Dive into a new topic with enthusiasm - applying Rosenshine's principles

Thomas Courtley, ex teacher and LessonUp education specialist

Thomas Courtley

Education Specialist

Today we are going to tackle Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction and how to implement them during the various phases of a lesson. Hereunder we propose 3 learning techniques to support you in the application of Rosenshine's Principles while introducing a brand new topic to your class.

Top 3 learning techniques to apply 👉 when you explain a new topic

 Which Rosenshine principles are applied in the following 3 learning techniques?

  • Begin a lesson with a short review of previous learning (principle 1)

Rosenshine suggests devoting between 5 and 8 minutes every day, preferably at the start of a lesson, to revise previous learning. Our cognitive load is limited, so if we don’t review previously anchored memories, remembering old information will hinder us from acquiring new information.

  • Present new material in small steps with student practice (principle 2)

The Cognitive Load Theory explains how our working memory has a limited capacity. If students are presented with too much information at once, the brain suffers from something known as overload. This causes the learning process to slow down, since the brain can no longer process all the information. Introducing learning material in small steps helps prevent a cognitive overload. 

  • Provide models and worked examples (principle 4)

Delivering new information to students by linking it to something or some process they are familiar with, allows them to gain a quicker understanding of the topic. This is especially true of more conceptual ideas, which require deeper connections to become anchored and understood. 

1. ABC brainstorm

To implement the learning technique ABC brainstorm, we suggest you group your students in teams of 2 or 3. Indicate the new topic or subject, without further explanation, and ask them to write down a word or short phrase concerning the topic: 1 for each letter of the alphabet. Together, they are challenged to help each other and come up with words and/or sentences for as many letters as possible.

This learning technique can be implemented on paper, or on the interactive whiteboard. If you decide to forward a standard layout to your students, they could work on their own devices.


Brainstorm together, on a central screen

In LessonUp you can create a slide with an open-ended question. In the textual window you could write something like 'Indicate what you know about..', followed by the subject. Students could answer with a list of what they know about the topic, divided by commas or semicolons, starting with the letter A and ending with the Z. 

If you prefer to simplify it a bit for your students by not asking them to come up with words from A to Z, try dividing it in blocks of three letters. That way students have more than one letter to choose from. There are many layouts you could forward to your students or upload in LessonUp.

2. Zoom In

With the learning technique Zoom In students get to focus on details, and on drawing conclusions. Each time students are offered small zoom-ins of a bigger picture, one by one, like the pieces of a puzzle. By and by, they are stimulated to ask relevant questions and draw their own conclusions, until the original image is revealed.

With this learning technique they experience how 'thinking' is a living process, which changes and matures each time the brain is offered a new piece of information. 

To get the most out of this learning technique, you need to select a complex picture containing a lot of detail. The main goal is for students to ask relevant questions and elaborate information, not to guess what the initial image is. That is secondary.

Each new piece of the puzzle (image)  is accompanied by a new question, such as:

  • What do you see?
  • What stands out? 
  • Does this new piece of information complete the picture?
  • Do you have more questions?

Zoom In is much more effective with LessonUp slides

Start by choosing the perfect image and embedding it in your lesson. Once you have decided which sections you want to show to your students, in which order, use a black filler (component; symbol) to erase the parts of the image you want to conceal, one by one. 

Continue concealing parts of the image with the black filler, slide by slide, until your screen is black, and the original image no longer visible. Remember to start by showing your students your last slide first - black slide - and working your way back.

3. Working with hotspots

Many people are good visual learners, and observing a meaningful image is always an interesting experience. A nice picture captures the attention of your students, and can stimulate them to engage in interesting conversations with you and their peers. 

This is one of the reasons why classroom walls are often crammed with posters and visual material, fighting to capture students’ attention and ignite their curiosity. 


Give images a twist with LessonUp’s digital teaching platform

LessonUp offers the opportunity to add hotspots to a chosen image. Thanks to these clickable buttons, your image will offer students detailed information on what is being shown. You can add a lot of information to any part/detail of an image.

Moreover, students can study the image and read the information added to the hotspots at their own pace. By using hotspots, you could load an image with lots of information. Without being aware of it, students absorb the load.

Want to apply Rosenshine's principles in your classroom? Discover how easy it is to ask questions to your students through LessonUp—Effective ways to assess what your student's know