Tagged “Engaging Learning Strategies”

Rich McKinney

How Can 20th Century Teachers Lead 21st Century Learners?

For years, school researchers have pointed to the digital divide between students from disparate socioeconomic groups as a major problem in public education. But now a different digital divide is receiving a closer look as research chronicles the widening gulf between the technology skills of teachers and the students who enter classrooms across the United States. While students often tend to be the earliest adopters of new technology, many teachers find that after lesson planning and grading there is little time left to become tech savvy. Unfortunately, many choose not to stay current, and they simply ignore or avoid technology as they continue to teach the same lessons in the same fashion. Therein lies the problem. Nearly 70 years ago, John Dewey claimed, "If we teach today's students as we taught yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow." Dewey's prescient understanding of our emerging divide begs the question, "How can 20th century teachers effectively teach and lead 21st century learners?" While others have suggested a long-term solution that classroom educators must become 21st century teachers, I propose that the first step is in becoming a 21st century learner.

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Jason Flom

Winning Rap of Science Genius 2013



Connecting learners with curricular content so they take ownership of it and make it their own necessitates that design and delivery of learning experiences meets two requirements.

  1. It must be meaningful to learners.
  2. It must make sense to learners.

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Paula Mirk

Ethical Literacy Lessons to Ponder This Summer: Tolerance for Ambiguity

Our seventh annual Ethical Literacy Conference was smaller than usual, yet we came away from it with bigger ideas and a stronger sense of success than in past conferences. Our ability to maintain flexibility and respond to educators' needs was key to this opportunity and underscored the importance of balancing "structure" with "free flow" in the learning process.

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Rich McKinney

Reboot and Recharge: The Power of Technology-Infused Instructors

Earlier this summer I created my first Vine. A month ago I would have thought that statement to be an indication that I had taken up gardening as a hobby, but I've since learned that Vine is a social media tool that allows users to create and share a personalized six-second video loop.

Each summer, when the school year comes to a close, I try to evaluate the past year, seeking to understand what worked effectively as well as recognize areas of needed improvement. During my 10 years in the classroom, I have avoided becoming stale by adding new advanced placement, and more recently International Baccalaureate, classes to my class load. As a result, my end-of-year reflections typically pointed out areas of the new content in which I needed to become more proficient. For two straight years, however, my schedule has not had any new courses, and as a result, content knowledge is not my main priority this year. Rather, I'm currently exploring ways to incorporate my district's goal of personalizing instruction for each and every student.

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Klea Scharberg

When Students Own the “Why”

This clip presents several ways teachers have structured learning around big ideas and conceptual patterns so that students can connect to a compelling "why," or reason for doing something. Students design the criteria for assignments and take roles and responsibilities within each assignment to see it to its completion. Students or teachers can identify a real-world problem to work on, and technology can provide new avenues for students to collaborate and express their thinking. Learn more with ASCD Express.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Engage and Motivate with ASCD’s Summer Boot Camp Webinar Series

ASCD Summer Boot Camp

Delve into summer learning with tips and strategies from a few of your favorite ASCD authors. The first session in the ASCD Summer Boot Camp Webinar Series kicks off Thursday, July 18, at 3 p.m. eastern time and presents a strategic approach to direct vocabulary instruction that helps students master key concepts and retain new terms. Other topics include teacher-led walk-throughs, curriculum, and motivation and engagement from a developmental science perspective.

Learn more about each session and register today!


Nicole D. Nearor

Common Core “As A Scientist”

Although there are no current Common Core State Standards that are specifically written for science content, science teachers will be using the fundamental skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking within their science content to help students become ready for college and career .

One of the focuses of Common Core for English/Language Arts (ELA) is informational text. Interesting enough, as students transition from elementary to middle to high school, they encounter more informational text because of the core courses they are taking. The majority of the literary texts are only taught in the English and language arts classes. Therefore, students are required to read more informational text within their specific content areas. Further, students who are struggling readers are placed in reading classes in middle school and even in high school. Is it only the job of the English and language arts teachers or the reading teachers to teach the students how to read informational texts?

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Fred Zilian


When teaching history, it is very easy to get caught up and lost in all the details of a particular lesson. I am especially drawn to political, diplomatic, and military history and have found myself spending far too much time in my Western Civilization courses on the fine points of the diplomatic maneuverings of the Congress of Vienna or the tactical skill of Hannibal during the Second Punic War. So, to ensure that my students have the big picture, I do the following:

  1. At the outset of the course, I ensure that they understand the critical overarching themes and questions of the course.
  2. At the start of each lesson, I indicate which of these are present in the day's lesson.
  3. And finally, I require each student to have a "BIG IDEAS BOX."

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Rich McKinney

Moving Beyond the Textbook: Closing the Book on the Textbook-Dependent Classroom

A few weeks ago I was watching my daughters as they were working through drills during their weekly tennis lessons. I observed a group of elementary kids dutifully take their places, hit the ball, and then move to the next station. It was simple, efficient, and monotonous. Though they were learning the basics of tennis, the kids simply weren't having much fun. Their coach must have noticed because he immediately changed pace and led all the kids to an adjoining field next to the courts for a lively game of freeze tag. All the kids were laughing and loving it, though I found that it bore little resemblance to anything even remotely related to tennis. I was wrong. What looked to me to be free play was really the development of skills such as acceleration, lateral speed, and footwork. This coach recognized that sometimes you can leave the court and have fun while accomplishing goals.

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Ryan O’Rourke

Uncommon Commonsense Ways to Empower Struggling Students

Struggling Students - Marygrove College

When we were students, it quickly became apparent who was "smart" and who was "not so smart." This writer happened to find himself in the latter category, especially when it came to math. How did we figure this out? Those who struggled with math, for example, simply interpreted the arrangement of the math groups: Group A students were often first to work with the teacher (and the first to finish). This was obviously the "smart group." Group B consisted of the "decently smart group" of students, and so on. "Smart kids" earned As in math. "Not so smart kids" didn't. "Smart kids" went outside during recess. "Not so smart kids" had to get extra help during recess. Most teachers know As say very little about a student's intellect. Unfortunately, most students don't.

Whether our struggling students know it or not, they have a unique gift. And it's up to us to unearth that special talent and find ways to empower them.

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