Tagged “Engaging Learning Strategies”

Molly McCloskey

Best Questions: Engaging Learning Strategies

Despite the rumors, school improvement is hard. It's not about a single passionate leader. It's not about "fixing" teachers and teaching or parents and parenting. It's not about poverty. It's not about money. And it's not about standards. It's about all of them. And more.

In this column, I'll take on the real deal of school improvement—for all schools, not just certain kinds. And for all kids. Because it's not about quick fixes or checking off the instant strategy of the moment. It's about saying, "Yes, and...", not "Yes, but..." no matter what our circumstances are. It's about asking ourselves the best questions.

It's been a few months since I've revisited the central questions of a whole child approach in this column, but if ever a topic begged me to pop the question (engagement pun intended), it is "engaging learning strategies." Let's ask ourselves,

  • Are our kids engaged (in their learning, school, and community)?
  • How do we know?
  • What have we done to make it so?
  • What have we taught them to keep it so?

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Keeping It Real: Giving Students Opportunities to Extend and Apply Their Knowledge with Authentic Tasks

Elizabeth Ross Hubbell

Post submitted by Elizabeth Ross Hubbell, a principal consultant at McREL and coauthor of Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement, 2nd edition. Hubbell conducts workshops and training for K–12 teachers on research-based instructional strategies and technology integration, writes curriculum models for online classes, conducts technology audits for districts, and trains school and district leaders in using Power Walkthrough software.

Classroom Instruction that Works, 2nd edition

In the second edition of Classroom Instruction That Works (CITW), the authors addressed oft-answered questions of when to use the nine categories of research-based instructional strategies and whether the strategies are hierarchical. We included the CITW framework (below) in the new edition because it makes clear the purpose of the strategies. Instead of listing the strategies in order of effect size, as we did in the first edition in 2001, this framework helps educators see that the three categories that create the environment for learning are the highest priority. Those that help students develop understanding eventually lead learners to extending and applying what they have learned in real-world contexts. Now teachers have a context for using the strategies and can apply them purposefully as they assess, teach, and mentor their students.

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Thom Markham

How Project-Based Learning Educates the Whole Child

Over the past decade and a half, I've seen how well-executed project-based learning (PBL) can provide a joyful learning experience for students. Joy is not our number one standard, I realize, but when projects offer the right mix of challenge, engagement, and personalized support, blended with a motivating, meaningful learning experience that reaches deep into the soul, joy is the outcome. You can see it bubble up in the animated faces, big smiles, body language, and open-hearted response of students at the end of a good project. In other words, we've reached the whole child.

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Thom Markham

Project-Based Learning and Common Core Standards

The first question about Common Core State Standards, What will they look like?,  has been answered. The answer is: Very different. The internationally benchmarked standards will emphasize creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, presentation and demonstration, problem solving, research and inquiry, and career readiness.

The second, more challenging question is, How will we teach these new standards? For several years, the winds of change have been howling in one direction, pointing educators toward greater focus on depth rather than coverage, thinking rather than memorizing or listing, and demonstrating and performing rather than "hand it in and grade it." With 46 states endorsing the Common Core State Standards and half of those planning for full implementation in the next three years, we've moved into hurricane status. Quite soon, we'll land on a distant, unknown shore. Teachers will have to teach differently.

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Andrew Miller

Ensuring Critical Thinking in Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning (PBL) can create engaging learning for all students, but that depth of learning requires careful, specific design. Part of this engagement is the element of critical thinking. Complex problem solving and higher-order thinking skills, coupled with other elements such as authenticity, voice, and choice, create an engaging context for learning.

One of the essential elements of a PBL project is the teaching and assessing of 21st century skills, including collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. The key takeaway here is teaching AND assessing. You cannot assess something you do not teach. How do we teach critical thinking? Through intentional instruction and intentional experiences. Therefore we need to make sure that the overall PBL journey is one that has both.

Here are some elements of a PBL project that you can double- and triple-check to make sure your students are critically thinking.

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Klea Scharberg

Free Webinar: Designing Learning Activities in a Standards-Based System

Where Great Teaching Begins

Join Anne R. Reeves, author of Where Great Teaching Begins: Planning for Student Thinking and Learning, for an exciting, free webinar on designing learning activities in a standards-based system.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 3:00 p.m. eastern time
Register now!

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Klea Scharberg

Encourage Kids to Ask Questions and Have Fun

In this month's Educational Leadership magazine, McREL's Bryan Goodwin shares research that shows when students are engaged in learning and can connect it to real-world interests and goals—intrinsic and extrinsic motivation—both standardized curricula and child-development needs are being served. As teachers, we can personalize curriculum standards to student interests and tap into their need for autonomy.

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Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Using Engaging Learning Strategies to Connect School to the Real World

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Learning is active, engaging, and social. Students need to be engaged and motivated in their learning before they can apply higher-order creative thinking skills. They are most engaged when they themselves are part of constructing meaning, not when teachers do it for them. By encouraging students to meet challenges creatively, collaborate, and apply critical-thinking skills to real-world, unpredictable situations inside and outside of school, we prepare them for future college, career, and citizenship success.

In this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, we examine effective classroom instruction that embraces both high standards and accountability for students' learning. It can be project-based, focused on service and the community, experiential, cooperative, expeditionary ... the list goes on. These engaging learning strategies are grounded in instructional objectives, provide clear feedback, and enable students to thrive cognitively, socially, emotionally, and civically. You'll hear from

  • Shelley Billig, vice president of RMC Research and qualitative research team leader for the Broad Prize for Urban District Excellence. She staffed the National Commission on Service-Learning as the research partner; helped found the International Research Association on Service-Learning and Community Engagement; and has conducted national, state, and regional studies on service learning.
  • Jason Flom, a 5th grade teacher at Cornerstone Learning Community in Tallahassee, Fla. He founded Ecology of Education as a collaborative, multiauthor blog in March 2009 to give voice to a range of professionals working in the field of education. Flom is also the moderator for Edutopia's Green Schools Group and is a member of ASCD's Emerging Leaders Class of 2010.
  • Dorvionne Lindsay, a senior at Quest Early College High School in Humble, Tex., winner of the 2011 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. Lindsay interns at a small surgical hospital and will be a freshman in the pre-med program at Texas A&M University this fall, beginning her studies to be a heart surgeon.

What are the current challenges and opportunities to successfully implementing and sustaining high-quality engaged teaching and learning?

Klea Scharberg

Throughout February: Engaging Learning Strategies

Learning is active, engaging, and social. Students need to be engaged and motivated in their learning before they can apply higher-order creative thinking skills. They are most engaged when they themselves are part of constructing meaning, not when teachers do it for them. By encouraging students to meet challenges creatively, collaborate, and apply critical-thinking skills to real-world, unpredictable situations inside and outside of school, we prepare them for future college, career, and citizenship success.

Join us throughout February as we examine effective classroom instruction that embraces both high standards and accountability for students' learning. It can be project-based, focused on service and the community, experiential, cooperative, expeditionary ... the list goes on. These engaging learning strategies are grounded in instructional objectives, provide clear feedback, and enable students to thrive cognitively, socially, emotionally, and civically.

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