The Elkhorn Instructional Model is represented by two visuals that highlight our instructional practices.


Every Day:

These components should be a purposeful and explicit part of every lesson.

Learning Activation A very brief activity to focus students’ attention on the lesson’s learning goals.  
Learning Goal(s) A statement describing what students should know and be able to do at the conclusion of the lesson.
Formative Assessment Minute-by-minute check for understanding centered around each student’s knowledge of the learning goal(s).
Closure An activity to close the lesson and allow students to reflect on their learning.


Gradual Release:

Gradual release is a progression in which teachers gradually do less of the work and students gradually assume increased responsibility. It is important and necessary that students experience all four phases of learning when encountering new content; however, they may not encounter all phases every day and the phases may be presented recursively or in different order. Gradual release may occur over a day, a week , or a month.

Focused Instruction
“I do it.”
During focused instruction the teacher maintains the majority of the responsibility in this phase of the learning process.  It is important for the teacher to clearly communicate the learning goals with students, establish a clear purpose and provide examples and modeling to allow students to understand what it means to be successful.
Guided Instruction
“We do it.”
During guided Instruction the teacher uses questions, prompts, cues and additional modeling to help students better understand the learning goal.  Teachers are gathering information about student understanding through formative assessment strategies to understand where students are in their learning and determine next instructional steps.
Collaborative Learning
“You do it together.”
Collaborative learning provides students with the opportunity to consolidate their understanding, apply what they already know to new situations and engage in a review of previous knowledge.
Independent Learning
“You do it alone.”
Through independent learning students assume greater responsibility and are given opportunities to demonstrate evidence of their learning in new situations.  Independence is the ultimate goal of instruction.

Key Resources:

Fisher, Douglas, and Nancy Frey. Better Learning through Structured Teaching: A Framework for the Gradual Release of Responsibility. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2008. Print.

Hunter, Robin, and Madeline C. Hunter. Madeline Hunter’s Mastery Teaching: Increasing Instructional Effectiveness in Elementary and Secondary Schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2004. Print.

Marzano, Robert J., Tina Boogren, Tammy Heflebower, Jessica Kanold-McIntyre, and Debra Pickering. Becoming a Reflective Teacher. Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research Laboratory, 2012. Print.