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 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.
In this blog post, a teacher suggests strategies for engaging students by offering them opportunities to provide input and make choices about what they learn and how they communicate their learning. Recommendations include surveys to gauge student understanding as well as interest, invitations to choose topics of study and project options, and activities that help students make connections between what they are learning and the world outside of school.
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.
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 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 well-organized guide to implementing principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) explains why it's important to clarify and consolidate students’ understanding and offers a variety of practical strategies, examples, and resources. For instance, activating background knowledge, highlighting patterns and big ideas, scaffolding cognitive processing, and supporting transfer can all help to deepen and solidify students' understanding.
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 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 brief video demonstrates strategies for maximizing learning time at the beginning and ending of a class, including ways to focus students, check for understanding, and consolidate learning. It offers a variety of useful examples of how teachers use entry tickets and exit tickets to establish clear routines for starting and ending class that keep students on task and focused on learning while also helping the teacher keep track of progress.
Exit slips invite students to briefly reflect on what they learned during a lesson and can provide teachers with an informal assessment of student understanding. They can help teachers find out how students are synthesizing and connecting what they are learning, what they are still wondering about, or any other information that can assist in planning further instruction. A variety of practical suggestions for employing this versatile strategy are provided, along with sample prompts.
This article describes how students can activate prior knowledge, connect a topic to their own lives, and summarize their learning each day. This classroom routine can help students, especially struggling readers, to actively engage with texts so that they comprehend what they are reading, connect new ideas with existing knowledge, and summarize what they have learned to consolidate their understanding. It can also help teachers check for understanding to inform their instruction.