Principles of Instruction - Guided Practice


Guided Practice, also known as the ‘we do’ component of an explicitly taught lesson, involves the teacher working through problems with students at the same time, step-by-step, while checking that they execute each step correctly. (Hollingsworth & Ybarra, 2017).

  Classroom Illustration

Guided Practice provides an opportunity to work through several examples of the newly taught skill or concept together, as a class. Teachers should aim for a high success rate prior to releasing students who are ready to practise skills and tasks independently, to ensure that they will not practise errors. Checking for understanding as well as providing immediate, effective feedback is crucial during the Guided Practice component of the lesson.  

The teacher should provide several examples for all students to work through, following the 30-40-30 ‘rule’: 

  • 30% of examples being accessible at a basic level (begin with these).
  • 40% of examples aimed for at the grade or ‘core’ level.
  •  30% of examples should be challenging. (after the students have successfully completed less difficult examples).


Year 1 - Guided Practice CVCE Derivative


Spelling lesson: spelling words that end with the phoneme /k/. 

After the teacher has demonstrated that ‘ck’ is used to spell /k/ after a single, short vowel; and ‘k’ is used after a consonant or vowel digraph, guide students to spell words that follow this pattern.

As the teacher works through a list of examples, from sick to speck, milk to brisk, feet to speak, students are asked to:

- say the word aloud, 

- segment the sounds aloud/ together, 

- identify the phoneme prior to the /k/,

- say the letters and then write the word on a whiteboard so teacher can check and provide feedback.

The teacher should aim to gradually decrease the number of prompts, just saying the word and students write as they say the sounds in the word.  Some students will continue to require prompts.  Continue with examples until 80% of students spell words correctly, demonstrating they are ready for independent practice.

  Personalised Learning

A barrier can be an obstacle or issue that may prevent students from successfully accessing and participating in the instructional practice. During Guided Practice, there may be some potential barriers that need to be considered for students with additional needs.  These barriers may include complexity of vocabulary, information and concepts, time constraints, complexity of instructions and routines and presentation and response modes.

Some potential adjustments may include:

  • Considering seating proximity of the student to the teacher.
  • Writing clear instructions on the board or repeating instructions for individual students.
  • Providing visual prompts and scaffolds.
  • Providing additional modelling and feedback.
  • Providing additional time to complete task.
  • Allowing students to demonstrate learning through a range of modes.
  • Using a communication device such as a voice output or a communication aid whereby students record responses.
  • Adjusting task to appropriately address identified learning needs.
  • Using targeted, differentiated questions for flexible student groupings.
  • Allowing for a quieter environment to participate in the activity.


We do (Guided Practice) – Granite School District

This webpage provides specific information about guided practice and includes video examples and ideas about possible practice tasks.

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That Teacher Podcast: I do, We do, You do Protocol – Part 2

In this podcast, Josh Vine unpacks the ‘we do’ component of the lesson. The role of teachers and examples as well as other key features of this principle of instruction are discussed.

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