Last week we posted a general outline of teaching students to learn conceptually. Today we apply the outline to an actual class -- 6th grade social studies. Here's the context: The teacher worries that it might feel abrupt to suddenly begin being explicit about conceptual learning in the middle of the unit. A potential solution?… Continue reading What does it look like to teach students to learn conceptually?
Teacher feedback on student work can be a powerful tool to dramatically improve student learning BUT the quality must be good or it can actually have negative effects on student growth. Many researchers and authors give attention to this significant topic. We like Susan Brookhart’s definition and guidance the best. In her book, How to… Continue reading The Power of Effective Feedback
Here is a simple protocol we can use after we've taught a conceptual lesson to reflect on how it went: What was the conceptual relationship (intended goal of the lesson)? How well did the questions and activities help students to discover that relationship? Why or How? How can the statement of conceptual relationship (generalization or principle),… Continue reading Reflecting on Conceptual Teaching
NOTE: This blog, as all our other blogs on conceptual learning, is based on the work of H. Lynn Erickson and Lois A. Lanning. Planning is done. You have around 3 - 5 powerful statements of conceptual relationships, a conceptual lens, questions that lead to discovery of the relationships and a list of corresponding facts… Continue reading Teaching students to learn conceptually
Lately, and rightly so, there seems to be a lot of buzz around differentiation, personalized learning, personalization, individualization... and many folks are trying to distinguish among them. The MAJOR distinction, it seems, is whether or not the goals of students remain the same for all students. Although we at Ed to Save the World hope for… Continue reading What does differentiation really mean?
Once you have a beautifully written statement of conceptual relationships, or even if you don't(!), you can still be a concept-based teacher if you follow this simple advice: Much like Optimus Prime transforms himself from a semi-truck to an all-powerful robot leader, you can transform your curriculum from a pile of information into powerful insights… Continue reading TBT: Transform your classroom in 8 words or less!
We've written specifically about the discipline of mathematics several times -- the two specific to concept-based are here and here. To me, it's the discipline that requires the greatest shift in how it is traditionally taught. Many experts talk about how we need students to be better problem-solvers, allowing them space to figure things out without… Continue reading Grappling with transforming mathematics? Us, too!
I'm a fan of the International Baccalaureate Program. I love the commitment to building a better world through education. I love the inquiry process of learning and the dedication to improving the quality of student thinking. Most of all, I love that the curriculum is grounded in the desire for students to gain conceptual understanding of… Continue reading Concepts and the IB
Everything I read these days points to the need for an interdisciplinary approach to learning. It's touted to boost engagement and bring coherence to the otherwise jolty school experience most kids endure each day. My favorite rationale for interdisciplinary work is that it's necessary for solving real-world problems. Although we often isolate discipline-specific approaches, skills, and… Continue reading Making interdisciplinary projects work — concepts are the key!
A few years ago, my colleague Dave made these amazing stickers to help the concept-based model "stick" in teachers' brains. They were oh-so-simple, but oh-so-effective. We had read chapters and chapters on concept-based curriculum and instruction (thanks, Erickson), the research that points to the need for conceptual frameworks (thanks, National Research Council) and tons of… Continue reading Concept-based instruction in two simple words: uncover, transfer