Strategy of the Week

Three Learning Principles Behind Thinking Schools

Three Learning Principles Behind Thinking Schools

Critical thinking and metacognition are essential outcomes for our students. In fact, educator David Hyerle, Director of Research and Development at Thinking Schools International, has created a framework that schools use to teach their students how to recognize and appropriately select their thinking strategies.

In this 2:29 video, Hyerle outlines three core principles of Thinking Schools:

  1. All learners have innate abilities to think in a variety of ways
  2. Teaching must create connections between content and students’ thinking processes
  3. To improve thinking processes, we need student-centered models

As students improve their ability to think, their capacity to learn increases dramatically. Teaching metacognitive strategies to students prepares them for success in school and the rest of their lives.

Thinking Schools David Hyerle

School Turnaround Using A Vision of Culture and Consistency

Griffin High School’s Transformation

Schools that lack a unified culture can drastically affect students and teachers in a negative way. Without a structured and caring environment, students feel lost and unwanted. Without committed support, teachers can feel that they alone bear the burden of poor student achievement.

Keith Simmons faced these problems when he became principal of Griffin High School in Griffin, Georgia, in 2009. Watch this 5:44 video to see how, with a vision and culture of structure and consistency, students and staff at Griffin High School worked together to achieve a remarkable turnaround.

School Turnaround Keith Simmons Griffin High School Georgia

Share out: How has your school vision positively impacted students? Do you have any specific examples you would like to share?

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Group Leaders and Peer Promotion

Group Leaders and Peer Promotion 

In effective project-based learning (PBL), teachers instruct students on how to be group leaders that take responsibility and manage accountability without doing all the work themselves.

This 2:09 video features students promoting their peers to group leadership, a buy-in strategy that can increase the support that group members give their leaders.

PBL leadership

Share out: What roles do your students have during group work?

The Key to PBL Implementation? Start Simple

The Key to Project Based Learning Implementation? Start Simple

For some educators, the shift to project-based learning can seem daunting. There are helpful free resources from Edutopia.org and, in particular, Buck Institute for Education (BIE). However, given BIE’s 16 total design elements and teaching practices recommended for gold-standard Project Based Learning, where and how do teachers begin?

School Improvement Network has developed a three-tier implementation model based on BIE’s Project Based Learning framework. This 1:40 video introduces the four simple components of Project Based Learning Level 1 implementation. The video is part of our PBL Level 1 micro-credential, available for licensed Edivate users here.

Project Based Learning

Supporting the Challenge of Growth

Supporting the Challenge of Growth

Thank you, teachers, for another school year. Thanks for challenging your students, watching over them as they struggled, and encouraging them to keep at it until they reached success.

As you probably know, your students watched as you struggled. They observed you keenly as a role model for how they should face their own challenges and setbacks.

This video is only 1:40, but it’s a powerful tribute to teachers who nail the big life lessons their students need: You will struggle, but you can do this. I’m behind you, and so are your peers. The brief conversation between these two students says it all.

You can download the guidebook for this video here.

Teach us: What rituals or final lessons do you end the school year with in your classroom?

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The Cycle of Continuous School Improvement

The Cycle of Continuous School Improvement

How does a large urban district achieve consistent improvement in teacher effectiveness? Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada, uses the Cycle of Continuous Improvement to help their educators and students reach higher levels of performance. This 11:25 video outlines the five steps of their cycle with explanations and examples.

Cycle of Continuous Improvement

  1. Self-assessment
  2. Goal setting and plan development
  3. The observation process
  4. Mid-cycle goals review
  5. Summative evaluation

The Cycle of Continuous School Improvement

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Group Work and Teacher Guidance

Group Work and Teacher Guidance

Imagine that your class is working on group projects. Everyone is on task, you’re helping each group precisely when they need it, and students stay on pace to finish by the due date. Sound too good to be true?

Well, you’re right! It is!

But that doesn’t mean you can stop trying. This 3:35 video has a few group guidance strategies that can help you bring your project dreams that much closer to reality.

Group Work and Teacher Guidance

Share out: What project management strategies do you use? Share them with us!

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Great Benefits of Project-Based Learning

The Benefits of Project-Based Learning

As summer approaches and your planning shifts from this to next school year, you might consider building in some project-based learning (PBL) experiences for your upcoming students.

What exactly is PBL and how does it benefit both teachers and students? In this 3:56 video, you’ll see students eager to learn (and share what they’ve learned) about chemical elements, crickets, household appliance tools, and even compost. You’ll find out why it can have such lasting positive impact on students’ growth and achievement.

project based learning

Share out: What do you know about / do with PBL?

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Project-Based Learning (PBL) Diagnostic Quiz

Project-Based Learning (PBL) Diagnostic Quiz

Have you ever taken an online quiz? Perhaps you wanted to know which Hogwarts house you’d be sorted into, or which fruit best represents your cat. While these types of quizzes are fun to take, the results aren’t particularly useful.

This diagnostic quiz is fun as well, but it has a very useful purpose: to help you identify how many PBL concepts you currently involve in your practice. Based on your results, you may choose either to improve your projects with Edivate’s PBL learning experiences, or to earn a PBL micro-credential by submitting evidence of your already stellar projects. So, why not take a minute to see your level of PBL mojo?

Project-Based Learning (PBL) Diagnostic Quiz

Share out: What was your result from the diagnostic? Let us know!

Student Presentations and How to Make Them Great

How to Facilitate Great Student Presentations

Ah, class presentations. They’re a source of pride, joy, frustration, despair, and everything in between for students—and their teachers too.

Facilitating presentations can be a great way for students to reinforce their own learning and teach their peers. Of course, there are specific skills that make presentations more effective and meaningful for both presenters and audience. This 2:16 video highlights some of the benefits and effective practices of student presentations.

You can also learn through this interactive demonstration of effective vs. ineffective student presentation practices. Once you’ve completed the activity, you can download an adaptable checklist (Word file) to help your students prepare for their next presentation.

Teaching Students to Teach

Share out: How do you help your students prepare for individual or group presentations? Let us know!

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