The Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program is a fourth- through 12th-grade system to prepare students in the academic middle for four-year college eligibility. AVID has a proven track record in bringing out the best in students, and in closing the achievement gap.
AVID targets students in the average to high average test score range – A, B, C, and even D students – who have the desire to go to college and the willingness to work hard. These are students who are capable of completing rigorous curriculum but can be falling short of their potential. Typically, they will be the first in their families to attend college, and many are from low-income or minority families. AVID puts them on the college track: acceleration instead of remediation.
The following is a list of instruction strategies that AVID encourages teachers to incorporate in their
lessons. These strategies may be adapted to any subject. They also support the methodologies of the AVID
instructional program: WICR (Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Reading)
Ideas gathered quickly, topic written as headings on chart paper. Students divided into
groups and given different colored markers, move clockwise to brainstorm ideas. After
all groups have written on each chart, they should do a gallery walk to see the ideas that
were added. Good precursor to a formal essay.
Allows for connections between new concepts and prior knowledge. Students should be
given a list of related concepts and asked to make connections between them. Students
can also create their own lists.
Designed for discussion several topics during a class period. Students divide into several
groups according to particular topics and serve as consultants to each other. They can be
instructed to report out briefly at the end of the period.
With Cornell Notes, students take detailed notes from class lectures and texts in a wide
right-hand margin and develop clarifying ideas or questions regarding these notes in a
narrow left-hand margin. This helps students develop long-term retention and a deeper
understanding of the material studied.
Dialectical Journals allow students to record their thought in preparation or a discussion
with a partner, small group or entire class. The following is a list of activities that
students may do to interact with lecture notes, text, or video. With each activity students
should divide their papers in half and place notes on the right side. They should then be
instructed to respond to these notes on the left side in one or more of the following ways:
Create a graphic organizer(s) to visually represent the major ideas.
Write a one-sentence summary to capture the main idea.
Explain the significance of a particular piece of information.
Make an inference in terms of what a fact suggests about the time period,
Create an analogy to show similarity between the relationships.
Develop a “what if” statement that speculates what might have happened
if an event had not occurred or had occurred differently.
Make a connection to a similar event which may have occurred recently or
in the past.
Turn the title, heading, or subheading into questions.
Create new titles, headings, and subheadings for each section.
Write a simile or metaphor for an idea, event or person.
Meetings of the Minds
With this activity, students should research diverse characters from a specific time period
and then engage in a “meeting of the minds” (conversation) in small groups or in a
fishbowl setting. To do this, students should choose a character from a unit of study or
time period, research him or her, and then write three questions that the character would
ask each of the other characters on an assigned topic.
This activity is helpful when it is necessary to have small group discussions of individual
issues. After completing an assigned reading, students should share their responses to
open-ended questions with a partner. A whole-class discussion should follow
This technique assesses level of understanding at carious intervals of a lesson. In
preparation for the next days’ lesson, student should be provided with sticky notes on
which to write questions or statements about a given topic or concept. They should place
their notes on a large chart that is posted in the room. The chart should be divided into
three sections and labeled with headings such as I Don’t Understand, I am Starting to
Understand, and I Completely Understand. The teacher should take note of the questions
and use them in preparing the lesson. At key points the students should be able to
collaborate and move their sticky notes to the section most representing their level of
understanding. The teacher is able to determine a general level of understanding among
the students and to adjust the instruction accordingly. With this method, students who are
hesitant to ask question orally will have their concerns addresses.
Philosophical Chairs is a technique that allows students to critically think, ponder and
write their belief. First, the chair in the room should be arranged in the shape of a
horseshoe. Then student should come to class with notes taken on an article, short story,
essay, or literary selection. After being presented with a statement that will elicit thought
and discussion, they should be told they will argue the merits of the statement and that
their choice of seat during the discussion will illustrate their stance. For example, if they
agree with the statement, they should sit on the right side of the room. If they disagree,
they should sit on the left side, and if undecided, they should sit in the back. At
designated intervals, student should be given the opportunity to change sides if they
change their viewpoint. A good follow-up to this activity would be to write an
In this journal student record their thinking about possible solutions to problems being
investigated. This strategy assists students in making connections between problems and
solutions of the past and those of today. Students should divide into groups and separate
their papers into three columns. The left column should represent the problems
investigate; the middle column, a brainstorming of possible ideas; and the right column, a
list of realistic solutions.
Quickwrites involve asking a question, giving people a set amount of time for responding
(usually between one to ten minutes), and either hearing or reading the responses. The
quickwrite can be modified endlessly, depending on circumstances. Quickwrites
encourage critical thinking warm-ups: use the quickwrite at the start of a class to get
students focused on a new concept, or the material from last class, or preparatory reading
material, etc. Student-directed quickwrites: have students lead the quickwrite session,
having prepared a question in advance and thought through a method for fielding the
responses. Class-closers: as with the warm-ups, use the quickwrite to prompt reflection
through summary, synthesis, explanation, a question.
This activity is the oral equivalent of the quickwrite. A student draws a topic from a stack
of index cards, thinks about it for five seconds, and then speaks before the class for a
predetermined time. The topics are based on prior reading assignments.
Post four pieces of paper in the four corners of the classroom. Write a controversial topic
on the board (for example: Schools should eliminate report cards). Have students move to
the corner that best matches their position (Strongly Agree, Somewhat Agree, Strongly
Disagree, Somewhat Disagree). If social cliques are a problem, have students write their
choice on a card first in order to ensure honest reactions. Each corner will have 2 minutes
to discuss and solidify their reasoning/logic. Each group selects a spokesperson to
express the group’s position. He/she has 30 seconds to express thoughts concisely and
persuade their classmates. Other groups must listen intently. After the first corner
presents, invite those who have been persuaded to move to the appropriate corner. Direct
each group to present their group’s position in turn. Allow students to move to the
appropriate corners if they have changed their minds.
The Jigsaw method is a cooperative learning technique in which students work in small
groups. Jigsaw can be used in a variety of ways for a variety of goals, but it is primarily
used for the acquisition and presentation of new material, review, or informed debate. In
this method, each group member is assigned to become an “expert” on some aspect of a
unit of study. After reading about their area of expertise, the experts from different
groups meet to discuss their topic, and then return to their groups and take turns teaching
their topics to their groupmates.