Greatest Hits Revisited: The Encore Edition of Link Lines

By Elaine Gould, M.Ed.
September/October 2013


Teacher use of evidence-based practices (EBP) is strongly encouraged in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 as an effective means to increase positive outcomes for students with disabilities. Lee and Picanco (2013) contend that teachers should not only be able to identify effective instructional practices, but also understand how and when these practices should be introduced in a student’s phases of learning (i.e., acquisition, proficiency, maintenance, generalization). For example, evidence-based practices such as peer tutoring (PT) are effective at supporting mastery of specific skills (maintenance phase); however, PT is not effective when students are learning concepts for the first time (acquisition). Table 1 illustrates recommended practices for each of the learning phases.

Table 1: Learning Phases and Instructional Practices


In this first of the 2013-14 issues of Link Lines, T/TAC has included our most popular or “greatest hits” articles from past editions. Link Lines’ authors highlight easy to implement evidence-based strategies for math and behavior, as well as learning strategies that can be used across content areas. These practices occur at various phases in a student’s learning and match learning needs at each respective stage.

In the article Instructional Sequence for Teaching the Structure of the English Language with Multisensory Structured Language Education (MSLE), Mary Stowe outlines the instructional sequences for teaching foundational reading skills in the different areas of reading that help children unlock the meaning of text. 

Increasing Student Opportunities to Respond helps teachers learn ways to increase positive and decrease negative student behaviors by increasing their students’ engagement and on-task behavior during all phases of the learning process. Specific practices such as choral responding and response cards can be used to build accuracy and fluency with skills taught in the acquisition and proficiency phases of learning.

The Concrete-Representational-Abstract instructional sequence is outlined by Tina Spencer in Discovering a Wealth of Resources to Build a Solid Math Foundation. This sequential process begins with modeling the use of manipulative materials in the acquisition phase and ends with the true understanding of math concepts at the abstract level (maintenance phase) (MathVIDS,n.d. Readers are linked to multiple Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) resources to support the implementation of evidence-based practices in Math.

In a separate article, Tina highlights cross-disciplinary strategies in A Note Worthy Strategy for Student Success: Becoming Effective Listeners and Note-Takers. The author identifies ways in which teachers can engage students in recording and organizing important information during the acquisition phase so they can retrieve this information later in the learning process (e.g., for assessment and application).

In Partnering to Build “Good Day Plans” for Students, the author focuses on student and teacher collaboration when students are experiencing academic challenges. This article addresses writing skills; however, partnering with students to set learning goals can help students in any content area.

Cathy Buyrn, author of Featured Apps: The Home-School Connection, highlights apps that help parents, students, and teachers connect and collaborate online. Through the featured apps, students can engage in course content and access additional resources outside of their regular class time. They can participate in safe and secure online discussions that can be easily shared with parents. Other apps allow parents to stay abreast of their child’s progress and attendance and have access to important school announcements.

A new resource for schools, Teacher Direct, provides educators with new SOL and content area instructional resources created by VDOE staff. Educators can also subscribe to TeacherDirect to get news and updates about professional development, grant opportunities, and information of interest to teachers and their students.

As mentioned previously, it is essential and effective to implement evidence-based practices and strategies when teaching students with disabilities. Maximum learning occurs when teachers choose the most appropriate instructional strategies for their students and implement these practices at times when students will most benefit from them.


Lee, C. & Picanco, K. (2013). Accommodating diversity by analyzing practices of teaching (ADAPT). Teacher Education and Special Education. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0888406413483327

Math Video Instructional Development Source (VIDS). (n.d.). Concrete-representational-abstract sequence of instruction. Retrieved from