Best Practices, Education, Learning and Development

Strategies for SQ3R

SQ3R is a strategy to facilitate reading depth. Survey. Question. Read. Recite. Review.

How do you get learners to participate in the five steps? It’s easier just to read the material and hope you remember enough to get the learning coordinator to stop asking you questions.  Let’s look at a step by step approach that may have your audience participating in all five steps without realizing what you are achieving.


Scan the reading. Looking at headings, sub-heading, pictures, captions, intros and summaries.

Before your audience has the opportunity to jump right in, ask what the reading is about. Then conduct a brief discussion of what is already known.  Ask questions about charts, graphics, basics of the reading content.

For younger learners:

My students love a word search. I feel there is value in this as they learn to look at the big picture and improve their scanning skills.  When we have a reading that I want to focus on, students will begin by performing a word search. They have to highlight specific words that I have chosen and will only have a limited time to perform this task.

We then discuss each word and I ask them to predict the content and purpose of the reading. Discussing what they already know and how the topic relates to previous discussions.


The audience should then take time to read the work. Ask them to focus on questions previously discussed. Remind them to read captions, titles, and subheadings.  Give time for this and don’t talk through it!  Most people cannot focus in there is chaos and conversation around them. If it is important enough to have your audience read, then give them the quiet time needed to absorb the information.

For younger learners:

Depending on the reading ability of your students, you can have them read silently or read aloud.  Sometimes I will read to my students, and sometimes we will popcorn read. I will call on people to take over at various pause points in the reading. Everyone is responsible for reading along, and knows at some point it may be their time to read.

Reading to your students models good reading. Students prior to high school can absorb more difficult content when it is read aloud to them. Reading aloud helps to foster literacy and reading appreciation.  It lets students know that reading doesn’t have to be boring.  Here are few good articles for the benefits of read aloud:

Reading Aloud: Is it worth it?

Reading Aloud to Build Comprehension

Read Aloud: What are the benefits?



Note the text. Highlight key points. Make notes in the margins. Write questions that the text raised. Challenge the text. Take this a step further and discuss what was read, raising questions and challenges. Make connections. The more senses that can be used in this step the better.


The review stage is an ongoing process and depends on the purpose of the reading.  For a step off of the learning topic, it may be simply referring back to the reading during the time frame. For classroom instruction it may be making the connections to learned content and new content.  Is this a resource to be studied later?  If so, more notes about the work and writing answers to the recite stage questions may be necessary.

SQ3R does not have to be a long drawn out process. Each step can be condensed and adjusted for learner needs and presenter purpose.  It is easily adaptable for individual needs.

Education, Learning and Development

Smile File Affirmation

Face it, in the professional world affirmations are few and far between.  There are many who will not hesitate to tell you what you are doing wrong or what they are unhappy with. Sharing a thank you or great job is not something that everyone will take the  time to do.

Years ago someone told me to start a smile file.  This is great advice for anyone, not just teachers.  A smile file is where you keep words of encouragement received from clients or co-workers, affirmations of a job well done, or just something from your work environment that makes you laugh and smile.  When you really need to remember why you do what you do, take a look through the file.

I received an addition for my smile file today.  The parents shared that the student said I was:

“very good at explaining and making kids feel comfortable about letting you know when they are confused. ‘She tells us to start telling her what we know and then to say when we get to the part we don’t understand.'”

In the past I have had students express that this technique is intimidating.  It would take more than a semester for me to get students comfortable with Socratic questioning. “I don’t know” is not an acceptable response in my classroom.  You know something so let’s see if we can get you thinking in the direction needed.  For this student to share, unsolicited, with a parent is validating.

With all the frustration of this year, something must be going right.

Career, Change, Instructional Design, Learning and Development

In transition

I am opening the door on the next step in my professional journey. I wish to transition from the secondary classroom into corporate learning and development/instructional design. My research is proving to be disheartening. There is so little respect for the k-12 educator. There is little understanding that the skill set required to educate young minds transfers to the corporate world. In fact, I presume that it is easier.  Let’s face it, no one in corporate America is going to require an IEP or 504 plan so that their instructional experience is differentiated to their very specific learning need.  No one in corporate America requires a PEP for their specific learning need…actually, you know, that is probably not true.  If corporate America is anything like working with my teacher colleagues (and my husband works in corporate America so I know that there are shocking similarities) some absolutely need a PEP in order to complete the technology tasks expected of them.  It amazes me how many professionals in the 21st Century cannot perform basic computer tasks.

I recently completed a brief synopsis on why I am seeking certification in Instructional Systems Technology.  My response is below.

With 18 years of education experience, a Bachelor’s of Science in Social Science Secondary Education and a Master’s in American History it is time that I broaden my career options. I am applying for the Instructional Systems Technology certification program so that I may further explore instructional design and current theories of learning.

I have a proven ability to design instructional models to meet the needs of a diverse audience.  Flexibility, creativity, and management skills have allowed me to successfully implement curriculum requirements and deliver content in an efficient, appropriate and beneficial manner.  I am skilled in technology usage and evaluation models, as well as possess excellent communication and time management skills.  My current classroom is 80% paperless using Canvas as my LMS platform. I am familiar with multiple LMS systems and with Instructional Design programs. Achieving certification for Instructional Design is the logical next step for me to transition my career to a corporate setting.

My diverse teaching experiences have prepared me for this area of study. In my previous post as teacher and site coordinator of ‘”my school’s” online credit recovery program utilizing APEX learning systems I was able to design multiple courses using the platform available and discussing curriculum needs with subject matter experts.  Data from student use and program completion was a key tool in our push for implementation of school improvement goals and program use increased graduation rate. It was my responsibility to utilize course instructional modules and site coordinator reports to monitor progress and ensure completion to improve graduation outcomes. Working with a small team of educators, I helped grow the Apex utilization program from a brief, twice a week, credit recovery program to a year-round program- taking place during school, after-school, and as an independent credit recovery option for struggling students.  Initially we were using the Apex program as designed, but found it necessary to customize content to suit “state and local” course requirements.  I was responsible for the design of multiple courses. As Apex course offerings and our own understanding of what Apex could provide improved, our credit recovery program was enhanced. We expanded from using Apex as a credit recovery tool to a comprehensive credit recovery program; I was instrumental in creating teacher-training tools and implementing broader strategies for utilization.

In preparation for this career transition I have begun the process of further refining my personal brand and enhancing my skill set. I am refreshing my understanding of learning models and studying current trends for instructional design and adult learning theory.  I am also gaining additional knowledge and expertise with programs such as Captivate and expanding my utilization of blended learning strategies in my personal classroom. I have begun providing professional development for colleagues who need assistance with k-12 technology implementation and tools.

In the future, I plan to transition out of the classroom and offer my expertise in the field of learning and development, as well as instructional design. The Graduate Certificate Program in Instructional Systems Technology will help further my career goals and provide the necessary means to transition to areas outside the k-12 classroom. It will also allow me to hold the necessary endorsements to continue in K-12 technology instruction if the opportunity presents.

The delivery format of the certification program allows me to continue my career in the k-12 classroom. The content knowledge gained will also help me be a better instructional specialist for my clientele.

My next considerations have to be: Is a certification program enough?  I feel like it should be. However, my research shows that industry leaders look down upon educators. There is no confidence in the transferable skill set.  I assure you, the skills are there. The juggling act of a k-12 educator is rather impressive. Until he met me, my husband had no idea what teachers faced on a daily basis.  He has been shocked and saddened.  I think that corporate America shuns the transitioning educator because they are uninformed and lack the knowledge that a personal association provides. Also, currents trends are to vilify teachers who are overworked and (I would say underpaid, but I don’t think that is always the case so…) underappreciated.

Thanks for reading. I will leave you with a quote from fellow teacher Keith Hughe’s

Where attention goes, energy flows.



Education, Instructional Design, Learning and Development

Academia vs Corporate Learning

I recently read an article that was almost condemning of one in academia attempting to transition to corporate learning and development. As someone who would love to step out of the classroom I was perplexed. Is this going to be possible for me? Do I have anything to offer corporate instructional needs? Rather than embracing the initial defensive response, I chose to delve deeper. It is the 21st Century, learning is at your fingertips and it seems everyone has an opinion. Since I am part of everyone, and this is my spot on the web, I will explore my opinion.

Is there really a difference in corporate learning and academia? Yes…and no. I choose the focus on the following three categories: purpose, audience, and method of instruction.

Nikos Andriotis posted an article on TalentLMS that explores this topic. The key difference is stated simply:

Instead of paying attention to facts, details, and knowledge, corporate eLearning plays up skills and how they’re applied in the workplace.

Academia focuses on learning objectives. Corporate learning focuses on performance. In both you are restricted to the objectives of the course. Whether it is the department of instruction for a state or the CEO of a company, someone is deciding what the trainer should present. In academia the trainer is typically well versed in the subject being taught. In corporate, subject matter experts provide the content and the trainer facilitates the instruction.

The audience needs also differ. Primary, secondary, and post-secondary academic settings are for preparing students to function in society. Learning is broad. Learning is broken down into steps and each new academic year builds on the foundational learning skills of the previous. Knowledge is measured by regular assessments of knowledge and understanding of content. In the corporate setting, it is assumed that the learner already possesses the basic skills for the job at hand. It is also assumed that the learner knows how to learn. The performance improving goal is stated and over time success is measured based on periodic performance indicators. Very specific business skills are measured.

In academia the learning time frames are broken into quarters, semesters or trimesters, and academic years. The time frames for corporate learning are much more compact. As the market changes, demands and needs change, therefore learning opportunities/requirements are quickly revamped to meet those needs. To simplify it, academia is about learning, content, and theory. The corporate world is about training.

Are instructional experiences transferable between academia and corporate? It depends on who you ask. If you ask someone who lacks knowledge beyond their own personal attendance of a school, then no and academic simply cannot successfully transition to instructional design, and corporate learning and development. If you ask someone who is not so short sighted and does not buy into the vilification of teachers, then yes the instructional skills are transferrable. One should not make any career transition without careful consideration and research. There are frustrations in every job. Skill sets are transferrable. Both academia and corporate learning require the ability to communicate. Both require time management and the ability to meet deadlines. Both require patience with clients who are not always eager to learn. Both require creativity. Finally, both require a dedication to success.

Does this over simplify the comparison? Probably, but that does not make it any less real.