Instructional Strategies, Teaching Tips and Tricks

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Case for Madeline Hunter, FISH! and Twenty-first Century Learning

Educational practices ebb and flow as instructional strategies come in and out of fashion. What never is out of fashion, however, is the need for active participation and engagement, formative assessment and well-trained teachers who believe in their students and are able to take these malleable minds and help them to understand that they are smart and that they can learn - yes the very popular growth mindset.

The Madeline Hunter Method

Dr. Madeline Hunter was a professor and guru of teacher education, at UCLA, and the creator of the the Instructional Theory Into Practice model of teacher. Most famously she developed an ingenious model of direct instruction and student engagement - often referred to as the Madeline Hunter Method that, with very few modifications - is perfect for today's classroom. Madeline Cheek Hunter (1916–1994)

Schools of FISH!

FISH! or the FISH Philosophy began at Pike's Place Fish Market, in Seattle, Washington, and was conceived to energize and motivate businesses - next came FISH! for Schools -this amazing multi-part professional development series, with hardback book and teacher journal - is a must do for all
Fish Philosophy

BIRDWALK: Call to all educators out there in charge of PD - FISH! for Schools can be purchased here!

The basic tenants follow the FISH! formula:
  • Choose Your Attitude: No matter what the day throws at you, you can choose how to respond.
  • Be There: When people need you, they need all of you, be fully present.
  • Make Their Day: Find ways to value people.
  • Play: Bring a spirit of enthusiasm, creativity and fun to work. You'll accomplish more.

Before I put forth my combined version - I must reiterate - participate in Schools of FISH! or at least buy and red the book! 

My Combination

Here goes: I have used the following in my classrooms with much success. I have also trained teachers - again with much success. The objective for this instructional practices set - is to combine the essential elements of the Madeline Hunter Method and Schools of FISH!

Critical Elements: Evidence of all elements must be present during instruction in order to be considered standards based instruction.

  • Teach to the objective
  • Correct level of difficulty
  • Monitor and adjust
  • Motivation
  • Active Participation
  • Retention
  • Transfer
  • Closure

Principals of Fish:
  • Be There
  • Play
  • Make Their Day
  • Choose Your Attitude

It is all about choice: your choice.
Madeline Hunter and FISH!

Here we go:

Teach to an Objective ­The ability of the teacher to formulate an objective before instruction and to develop relevant teacher actions to use during instruction.

Formulate an Objective
      The ability of the teacher to identify the goals of the lesson and have their students understand their part - what their outcome is to be.
Relevant/Congruent Teacher Actions
·      Actions selected by the teacher which are congruent to the learning objective and assist the learner in acquiring the new learning.
·      Teacher behaviors that promote the accomplishment of the intended goal.
·      Teacher actions that promote student behavior to reach a goal.

Correct Level of Difficulty ­The ability of the teacher to identify the incremental steps of the learning, diagnose where the student is in relationship to the learning, and begin teaching at the next step.

Task Analysis
      The process the teacher uses to identify increments of learning that accomplish the objective.
      Identify sequential, logical steps that lead the learner toward the objective.
      The breakdown of the learning into its essential parts.
      A process that identifies subsets or increments of learning that lead to the accomplishment of an objective. 
Diagnostic Activities
      Pre­-instructional tasks used to determine what students already know, need to know, and possibly how they might best learn the objective.
      Pre­-instructional activities which assess incremental step of learners.
      Pre­-instructional diagnosis to determine current level of understanding and/or knowledge.
      Methods for examining student understanding to determine the appropriate instructional level.

Monitor and Adjust ­The ability of the teacher to elicit feedback from the learner and make decisions to act upon that feedback. Use formative assessment all of the time.

Test and Check Informally - Formative Assessment on Your Feet
      Ongoing observation of student understanding of the lesson.
      Process of eliciting feedback during instruction which enables the teacher to check student understanding.
      Process where the teacher elicits an observable student response and checks for understanding to ensure incremental learning.
      Teacher observations of student performance which indicate progress toward the objective.

Adjust: ­Interpret and Act
      Teacher ability to alter instruction based on student response.
      A process of interpreting student response and acting on the interpretation.

Motivation:  ­The ability of the learner to maintain focus on the task with intent to learn. 
      Learner perceives classroom atmosphere and interaction.
      Climate of the classroom as perceived by each student over a period of time.
      Student’s emotional response to the learning environment and attitude towards learning.

Interest - to Help Engagement:
      Learner’s awareness of the importance of the learning to themselves.
      Attraction, within student, to the learning.
      Learner involvement in or curiosity about the lesson.
      Learner perceives the material to be learned is appealing.

Growth Mindset or Success:
      This begins with the teacher: do you believe your students can?
      Do your students' believe they can?
      Help your students actively believe they can by adopting the Growth Mindset in your classroom.

Knowledge of Results
      Learner has an immediate awareness of the quality and degree of the performance of the learning.
      Feedback ­information whereby the student can gauge what has been learned.
      Learner has an awareness of the accuracy and quality of responses based on feedback.
      Feedback - information whereby the student can gauge what has been learned.
      Learner has an awareness of the accuracy and quality of responses based on feedback.

Active Participation - The ability of the learner to be consistently engaged in what is to be learned.

  1. Visible or observable behavior of the learner.
  2. Learners demonstrate engagement of their minds on the learning in an observable way.
  3. Observable student behaviors that are relevant to learning.

  1. Invisible or unobservable behavior of the learner.
  2. Unobservable behaviors that are relevant to the learning.

Retention - The ability of the learner to remember the learning or to recall events relevant to the objective.

• Student ability to integrate learning into base of knowledge.
• Relationship of the learning to the student’s own knowledge and past experience.
• Relevancy of the learning as viewed by the learner.
• Learning is important to the learner at a personal level.

• Learner receives concrete representation of the learning.
• Sensory representations of the critical attributes of the learning as perceived by the learner.

Schools of FISH!

The FISH! Philosophy includes four simple, interconnected practices:

Be There is being present for people. It’s a powerful message of respect that improves
communication and strengthens relationships.

Play taps into your natural way of being creative, enthusiastic and having fun. Play is the spirit that drives the curious mind, as in “Let’s play with that idea!” It’s a mindset you can bring to everything you do.

Make Their Day is finding simple ways to serve or delight people in a meaningful, memorable way. It’s about contributing to someone else’s life, not because you want something out of it, but because that’s the person you want to be.

Choose Your Attitude means taking responsibility for how you respond to what life throws at you. Once you are aware that your choice impacts everyone around you, you can ask yourself, “Is my attitude helping my team or my customers? Is it helping me to be the person I want to be?”

Through The FISH! Philosophy, we build stronger relationships with the team members we work with, the customers we serve, the students we teach and the people we love.

Elizabeth Chapin-PinottiLet's Begin With Instruction and Play Tomorrow

Today's Freebie: Please download and - when you are teaching the unit - please think about what you just read:

No Prep Book Unit for Cindy Ellen: A Wild Western Cinderella


 Heath, Marilyn. Madeline Creek Hunter (1916-1994).

Strand, Phillip; Christensen, Halper, Andy. (2006) Schools of Fish!. Hyperion. New York, New York.

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