Stage 3: Conceptual Understanding, Stage 5: Students as World Changers

Clarifying Transfer: The Ultimate Goal of Learning

This post first appeared on Corwin Connect. Most often when we ask teachers about why they want their students to learn certain topics, we hear teachers say that they hope their students will lead productive lives in the future. They want students to be strong thinkers, problem solvers, readers, writers, and speakers. They want kids to see the world differently,… Continue reading Clarifying Transfer: The Ultimate Goal of Learning

Stage 3: Conceptual Understanding

TBT: Transform your classroom in 8 words or less!

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!

Stage 3: Conceptual Understanding

Vertical Alignment of Conceptual Understanding

Here's what I used to think about vertical alignment (in a nutshell): You look at the overarching ideas and understandings plus the discrete facts and skills of each course and make sure there are no significant gaps or overlap, although you do want some things to "spiral" throughout the grade levels. We never really broke… Continue reading Vertical Alignment of Conceptual Understanding

Stage 3: Conceptual Understanding

Advanced Concept-Based Workshop

Have you been working with concepts in your curriculum for a while? Have you already received training on concept-based curriculum and would like to explore more deeply how to assess it and how to introduce it to students? This is the workshop for you! Participants will leave with concrete examples, templates and the start of… Continue reading Advanced Concept-Based Workshop

Stage 3: Conceptual Understanding, Testing and Assessments

Assessing Conceptual Understanding

Assessing for deep understanding and higher order thinking is not easy. It's oh-so-much easier to assess for factual recall. But it's worth doing. Combining the work of Dr. Erickson and Dr. Lanning on concept-based curriculum and instruction with the work of Dr. Susan Brookhart on assessment, we've been able to come up with some decent examples of… Continue reading Assessing Conceptual Understanding

Stage 3: Conceptual Understanding, Stage 4: Disciplinary Thinking

Cultivating Thinking in the Disciplines

Knowledge does not fall from the sky. Someone discovers it! There are complex processes that are essential to the functioning of each discipline -- and they take years to cultivate! How do we help students to build their understanding and use of these processes? Dr. Lois Lanning's Structure of Process, the complement to Dr. Erickson's… Continue reading Cultivating Thinking in the Disciplines

Stage 3: Conceptual Understanding

From Curriculum Writer to Classroom Teacher

Perhaps the biggest challenge in implementing a concept-based curriculum is making the jump from the person who wrote the curriculum to implementation in the classroom. In my dream world, each teacher would have enough training, apprenticeship and time to write their own well-researched, engaging curriculum from enduring understandings to daily lessons. This is often no… Continue reading From Curriculum Writer to Classroom Teacher

Influential Thinkers, Stage 3: Conceptual Understanding

The Legacy of Dr. Lynn Erickson

Few people have contributed as much to the field of education as Dr. H Lynn Erickson, the godmother of concept-based curriculum. I'm in a sentimental mood as this week marks her last certification institute. She has trained, assessed and certified hundreds of educators on her brilliant curriculum model and now it's up to us to… Continue reading The Legacy of Dr. Lynn Erickson

Stage 3: Conceptual Understanding

Why we need to educate parents, too

Ever since the Common Core State Standards were introduced, a barrage of parents, educators, and laymen have taken to social media to voice their discontent. Now, I'm not saying that the standards are a panacea for all that's wrong with American education, and if you read this blog regularly you know that our vision for… Continue reading Why we need to educate parents, too

Stage 3: Conceptual Understanding

Throwback Thursday: How to Honor Einstein, Mandela, and Steve Jobs

Educators today seem to be faced with a choice: Keep teaching centuries-old ways of organizing the world through traditional disciplines such as math, science and music or throw it all out in favor of innovation, creativity and problem-solving skills.  OR It is a false choice. Maybe it's even paralyzing us and therefore not allowing change.… Continue reading Throwback Thursday: How to Honor Einstein, Mandela, and Steve Jobs