This video shows a variety of strategies in action for challenging students to learn and do more than they think they can. Featured teachers encourage students to persist in the face of challenge, embrace learning struggles, explain their thinking, and push themselves and each other toward deeper learning. Educators also demonstrate the importance of building relationships, promoting active engagement, and supporting students in taking ownership of their learning.
This online tool is designed to help teachers track and analyze use of classroom time, which can assist in monitoring and reflecting on pacing, transitions, disruptions, engagement, and balance of learning activities. The tool makes it easy for teachers observing each other's classrooms (or their own classroom video) to document what teachers and students are doing throughout a lesson and then reflect on where adjustments might be made.
The teacher featured in this video highlights the relevance of what he is teaching, connects ideas, and engages students actively in learning. He designs tasks that invite students to synthesize and apply their understanding in real-world contexts. He anticipates challenges, monitors student work to check for understanding, and identifies common mistakes, all of which inform his teaching.
This interactive collection of lesson plans and videos offers a variety of examples of how technology can help to engage students in learning that is active, collaborative, constructive, authentic, and goal-directed. These sample lessons are organized through a matrix, which describes ways in which technology can support student engagement, and teachers can navigate to relevant examples at appropriate grade levels.
This book chapter describes an approach to designing curriculum, instruction, and assessments in which teachers plan backwards from what they want students to understand and be able to do and engage students actively in meaningful learning experiences involving inquiry and application of skills and knowledge in authentic contexts. This overview highlights the value of student input, regular checks for understanding, and performance assessments guided by clear criteria for quality work.
This teacher's blog post offers a variety of examples of how he and his colleagues have incorporated student choice into the curriculum. They describe a range of projects, including parameters set by each teacher as well as opportunities for students to have a voice in what they learn and how they demonstrate their learning. Each one illustrates the power of choice to engage students actively in learning important skills and concepts and producing quality work.
This video includes a helpful overview of higher order questions, why they are important, and how to use them effectively in a variety of contexts. It describes a variety of teaching strategies that focus on using higher-order questions to help students deepen their thinking, develop their understanding, and make their thinking visible so that teachers and students can clear up confusion and strengthen explanations when necessary. Links to sample tools and materials are also available.
The teacher featured in this video illustrates how he sparks and maintains interest and cultivates curiosity and inquiry through designing a project that engages students actively, creatively, and collaboratively in learning. He clarifies key concepts by highlighting their relevance and their connections to students' experiences. He invites students to deepen their understanding through teaching others and provides clear expectations and constructive feedback to help them produce quality work.
In this video, a teacher illustrates how she prepares students for participation in small-group discussions, helping them to document their ideas and supporting evidence in advance. She asks questions that highlight the relevance of important concepts, encourages students to ask and investigate their own questions, and requires them to explain their thinking. She engages students in clarifying expectations for small group discussions and in assessing how well they meet those expectations.
This article and video explain how to use designated group roles in order to promote interaction through student-led peer group discussion about a text. Reciprocal teaching is a technique that engages students in reading comprehension strategies including questioning, clarifying, summarizing, and predicting. Accompanying resources support classroom implementation in a variety of teaching contexts to help students explain their thinking and deepen their understanding.
These maps offer many illustrative examples of learning tasks that address 21st century skills along with other curriculum standards, providing a variety of ideas for using technology to engage students in learning. The maps suggest a multitude of ways to incorporate digital tools and resources into instruction that help to build student ownership, cultivate inquiry, promote discussion and collaboration, connect ideas, deepen understanding, and engage students in producing high quality work.
This teaching strategy, which can be used in a variety of instructional contexts, sparks interest in learning by creating interactive learning experiences for students. The article suggests various ways of challenging students to silently engage with ideas, student work, and other materials around the classroom in order to cultivate curiosity, promote inquiry, and deepen thinking.
This classroom routine, which can be used in a variety of instructional contexts, promotes discussion by inviting students to engage deeply with a topic through silently writing responses to a stimulus and then reading and responding to their peers' comments. At the end of the routine, students are invited to openly debrief in small groups to discuss their thoughts.
This classroom strategy involves establishing roles within groups in order to focus discussion, manage time effectively, and efficiently guide student learning. Creating roles and routines for group work enables student learning by systematizing classroom procedures, distributing responsibilities for group work products, and creating structures that hold all students accountable for their contributions.
In this article, the author makes a strong case for the value of student-driven discussions and offers helpful guidance about how to cultivate a classroom climate where students feel safe and motivated to participate. She argues for investing time in laying the groundwork for classroom discussion as a prerequisite for inviting students to share thoughts and opinions as part of the learning process and offers practical strategies for doing so.
This simple, accessible classroom routine engages students in learning by inviting silent inquiry and reflection about a text, video, or other instructional materials prior to active participation in discussion. The protocol, which can be adapted for use in a variety of teaching contexts, supports students in contributing their ideas and opinions as well as listening openly to the thoughts and views of others.
This article articulates several instructional uses for a versatile discussion strategy that facilitates interaction and promotes thinking by providing structured opportunities for students both to speak and to listen to each other as they engage with ideas and materials. It outlines steps for setting up a fishbowl, including establishing clear expectations for participation and reviewing discussion norms to ensure all ideas and views are treated with respect.
This resource describes instructional practices and strategies that foster engaging and challenging learning experiences for all students. These practices include promoting discussion, collaboration, and higher order thinking, as well as clarifying expectations and highlighting relevance. Recommendations address the value of incorporating student perspectives and the importance of considering classroom diversity along a variety of dimensions when designing instruction.
This article with embedded videos offers guidance in facilitating student discussions that promote learning. The article explains the value of norms and protocols in ensuring that academic discussions are respectful and productive. The videos illustrate a variety of examples of teaching strategies that help students effectively engage in academic discussions to deepen understanding, such as establishing norms, coaching students in using talk moves, and employing a fishbowl protocol.
This classroom activity, which can be used in a variety of instructional contexts, engages students in broadening and deepening their perspectives by inviting them to literally and figuratively take a stand on a debatable issue, explain their positions, and consider other viewpoints. The routine describes several steps to ensure smooth implementation, including establishing a student contract to maintain a safe and respectful learning environment.
In this two-part video, a teacher describes and demonstrates how her students explore and analyze differing perspectives using a variety of primary sources. The video aptly illustrates how the teacher probes student thinking and students ground their statements in evidence from complex texts as they engage in turn and talk, class discussion, and other interactive activities.
In this video, several teachers describe and demonstrate how they personalize learning and facilitate active engagement in their classrooms. The video and accompanying article offer useful strategies for designing engaging projects that cultivate curiosity and inquiry, promote interaction, provide choice as well as helpful structure and guidance, and offer opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.
This article explains the value of cooperative learning and articulates techniques for making it work successfully. The author outlines helpful suggestions for designing lessons that set students up to work together effectively, and he provides practical strategies for ensuring that cooperative learning time is productive and that collaboration promotes learning among all participants.
This blog post offers suggestions for building a classroom culture in which students are encouraged to ask questions that stimulate thinking and promote learning. The author recommends establishing conditions that make it both safe and rewarding for students to ask questions, and he recommends a variety of activities to help students develop their questioning skills. He argues for placing more emphasis on teaching questioning, a skill that leads to innovation and deeper understanding.
This insightful article provides an excellent overview of key elements of intrinsic motivation and explains what teachers can do to cultivate student engagement and agency. It includes strategies for designing learning experiences that promote autonomy, relatedness, competence, and relevance, which empower students to take ownership of their learning within and beyond the classroom. The author shares examples from his own ELL classroom, including engaging uses of digital technology.
In this video and accompanying article, educators discuss the importance of speaking in students' lives and demonstrate how they provide regular opportunities for students to talk about their ideas as part of the learning process in a variety of contexts. They share helpful strategies for engaging students in communication that promotes learning, including discussion roles and guidelines, grouping configurations, and instructional supports.
This article describes how to use the writing process to help students engage in meaningful writing tasks, deepen their thinking, persist in their efforts, and produce quality work. It explains the value of clarifying expectations and structuring opportunities for students to check their own work, engage in peer review, confer with teachers, and revise their work based on feedback. These strategies apply to writing tasks or creative projects across the curriculum at any level.
This thinking routine invites students to confer with each other about an open-ended, higher-order question to clarify and consolidate their ideas. The teacher poses a question and asks students to think about their responses individually, then explain their thinking to their partners, and finally share with the whole class. This classic protocol, which can be used in any teaching context, ensures that every student has the opportunity to reflect on and respond to a question.
This protocol invites students to silently share their thoughts and ideas about an open-ended prompt with each other through public writing. This powerful classroom routine engages students in sharing their thoughts, making connections, building on each others ideas, and deepening and extending their thinking, all without a sound.
This cooperative learning strategy actively engages students in conferring with each other in small groups with distributed expertise so that each student's contribution is essential to consolidating the group's understanding of a multi-faceted topic. While it requires some prior organization of students and materials, this teaching technique is great for building interdependence and fostering substantive learning interactions among students.
This article provides examples of projects that engage students with their communities in meaningful ways.The students featured drive their own learning and are invested in creating quality products. The projects described demonstrate the benefits of designing student learning experiences that result in applications of skills and concepts to solve relevant, real-world problems and create products with value beyond school walls.
This video features a kindergarten learning expedition about birds that captivates students' interest, sparks their curiosity, links their inquiries directly to the world outside of school, and actively engages them in producing quality work that they share with the community. Students act as citizen scientists, researchers, and artists, and they are guided by clear expectations for success as they draft, revise, and ultimately present their work.
This classroom routine, which can be used in a variety of instructional contexts, supports students in exploring and discussing different viewpoints on a given topic. It invites students to take on different personas and engages them in thinking deeply to understand different perspectives and their implications.
This video explains how Bloom's taxonomy can be used as a framework for considering how digital tools can support thinking at various levels, promote 21st century skills, and actively engage students in learning. The Common Sense Media website also includes digital citizenship curriculum materials as well as reviews of digital tools and media that include descriptions, suggested classroom applications, and insights about educational value.