initiative focuses on improving instruction for
all students so that students are engaging in
meaningful learning experiences and the
achievement gap is closed.
One of the key
goals of the Alabama State Improvement Grant
(SIG) and the State Personnel
Development Grant (SPDG) has been to
increase the quality of instruction so that
all students (i.e., typical achieving,
learning disabled, English-language
Learners, etc.) are more engaged in
meaningful learning to produce substantial
improvements in performance. At the
heart of this initiative has been state-wide
staff development in the Makes Sense
Strategies (MSS) developed by Edwin Ellis at
the University of Alabama. The MSS
model is an approach to teaching based on
three fundamental instructional principles:
1. Students learn better when they are
actively engaged in processing new
information in meaningful ways.
2. Increasing the learn-ability of
information or skills is preferable to
dumbing down what students are expected to
3. Students should not waste time
In part, the Makes Sense approach is a
collection of powerful
techniques and tools for differentiating
curriculum, planning and implementing
instruction, and assessing student learning.
In part, it's a curriculum because students
learn new strategies and thinking skills
when teachers employ the MSS strategies.
In part, the Makes Sense approach is teaching philosophy about what students
should learn and how it should be taught.
MSS also includes strategies and tools for
planning, implementing and assessing
innovative school reform efforts. For
more information please
Instruction initiative provides training and
technical assistance to facilitate access to
general curriculum and reduce the achievement
gap. Standards-based instruction focuses
on an aligned system of instruction and
assessment. Teachers plan instruction
based on individual and classroom data and
target skills that are prerequisite to
grade-level academic content standards.
Through monitoring student progress and
differentiating instruction, all students can be
engaged in effective and efficient instruction.
For more information please