Have you ever spent hours organizing, structuring, and even creating activities for a lesson or workshop only to have it not go quite as you had envisioned? Of course you have, we all have! So where do you turn to find out where it all went wrong? One of the foundations to a good instructional experience is the instructional model used. So the first place to start looking is to see how you used the instructional model. Often, what you will find is that you left out a critical piece for supporting the rest of the model. I just had this experience during a workshop for an audience of new teachers. I spent a lot of time sorting out the instructional goal and objectives, the sequence and content of instruction, materials needed, and even activities and formative assessment points. But the one thing I left out was following an instructional model to organize all that other stuff within. When it comes to instruction I tend to use the 5E model along with Madeline Hunter’s principals of lesson design. I had my anticipatory set, my explanation of new content point, and even my closure (formative assessment piece). But when I looked at my instruction from the 5E’s model perspective I left out a crucial component; I left out time for exploration! I had them engaged and then bam, right to the content. What was the result?? A bunch of bored and still a bit confused new teachers. Why was incorporating an exploration activity so crucial to the rest of the experience? Well, there are a few good reasons. First, for those who have no working context for the material about to be covered, exploring sets up that opportunity and gives them something concrete that they can reflect on for the rest of the instructional experience. Second, having the opportunity to inquire and explore sets the stage for motivation to learn and understand. So you can see that by the time I was asking them to apply the material they have had no opportunity to first explore the material, thus making application more challenging than it needed to be. So what’s the lesson here??? Follow that model!