Developing an Instructional Strategy Checklist


Educator creates, uses and shares a checklist for an instructional strategy to improve professional practice and advance student outcomes.

Key Method

The educator effectively creates a checklist for an instructional strategy, uses the checklist to improve or strengthen professional practice, and shares the checklist with their students (or a colleague) to advance student outcomes.

Method Components

“Checklists remind us of the minimum necessary steps and make them explicit. They…instill a kind of discipline of higher performance.”

Gawande, A. (2010). The checklist manifesto: How to get things right. New York: Metropolitan Books.

Why Would I Develop an Instructional Strategy Checklist?

Checklists seem simple and are sometimes hard for us to accept as a necessity when we’re in high-powered jobs that rely on our skills and knowledge. But using a checklist can improve our performance and help us achieve more consistent results in the following ways:

  • Instructional Strategy Checklists support teachers in replicating an instructional strategy they are unfamiliar or inexperienced with through specific, step-by-step written instructions.
  • Instructional Strategy Checklists can help teachers truly understand all components of an instructional strategy, the purpose of the strategy and how to use the strategy within the cycle of instruction.
  • Developing and using an Instructional Strategy Checklist can help an educator clarify their thinking about the instructional strategy and resolve any confusion or frequently missed steps in implementation.
  • Educators can create an instructional strategy checklist for any strategy, but ideally is developed for high yield, “go-to” instructional strategies that are used frequently in instruction.

Components of an Instructional Strategy Checklist

  • Has 5-9 items. If it is too long, steps are often skipped or the checklist becomes a distraction rather than a tool
  • Includes all “critical steps”
  • Uses simple and precise language
  • Is on one page, free of distracting fonts and colors.
  • Uses a sans-serif font and standard typography. (ALL CAPS DO NOT MAKE IT EASIER TO UNDERSTAND.)
  • Must be field-tested in actual practice
  • Is refined after field-testing
  • Is dated
  • Is used consistently See Resources section for a sample Instructional Strategy Checklist

Suggestions for Developing an Instructional Checklist

A good checklist:

  • Uses precise and efficient language
  • Easy to use (formatted for quick use)
  • Provides reminders of only the most important steps, rather than trying to spell out everything—after all, a checklist can’t do your job for you.
  • Most importantly, is practical and useful


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