Adapt Lessons to Reach All Students

Principle Criteria/Feature
I. Big Ideas
Concepts, or principles that facilitate the most efficient and broad acquisition of knowledge
  • Focus on essential learning outcomes
  • Capture rich relationships among concepts
  • Enable learners to apply what they learn in varied situations
  • Involve ideas, concepts, principles, and rules central to higher-order learning
  • Form the basis for generalization and expansion
II. Conspicuous Strategies
Useful steps for accomplishing a goal or task
  • Planned
  • Purposeful
  • Explicit
  • Of medium-level application
  • Most important in initial teaching of concept
III. Mediated Scaffolding
Instructional guidance provided by teachers, peers, materials, or tasks
  • Varied according to learner needs or experiences
  • Based on task (not more than learner needs)
  • Provided in the form of tasks, content, and materials
  • Removed gradually according to learner proficiency
IV. Strategic Integration
Integrating knowledge as a means of promoting higher-level cognition
  • Combines cognitive components of information
  • Results in a new and more complex knowledge structure
  • Aligns naturally with information (i.e, is not "forced")
  • Involves meaningful relationships among concepts
  • Links essential big ideas across lessons within a curriculum
V. Judicious Review
Structured opportunities to recall or apply previously taught information
  • Sufficient
  • Distributed over time
  • Cumulative
  • Varied
  • Judicious, not haphazard
VI. Primed Background Knowledge
Preexisting information that affects new learning
  • Aligns with learner knowledge and expertise
  • Considers strategic and proximal preskills
  • Readies learner for successful performance


For a summary of the Six Principles of Effective Curriculum Design.

*Excerpted from Toward Successful Inclusion of Students with Disabilities: The Architecture of Instruction by Edward J. Kameenui, and Deborah Simmons(1999).

Council for Exceptional Children

Provided in partnership with The Council for Exceptional Children.


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