Manitoba Curriculum Framework of Outcomes and Standards

Appendix E: Skills, Strategies and Tools for Instruction and Assessment

Kindergarten to Grade 4

Students engage in language activities that require the use of various thinking skills, strategies, and tools. These are best observed during the processes of learning. Observations can be used for student-teacher feedback or for assessment. Thinking skills, strategies, and tools for observation are listed below. (These are not exhaustive or hierarchical lists.)

Focusing, Attending, and Remembering
Integrating Information
Analyzing and Organizing
Other Skills, Strategies, and Tools

Focusing, Attending, and Remembering
  • brainstorming
  • accessing prior knowledge
  • setting purpose
  • attending to specific information
  • recalling
  • retelling
  • organizing thoughts
  • rehearsing
  • engaging in active listening
  • gathering information


Integrating Information
  • predicting and confirming
  • questioning
  • making connections
  • summarizing
  • drawing conclusions
  • using textual references
  • extending ideas


Analyzing and Organizing
  • identifying attributes
  • comparing and contrasting
  • identifying main ideas, setting, events, and roles of main characters
  • classifying
  • sequencing
  • recording information
  • outlining
  • identifying gaps


Elaborating, Evaluating, and Reflecting
  • discussing
  • explaining
  • extending ideas
  • inferring
  • describing
  • justifying
  • sorting essential and non-essential information
  • establishing criteria
  • self-questioning
  • giving feedback
  • clarifying information and ideas
  • drawing conclusions


Other Skills, Strategies, and Tools

During learning, students and teachers use a variety of skills, strategies, and tools to organize and clarify material being studied. Some are suited to specific learning tasks or stages of learning; others encompass a series of learning steps for broader contexts. The use of these skills, strategies, and tools in a variety of contexts may provide opportunities for teachers to observe student thinking and result in samples of student work to assist in student assessment and evaluation.

Some skills, strategies, and tools that students and teachers use include

  • semantic or mind maps (word maps, concept maps)
  • lists and charts
  • Venn diagrams
  • journal entries
  • response logs
  • dialogue journals
  • story grammars
  • graphic organizers
  • response guides
  • reading logs
  • text frames
  • sources (personal dictionary, classroom charts)
  • literature circles
  • cooperative group activities
  • author’s circle
  • author’s chair
  • story bags
  • webs
  • retellings
  • story vines
  • portfolios
  • research projects/research planners

Many pre-established strategies and tools provide opportunities for learning and assessment. Pre-established strategies that could be used include

  • KWL Plus (Know, Want to know, Learned)
  • Narrative Reading Strategy
  • PReP (PreReading Plan)
  • QARs (Question-Answer Relationships)

Other tools for teachers to use in observation and assessment include

  • cloze activities
  • question matrices
  • running records
  • peer conferences
  • IRIs (informal reading inventories)
  • miscue analysis
  • rubrics
  • self-assessment checklists
  • teacher checklists
  • anecdotal records
  • think-alouds
  • feedback forms



KWL Plus: Carr, E.G., and D. Ogle. "KWL Plus: A Strategy for Comprehension and Summarization." Journal of Reading 30.7 (April 1987): 626-31.

Narrative Reading Strategy: Duffield, G. The Narrative Reading Strategy. Winnipeg, MB: The Winnipeg School Division No. 1 Diagnostic Learning Centre, 1994.

QARs: Raphael, T. "Teaching Question-Answer Relationships Revisited." The Reading Teacher 40 (1986): 516-22.

PReP: Langer, J. "Facilitating Text Processing: The Elaboration of Prior Knowledge." In Reader Meets Author/Bridging the Gap. Ed. J. Langer and M. Smith-Burke. Newark, DE: International Reading Association, 1982. 149-62.

For a more detailed list and description of skills, strategies, and tools used in Manitoba, refer to the following documents:

Manitoba Education and Training and Training. Success for All: A Handbook on Differentiating Instruction. Renewing Education: New Directions series. Winnipeg MB: Manitoba Education and Training, in press.

---. A Thinking Framework: Teaching Thinking Across the Curriculum. Renewing Education: New Directions series. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Education and Training and Training, 1996.