The teacher in this video discusses and demonstrates how she reinforces students' efforts to solve challenging problems, including practices such as inviting them to justify their thinking and encouraging them to try different approaches. She models strategies and language that help her young students tackle challenges, expect difficulties, develop problem-solving skills, discuss their thinking, and build habits and mindsets that will serve them throughout their school careers.
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 book chapter explains how teaching with essential questions can challenge students to think deeply about big ideas that are core to the disciplines and captivate their interest by making learning meaningful. This informative introduction assists teachers in crafting questions to guide inquiry and learning that help students make connections among ideas and understand the relevance, value, and depth of topics being studied.
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 brief article offers guidance to teachers interested in planning worthwhile student projects that culminate in high-quality work products and result in deep understanding. Specifically, it describes considerations for designing projects that engage students in producing work that shows complexity, craftsmanship, and authenticity.
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 video and accompanying article describe and demonstrate how teachers design and facilitate learning experiences that capture students' interest and engage them in thinking deeply through projects and investigations that address complex, real-world problems. They offer tips for incorporating problem-based learning into teaching, such as inviting students to contribute their questions, ideas, and input and identifying community problems that provide authentic contexts for learning.
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 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.
The teacher featured in this video describes how reflection on her own learning process prompted her to create formative assessments that break down specific skills, which she assesses on a continuum for each student. She regularly assesses students' work and checks for understanding to inform her teaching. She groups students and differentiates instruction based on their specific learning needs, providing appropriate levels of challenge and support for each student.
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.
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 articulates techniques for designing learning tasks that provide varying levels of challenge. It offers helpful guidance about characteristics of tasks that require different levels of cognitive demand and suggestions for how to transform low-challenge questions into probing questions that require students to think deeply.
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 book excerpt identifies strategies for establishing a classroom culture where students feel intellectually and emotionally safe and view challenges and mistakes as opportunities for learning. It explains how building a safe learning environment is key to cultivating a growth mindset, which helps students persevere to meet learning challenges, and also to checking for understanding, which works best if students are comfortable expressing their learning struggles as well as their successes.
This simple, accessible thinking routine consists of two simple questions that challenge students to think deeply and explain their understanding during any part of a learning experience. It can help to develop a regular practice among students of justifying their ideas, theories, or interpretations with evidence. Whether used in small or large group discussions or with individual students, this routine can help teachers and students monitor depth of understanding.
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 thinking routine invites students to activate prior knowledge, ask and investigate their own questions, and make connections to deepen and consolidate their learning. It helps students build bridges between their thinking before and after a learning experience and can help teachers plan and facilitate instruction that is responsive to students' understanding.
This article explains how to respond to students' questions in ways that foster higher order thinking, and offers a variety of teaching strategies that can help to develop thinking skills. It describes techniques for explaining clearly, promoting discussion, connecting ideas, and otherwise deepen and expand students' thinking.
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 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.