that each and every student has a strength that they can bring to collaborative work.

PDF Document Innovation Five Presentation
PDF Document Spider Diagram (Non-Editable)
Powerpoint Document Spider Diagram PowerPoint (Editable)

SAVE THE LAST WORD (Grades 3-12)

This is a protocol to help students discuss a text that they are reading, especially one that is complex and could be viewed in multiple ways. Within small groups (3 - 5) students choose a passage to read aloud that they found particularly interesting. One student reads the passage aloud and (after pausing for a moment to think about the passage) each of the other students within the group takes one minute to respond to the passage they heard. After each of the other students has responded, the person who shared the passage has three minutes to comment on why they chose the passage and what they heard.

PDF Document Overview of Save the Last Word


By giving each student a set amount of "talking chips" during a discussion, either the educator or the students themselves can manage who has and has not participated within the discussion.

External Link  Overview of Talking Chips

RED: GREEN CARDS (Grades K-12)

By giving each student a red and a green card during a discussion, the educator can get instant feedback on whether students agree or disagree/understand or do not understand what is being discussed. This technique can also be utilized with students when they are working in small groups.

External Link  Overview of this method