Instructional Routines & Practices Instructional Routines & Practices

Goals & Progress Monitoring



The Closing Discourse section at the end of each lesson is provided to:
  • allow for discussion of the lesson objective, and support students’ self-assessments of their work for the day. For example, you might have students share an exemplary piece of work and/or work with them to clarify any misunderstandings. Consider facilitating class discussion or projecting one or more students’ work to read and analyze together.
    • In reading lessons, the final GR question provides a bigger lens for the lesson, by asking students to reflect on the significance of the text in regards to the Focus or Essential Question.
    • In writing lessons, this time is an opportunity to build an authentic audience for writing by having students share their work with the whole class (through the author’s chair) or with a partner or small group.
  • allow for a higher order discussion of the day’s text, beyond the work of the skill. This time could allow students to reflect on a text’s deeper meaning, to think about a text’s significance for the module’s Essential Question, or to discuss issues of personal significance prompted by the text. All of these activities are important for cultivating a meaningful connection to literature, and for plumbing the significance of texts. Making time for these discussions on a regular basis is a necessary complement to the emphasis on skills and reading strategies.


When sharing the learning objective, use one of the following methods to make sure that students understand it and are ready to direct their learning:

Key Word Strategy

  1. Read the learning objective aloud.
  2. Have students select “key words” from the objective. You may wish to underline these beforehand.
  3. Have students share their understandings of the key words
  4. Confirm or explain the words as necessary.
  5. Explain the purpose of the lesson’s component skill by sharing the Transferable Takeaway in the lesson.
  6. Briefly connect the lesson to past and future learning.

Paraphrase Strategy

  1. Read the learning objective aloud.
  2. Instruct students to put the learning objective in their own words with their partner by using the “See it, cover it and say it” method:
    • Reread the learning objective
    • Cover the learning objective up
    • Students paraphrase the objective in their own words
  3. Share a few exemplary paraphrases.
  4. Explain the purpose of the lesson’s component skill by sharing the Transferable Takeaway in the lesson.
  5. Briefly connect the lesson to past and future learning.

Prediction Strategy

  1. Read the learning objective aloud.
  2. Ask students to use what they know about the LO’s skill to predict what they will be doing in the lesson. (For example, if the learning objective is to identify key details in text visuals, students might respond that they will be reading photographs and charts closely and figuring out what they say.)
  3. Confirm or explain the main actions connected with the lesson skill.
  4. Explain the purpose of the skill by sharing the Transferable Takeaway in the lesson.
  5. Briefly connect the lesson to past and future learning.
    • Reread the learning objective
    • Cover the learning objective up
    • Students paraphrase the objective in their own words
  6. Share a few exemplary paraphrases.
  7. Explain the purpose of the lesson’s component skill by sharing the Transferable Takeaway in the lesson.
  8. Briefly connect the learning to past and future learning.

To see elements of these strategies, view this Expeditionary Learning Education video: “Students Unpack a Learning Target and Discuss Academic Vocabulary.”


Students can use the various goal setting routines provided for Writing to self-assess their progress with any learning objective.


Use reteach suggestions labeled in Wheatley lessons to address challenges identified in Check for Understanding or to scaffold skills for striving students. Reteaching should always offer a new or alternative way to understand a skill or task, but it should speak specifically and narrowly to the problem a student is having. Ask yourself: What is the obstacle to student success? Try to answer that question rather than repeating the instruction in its original form.
  • Check for Understanding Reteach notes are intended to be used during lesson time.
  • Exit Ticket Reteach notes are often more suitable to Pause Points or later lessons, after teachers have the opportunity to review student work in detail. If those issues suggest widespread confusion, you might reteach a learning objective skill to the entire class using the Check for Understanding or Exit Ticket Reteach suggestions in the pertinent lesson. If Exit Tickets suggest isolated or student-specific confusion, 1:1 reteaching is more effective.

Strategies for Reteaching Specific Skill Needs

    1. Analyze EXIT TICKETS and/or Checkpoint Assessments to determine skills that are difficult for students.
    2. Closely read the data to determine probable student misconceptions. For example, identify which incorrect response was most frequently chosen in a selected response and analyze what misconception that error suggests. Or analyze open-ended responses against a rubric to identify trends in the kinds of errors students are making.
    3. Synthesize data analysis into a statement describing the salient student misconceptions. Word this as, “Students would improve most (in this skill) if they …”
    4. Choose a reteaching strategy from these three broad options:
      • Option A: Completely reteach the skill When students are completely missing the skill, do a full reteach, ideally with a text at students’ instructional reading level. Apply the component skill charts shown in the SKILL MINI-LESSONS>Reading Skills section and instruct students in the reading thinking process during Guided or Remedial reading instruction. You may also want to read the section Using Anchor Charts and Reading Thinking Steps in the INSTRUCTIONAL ROUTINES sections for additional guidance.
      • Option B: Integrate practice during Independent Reading When students show a general understanding of the skill, but struggle to use it proficiently or with complex texts, integrate practice into students’ independent reading. Before reading, present a short mini-lesson to review salient aspects of the skill and focus on the area of misconception. Give students an aligned task to complete during their independent reading, e.g. “As you read today, look for evidence of the characters’ point of view. Take notes of clues of what the character is feeling or thinking. At the end, write a response explaining what one character’s point of view is and the text details that show it.”
      • Option C: Add practice to KIPP Wheatley lessons (even if they focus on another standard) Most KIPP Wheatley lessons can be adjusted to include additional text-dependent questions or skill practice to supplement the objective of the day, as long as the lesson focuses on a text of the same basic type (informational, fiction, drama, or poetry). If students struggled with author’s point of view (RI.6), for example, then add a question about point of view to subsequent lessons, requiring students to provide text support for their answers. These new questions can be added to the EXIT TICKET for everyone or for just those students who struggled with the standard.

Pause Points

Use Pause Points in a variety of ways to address pacing challenges, assessment concerns, and so on.
  • Remediate issues elevated by student EXIT TICKETS.
  • If students have not completed a focus writing task, use pause points to extend practice time or to work 1:1 with students who are struggling. Use reteach suggestions from within the lessons of the focus writing task.
  • Reteach using Checkpoint and End of Module Assessments. For example, if students chose an incorrect response, think-aloud to model how to remove that response and examine the remaining responses. Checkpoint and End of Module Assessment passages also offer opportunities to retest students after some reteaching.


KIPP Wheatley assessments include traditional multiple choice questions with a single correct answer. They also include selected response questions in which students must select two or three correct answers. At lower grades, students are told how many correct answers to select. At upper grades after Module 2, the directions merely instruct students to select all the correct answers. SRQ in KIPP Wheatley will often follow a Part A and Part B question structure, similar to what students see on many standardized tests. To support student success, KIPP Wheatley lessons include selected response question practice in TDQs and in Exit Tickets. Teachers may use the following routines to teach and support that practice.

Fictional Passages

Annotate for gist Teach students to write the gist of each section of text in the margins. Each gist statement should be no longer than a sentence. Students should refer back to the gist statements as a way of locating information when answering selected response questions.

Informational Passages

Read with a question in mind Teach students to read the questions first, and then read the passage with the question in mind. The steps are:
  1. Read the assessment question.
    • Circle or underline key words
    • Identify what skill you need to use to answer the question (this will be a verb like compare, explain, )
  2. Read the passage with the question in mind, looking for evidence to answer the question.
  3. Use the evidence found in step two to answer the question.

Answering Questions

Use this routine to help students answer selected response questions in KIPP Wheatley lessons (TDQs and Exit Tickets). This routine will also help them prepare for Checkpoint and End of Module Assessments.
  1. Cover the possible responses and read the question. How would you answer this question?
  2. Uncover and read the possible answers. Is your answer there?
  3. Check the text. Is your answer supported by the text?
  4. Choose it or lose it: If your answer is among the choices, choose it. Before you share it, read the other answers to see if any of them is better than yours.
  5. If several answers seem possible, consider if each is supported throughout the text. Answers that are supported throughout are more likely to be correct than those supported only in some parts of the text.
  6. Explain your answer in class discussion or in writing, as directed.


Students can also use the various goal setting routines provided for Writing to self-assess their progress with any learning objective.


When students self-assess, they need to review any feedback received, examine their own work, and then transform their observations into a series of actions. This process begins with careful examination of the learning objective and transferable takeaway (for Wheatley 3.0, only Reading lessons have a transferable takeaway; for Writing lessons, use the learning objective only), and then moves to the development of specific, actionable, and achievable goals for which students can strive. Use this routine to support students in self-assessing and setting goals for improvement.

  1. Have students carefully examine the learning objective and transferable takeaway. What does each require them to do? Then have them examine their lesson work, including for the EXIT TICKET. Were they able to complete all tasks? Could they show a friend how to complete these tasks or do they still need support?
  2. Have students craft goals using any received feedback, as well as their own thinking.
  3. These goals can apply to the same assignment, e.g., a writing or reading task, or be generalized to a future assignment. Goals should be stored for regular access, such as in students’ writing or reading folders, and revisited before resuming the pertinent task or applying to a generalized task.
  4. Provide models of helpful (specific, actionable, and achievable) goals. Each goal statement should clearly explain what the student will do to improve. Share exemplar and non-exemplar goals with students:

Examples and non-examples for specific goals 

IR – Goals – Examples and Non-Examples for Specific Goals



  • I will use question words in my answers.

  • I will listen and look carefully during read alouds, and notice information in words and pictures.

  • I will use the word wall when I speak about texts.


  • I will try harder.

  • I will work on ideas.


  • I will make sure my evidence matches my ideas.

  • I will share ideas in complete sentences.

  • I will use question words in my answers and find specific details in the text.

  • I will use specific vocabulary from my word bank. I won’t use general words like “stuff.”


  • I will get a 3 on the rubric.

  • I will try harder.

  • I will work on ideas.

  • I will challenge myself.

  1. Provide a template or sentence frames to capture students’ goals.
  1. Conference with students to support and monitor progress on goal-setting, such as during independent work.
  2. Keep student goals visible as students work to implement feedback, such as during independent practice in READ FOR DEEPER MEANING or during independent writing revision.


See also Collaborative Work and Discussions: Student Poll. Use students signals in many ways, including to
  • engage students in discussion
  • monitor student understanding
  • collect information or poll student feedback
  • provide alternative communication methods for ELL or less verbal students
  • inject fun and movement into classroom activities.
There are many ways for students to signal. Use or adapt these and get creative to develop your own.
  • Make an air check by drawing a ✓ in the air with a finger
  • Show palms up or down
  • Stand up or sit down
Note The commonly used thumbs up/thumbs down is insulting in some cultures so should be avoided.


The transferable takeaway is the portable skill learning that students should work toward in a Wheatley lesson. It describes and summarizes this learning, which students can use during independent reading anywhere in their lives. By clearly expressing and sharing this learning at the start of each Wheatley lesson, both teachers and students will have an understood and shared goal for the day’s learning. Teachers can elicit this information from students by asking questions such as “Why is this skill important? What do we need to know in order to be able to do this skill?” Teachers can also state the information directly. Students can use the transferable takeaway as a benchmark to self-assess, while teachers can use it to monitor student progress. (NOTE: In Wheatley 3.0, only Reading lessons have transferable takeaways.)


Academic Vocabulary is defined as words that are traditionally used in academic texts and tasks. Typically, these words are common in the scholastic context but infrequent in informal conversation. Teachers need to define academic words for students because they are absolutely essential for understanding prompts, tasks and instructions. If students only describe when they have been asked to analyze, for example, they will not perform to proficiency. Following are some examples of academic words: Verbs: analyze, compare, contrast, define, identify, synthesize Nouns: critique, essay, journal entry Adverbs: how, when, why   When teaching students to unpack a prompt or question, use the following steps. Have students:
  1. Paraphrase the prompt or questions
  2. Underline key words in the original prompt or question
  3. Collaboratively define every word. It is more effective for students to do this guided by questions such as “What does how mean here? What is the prompt asking you to say? How is how different than just saying what?”
Encourage students to define words by comparing them to other academic terms (for example, by comparing the way why differs from how) and by describing what the responses would need to include.


  1. Read the learning objective aloud to students.
  2. Have students select “key words” from the objective.
  3. Have students share their understanding of the key words.
  4. Confirm or explain the words as necessary.
  5. Connect the objective to prior learning through explanation. Frame the learning in the context of the upcoming lesson.
Teachers may pre‐underline words in the objective to save time. See Expeditionary Learning Education video: “Students Unpack a Learning Target and Discuss Academic Vocabulary.” Also see Work with Learning Objectives.


Assessment or on-demand prompts pose different challenges than classroom or homework writing. Assessment is often timed and measured against very specific criteria. Students must quickly identify what the prompt requires and consider how much time to allow for each part of the task. Such quick analysis takes practice, especially because so much depends on completing it quickly. Teachers frame this practice in many ways. Here are some ideas:

What Must I Do?

Students ask themselves: What must I do? To answer it, they
  • identify prompt verbs, which convey the action students must take in their writing.
  • identify the task, which is typically captured in the object of the verb. Write an essay. List details. Explain reasons.
  • ask, where will I find this information in the text?

Annotate to Prioritize

Students read the prompt once completely for general understanding. Then they reread to
  • highlight/underline/circle verbs
  • rank tasks in order of priority
  • create an organizer, list, outline, or other evidence collector of main ideas and supporting evidence

Plan Time

Students minimize anxiety about assessment writing by planning their time. Have students use this guide for essay writing, adjusting as needed if a task is especially complex or particularly simple.
  • Planning/prewriting: ⅙ of total time
  • Drafting: ⅔ of total time
  • Revising/Editing: ⅙ of total time
Students then follow these steps:
  • List total time for the task =
  • Record the clock time at start =
  • Start task 1 at
  • Start task 2 at
  • Start task 3 at
  • Start task 4 at
  • Check progress against the clock or a watch. Proceed to the next step when the plan requires and return to uncompleted sections later. (It’s better to have an essay with all the parts than one with a great introduction and no conclusion.)


Research shows that understanding the purpose of learning has a strong impact on student achievement, and this understanding also increases students’ ability to self-regulate during learning. However, simply reading aloud a learning objective does not necessarily correlate to understanding or internalizing it. The strategies below can help students understand and think about the learning objective to more fully engage them in directing their own learning:

Identify Key Words

This strategy is similar to and an alternative to Unpack the Learning Objective.

  1. Have students identify the most important words in a learning objective. This list can be separated into nouns and verbs.
  2. Have students define or explain all words.

Example: SWBAT infer character motivations in a passage.

  • Students identify character motivations as the most important noun, and explain it as “what characters think and want, what makes them act the way they do.”
  • They would identify infer as the key verb, and explain it as “use clues to figure out.”


Use this strategy to help students internalize the lesson’s purpose, and to assess their understanding of the learning objective.

  1. Cover the original learning objective.
  2. Have students retell the learning objective in their own words.


Use this strategy to activate student engagement in learning and their metacognition.

  1. Have students read the learning objective.
  2. Have students infer and predict what they will be doing in class based on the learning objective.

Example: SWBAT determine the main idea of a passage.

  • Students predict that they will be reading the passage multiple times, annotating the text, and writing gist statements.