Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Authenticity and the Marzano Framework of TLE

Lindsay Hawkins, Janis Slater, Lindsay Williams | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


In this professional development session, participants will find connections between the principles of authenticity and the Marzano elements of Teacher Leader Effectiveness (TLE). This session does not address the other optional model known as the TULSA TLE Model.

Essential Questions

  • How can authenticity help teachers meet the TLE requirements?

  • How does the authenticity framework and the Marzano framework connect to help student learning?

Learning Goals

  • Participants will be able to articulate how authenticity can help them meet the TLE requirements.

  • Participants will be able to identify specific classroom strategies to fit both the authenticity and Marzano frameworks.

  • Participants will be able to identify specific connections between the authenticity framework and the content elements of Marzano Domain 1: Classroom Strategies and Behaviors.

Materials List

  • Presentation Slides (attached)

  • Instructional Strategy Note Sheet (attached; one per participant)

  • 2014 Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model Learning Map (attached)

  • Authentic Learning and Teaching Rubric (attached)

  • Marzano Strategies Card Sort Mat (attached; one per pair; print on legal-size paper)

  • Strips for Marzano Card Sort (attached; one set per pair)

  • Strips for Marzano Hat Activity (attached; one set per pair)

  • Brief Definitions of Some Instructional Strategies (attached)

  • Authenticity and TLE Chart (attached)

  • Sticky notes


Briefly introduce yourself and welcome participants to the session using the attached Presentation Slides.

Go to slide 3, "Fold the Line." Present the question: How much do you know about Marzano and Teacher Leader Effectiveness?

Have participants write a number 1–5 on a sticky note to rank their personal level of knowledge about the Marzano Protocol, with 1 representing no knowledge and 5 representing the most knowledge. A participant at 1 doesn't know anything about Marzano—maybe they haven't even heard his name before. A participant at 5 could tell you everything you need to know about Marzano and TLE.

After everyone has written a number, have participants make a straight line and place themselves in order from 1–5. Ask participants to discuss the topic with one of the people standing next to them. This provides support for their stance.

Once everyone is lined up 1–5, have participants split in half and fold the line. To begin, have a participant at one end of the line walk over to the other end. Participants should follow the leader so that, when they stop, each participant is across from a partner with a number different from their own. For example, a participant at 5 walks to the other end of the line and is across from a participant at 1; they will be partners. However, participants at 3 may end up partnering with another 3.

Once all participants have partners, they may find a seat together. These sets of partners will work together for the Explore activity.

Inform participants that new instructional strategies like Fold the Line will be introduced to them throughout the session. These strategies are tools to support higher-order thinking in an authentic way. Make sure each participant has a copy of the attached Instructional Strategy Note Sheet, and encourage participants to use it to jot down their ideas for personalizing a strategy to be used as an instructional tool in their classrooms. Once all the new strategies are modeled, the presentation will allow time for participants to reflect on how to use the strategies.

Allow a moment for participants to jot down how they could use Fold the Line in their classrooms. Provide an opportunity for a few people to share what they wrote.

Go to slide 4 to highlight the session objectives. This will provide a road map of where you will go together during the session and will let participants know what to expect from the session.


Transition to slide 5, "Marzano Art and Science of Teaching." Share this slide and explain the classification of Domain 1: Classroom Strategies and Behaviors. Make sure each participant has a copy of the attached 2014 Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model Learning Map. Briefly mention how each section is important to consider when instructing students.

Go to slide 6, "Classroom Strategies and Behaviors." This slide highlights the big ideas, otherwise known as the Design Questions (DQ) for each of these three teaching elements in Domain 1: Routine Events, Content, and On the Spot.

Click the slide again to bring up the oval. Tell participants: While all of the DQ are important, we are going to focus on the Content portion of Domain 1—Design Questions 2, 3, and 4—because that is primarily where planning for classroom instruction occurs.

Go to slide 7, "Making Connections." The list on the left shares the four components of authenticity and the list on the right references the three Design Questions from the previous slide.

Click the slide again to bring up the connection arrows. Tell participants: Within your pairs, there are prior knowledge connections between these two frameworks. I want you to explore possible connections in our work during this session.

Go to slide 8, "Marzano Elements Card Sort." Make sure each pair of participants has a copy of the attached Marzano Strategies Card Sort Mat and the Strips for the Marzano Card Sort, numbers 6–23.

Give participants the following instructions for the Card Sort: In pairs, sort these 18 slips of paper (numbers 6–23) on the Marzano Strategies Card Sort Mat where you think they best fit, according to the information provided and your prior knowledge. For example, number 6 reads, “Identifying Critical Information: The teacher identifies a lesson or part of a lesson as involving important information to which students should pay particular attention.” This might fit in a number of places on the mat, but I am going to place it with Value Beyond School because student learning addresses a topic or problem that has implications beyond the lesson itself. Work with your partner to place all of the Marzano elements where you think they best fit. We will discuss and compare placements in a few minutes.

Participants need to know there is not one correct answer. Some of these may be difficult to place, while others seem to fit within more than one component of authenticity.

Allow 10 minutes for participants to complete this activity.


After 10 minutes, bring the whole group back together. Explain that you are going to have different pairs share out the numbers they placed within the components of authenticity.

As pairs share out, ask the whole group to listen and identify similar examples they have placed in different component areas. They should also identify any strips they placed in that same component area that were not shared out by the other groups. (In other words, which strips did you place in that same component area that the other group did not?)

Ask for a volunteer to share out the numbers they placed in the blue section, Construction of Knowledge. After they have finished, ask participants: Did other groups have these numbers in different sections? Please just read the section and the number. Then, ask: Did any groups have other strips in the Construction of Knowledge area that were not already shared? Have those groups share out quickly.

Repeat this same process for all the other components of authenticity, each time asking the same two questions.

Wrap up this activity by reminding the whole group that these elements of Marzano and authenticity do overlap and connect in multiple areas.


Transition to slide 9, "Teaching and Learning Strategies." Place one set of the attached Strips for the Marzano Card Sort and Hat Activity into a hat or a bowl and mix them up. Go to a group and allow them to pull out one of the strips.

Once each group has drawn a Marzano element, ask them to brainstorm some authentic strategies you might use to address this element. Allow about 20–30 seconds for disequilibrium, and then pass out the attached Brief Definitions of Some Instructional Strategies to each participant. Explain that this is a small list of strategies from which they can choose one or more to help support their Marzano elements.

If participants are still struggling to find strategies that work for their element, pass out the attached Authenticity and TLE Chart. This chart provides specific examples of instructional strategies that work for each Marzano element.

When groups are finished, allow each to quickly share out the Marzano element and the strategy they chose to address or support it.

Tell participants: Using the Instructional Strategy Note Sheet, take a moment to jot down the strategies that have been used in this session. Specifically address the two columns on the sheet: How can you use this? What is the authentic component(s)?


Go to slide 10 and present the question: What is one element of Marzano that you feel more equipped to address authentically in your classroom?

Allow participants time to reflect on the question. Then, use the Give Me Five strategy. Ask five volunteers to share their reflections. Keep track of volunteers by holding up your fist and counting to five on your fingers as participants share.

Go to slide 11 to wrap up the session.

Research Rationale

The Teacher Leader Effectiveness (TLE) evaluation was adopted in 2011 through the Oklahoma State Department of Education as a teacher evaluation tool. It was implemented in stages, and in the 2013–2014 school year, it was fully being used to assess teachers in the classroom. The Qualitative portion of TLE is 50% of the total teacher measure (The State of Oklahoma, 2016). According to the Oklahoma State Department of Education, 35% of this calculation is to measure the "Added Value of Student Growth." "Added Value" refers to the contributions the teacher and school made additionally to affect student achievement over time (McGee, 2007). Student Growth does not focus on one student individually for one assessment, but as continued growth throughout the academic year.

There are two models that may be used for the TLE evaluation. One of these is the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model. Marzano's model focuses on what the teacher does, whereas authentic teaching changes lessons and places the focus on what the student does during a lesson. However, when looking at both frameworks, they overlap, and Marzano can fit directly with the higher-order thinking (HOT) of authenticity. When teaching and designing authentic lessons, even homework for practicing the basic skills of a lesson can stimulate higher-order thinking skills when designed with authenticity in mind. Authentic lessons are typically student focused, engaging students in active learning. "Learning by doing is generally considered the most effective way to learn" (Educause Learning Initiative, 2007). The Marzano framework has Design Questions one through nine that address different aspects of the teaching process. Design Questions two through four align with authentic teaching, and authentic teaching aligns with research that shows the human mind turns information into useful, transferable knowledge (Educause Learning Initiative, 2007).