Finding the right amount of guidance
Step 1: Show your child the examples in the math book showing your child how to work them out.
Step 2: Have your child do some of the math problems with you.
Step 3: Instruct your child to do some math problems independently.
If this 3-step process for teaching math seems familiar to you, that’s no surprise. Most math textbooks rely on this tried and true teaching strategy commonly-called “I Do, We Do, You Do.” But have you ever thought about using this same strategy in other areas like writing?
The steps to this teaching strategy are pretty straight forward. First, you do something while your child watches you. Second, you do something with your child. And third, you ask your child to do it independently.
In the early grades, I Do, We Do, You Do is a cute way to remember the steps. For students in the middle and upper grades, it’s a bit immature. For those students, teach them the steps so that they recognize them and can use them in contexts other than math to learn independently.
Step 1: Model – This is where an adult, another learner, or a textbook models what is expected. In writing, this can include a sample persuasive essay, a newspaper article, or a cover letter for a job application. A high-quality model will point out (verbally, with highlighting, or bringing attention in some other way) key qualities of this type of writing. In geography, quality modeling may include a completed map with important locations or features accentuated.
Step 2: Practice – During this step, learners practice what they saw modeled. In our writing example, a student may write their own persuasive essay, newspaper article, or cover letter copying the high-quality characteristics seen in the model. In geography, this may include filling in the names of important locations or features on a blank map.
Step 3: Reflect – This is perhaps the most important of the three steps in my opinion. This is often where the most learning takes place. Reflection involves checking your work and critically evaluating it with the intention of revising and refining the work. In our writing example, the student should re-read what they wrote looking for each of the key characteristics in their own writing. Where they find something lacking, revise. In our geography example, reflection may include comparing the student’s practice to the original model to see what was included on the map correctly and what wasn’t. Where errors occur, students should think about how they can better remember those qualities the next time they try.
The “I Do, We Do, You Do” or “Model, Practice, Reflect” strategy is one of the easiest teaching strategies to implement. Overtly teaching it to older students helps them to become better independent learners. A clear understanding of this process helps in practical situations in the future when learners are presented with new tasks or assignments by giving them tools to use to start out right.
Use this strategy at home with your children and let us know how it goes.