This video shows a variety of strategies in action for challenging students to learn and do more than they think they can. Featured teachers encourage students to persist in the face of challenge, embrace learning struggles, explain their thinking, and push themselves and each other toward deeper learning. Educators also demonstrate the importance of building relationships, promoting active engagement, and supporting students in taking ownership of their learning.
In this brief interview, a research scientist explains the negative impact of stress and punitive disciplinary measures on students and urges teachers to use preventive restorative practices with all students. The approach described helps to foster students' self-management skills and build a greater sense of community in order to cultivate an emotionally safe learning environment.
This article articulates several factors for teachers to consider when designing a learning environment in order to promote students' well-being and academic success. It describes how physical conditions such as light, noise, temperature, and seating arrangements can have an impact on learning and offers suggestions for how to minimize distractions and create a environment that is conducive to learning.
This video and accompanying article offer strategies for organizing the classroom in ways that optimize student engagement in learning. The featured teachers explain and model how they use flexible seating to meet a variety of student learning needs. Students use self-management skills and make responsible choices to create seating arrangements that are well matched to each learning task.
This article explains the benefits of facilitating classroom discussion and offers a variety of strategies for ensuring that student conversation promotes learning, that everyone participates, and that student perspectives are respected. The authors discuss the importance of classroom talk for English language learners, and they provide practical tips for managing small group discussions so that expectations are clear, time is used productively, and distractions are minimized.
In this video, several teachers describe and demonstrate how they personalize learning and facilitate active engagement in their classrooms. The video and accompanying article offer useful strategies for designing engaging projects that cultivate curiosity and inquiry, promote interaction, provide choice as well as helpful structure and guidance, and offer opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.
The teacher featured in this video describes how reflection on her own learning process prompted her to create formative assessments that break down specific skills, which she assesses on a continuum for each student. She regularly assesses students' work and checks for understanding to inform her teaching. She groups students and differentiates instruction based on their specific learning needs, providing appropriate levels of challenge and support for each student.
This article explains the value of cooperative learning and articulates techniques for making it work successfully. The author outlines helpful suggestions for designing lessons that set students up to work together effectively, and he provides practical strategies for ensuring that cooperative learning time is productive and that collaboration promotes learning among all participants.
This classroom routine, which can be used in a variety of instructional contexts, promotes student discussion and helps to establish a climate of safety and respect. Students journal to clarify their own views about a controversial topic, then discuss their individual views in small groups, listening carefully to each other in order to understand the perspectives of their peers, and then share ideas with the larger group.
This article offers helpful suggestions for organizing classroom spaces to help students feel welcome and stay positively focused on learning. It provides useful questions and checklists to guide the design of classroom environments that accommodate a variety of learning activities and foster smooth transitions and productive learning conditions in order to meet the needs all students.
This animated speech by Carol Dweck explains the difference between a "fixed mindset" and a "growth mindset" and the implications for teaching and learning. Dweck describes her research indicating that praising students' process rather than intelligence helps them take risks, meet challenges, and grow from those learning experiences. She shares strategies for cultivating a growth mindset that helps students persist in the face of challenge and develop their capabilities as a result.
This teacher blog post describes eight common reasons why students may not share their thoughts or explain their ideas in class discussions and offers tips for addressing them. These strategies can help teachers encourage students to contribute their unique voices to class discussions and promote dialogue that supports learning.
This article describes how to create a class contract in order to establish a classroom climate where students feel respected, valued, and emotionally safe when sharing their views and offering differing perspectives. It includes recommendations for engaging students productively and collaboratively in developing shared expectations for a "reflective classroom community."
This blog post offers suggestions for building a classroom culture in which students are encouraged to ask questions that stimulate thinking and promote learning. The author recommends establishing conditions that make it both safe and rewarding for students to ask questions, and he recommends a variety of activities to help students develop their questioning skills. He argues for placing more emphasis on teaching questioning, a skill that leads to innovation and deeper understanding.
This article offers helpful suggestions for cultivating positive teacher-student relationships within the classroom during the first week of school and beyond. The writer describes the importance of recognizing each student as an individual and provides several useful strategies that can be implemented any time to create a climate where students feel known, valued, and welcomed.
In this video, a teacher describes and demonstrates how she uses dialogue circles to cultivate an emotionally safe learning environment and respond to students’ social and emotional needs in order to help them stay focused on achieving their full potential. The accompanying article suggests strategies for using circles to build positive relationships with and among students and foster respectful, on-task classroom behavior.
This teacher's blog post explains how she uses Talking Circles in a variety of ways to build relationships, establish a safe and respectful learning environment, and check for understanding. She describes how she establishes norms and how she uses circles weekly in her advisory meeting and during her reading instruction, in addition to using them for restorative purposes to support students in managing their behavior and being accountable to their community.
This insightful article provides an excellent overview of key elements of intrinsic motivation and explains what teachers can do to cultivate student engagement and agency. It includes strategies for designing learning experiences that promote autonomy, relatedness, competence, and relevance, which empower students to take ownership of their learning within and beyond the classroom. The author shares examples from his own ELL classroom, including engaging uses of digital technology.
This article addresses the intertwined nature of social, emotional, and academic well-being and identifies common underlying causes for defiant student behavior. It offers practical tips for de-escalating defiance in the classroom, avoiding power struggles, redirecting unproductive behavior, and minimizing distraction for other students. It explains the value of understanding individual needs influencing students' behavior and supporting them in learning prosocial and self-management skills.
This video and accompanying article explain and illustrate how morning meeting routines can help to create a safe environment for learning, including suggested structure and sample activities. Featured teachers demonstrate how they show concern for students' emotional well-being and offer helpful tips to help build rapport in the classroom.
This teacher blog post articulates the importance of cultivating an emotionally safe learning environment in the classroom. The author offers a few helpful strategies for developing supportive relationships with students, encouraging positive behavior, and responding to students in ways that take into account their social and emotional learning needs.
This blog post explains how one teacher responds to students who say, "I can't." He shares insights about why students may be resistant to making effort on learning tasks as well as strategies for engaging them, helping them believe in their own capacity, and pressing them to persist in the face of challenge to meet high expectations.
This resource describes teaching practices and strategies that promote a safe and respectful classroom culture in which all students can thrive. These practices include building positive relationships with students as well as establishing and reinforcing shared expectations for student behavior and interactions. Recommendations address the value of building community and the importance of considering student diversity along a variety of dimensions when designing the classroom environment.
This book excerpt identifies strategies for establishing a classroom culture where students feel intellectually and emotionally safe and view challenges and mistakes as opportunities for learning. It explains how building a safe learning environment is key to cultivating a growth mindset, which helps students persevere to meet learning challenges, and also to checking for understanding, which works best if students are comfortable expressing their learning struggles as well as their successes.
This well-organized guide to implementing principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) articulates why it's important to explain new content in multiple ways and offers a variety of practical strategies, examples, and resources. For example, directly teaching key vocabulary or syntax, explaining ideas using a variety of media, and lowering barriers to decoding can all help to clarify important concepts, minimize confusion, and accommodate a range of learning differences.
This article offers practical strategies for addressing the behavior of students who are oppositional, withdrawn, or anxious, sharing tools for uncovering the source of the behavior and responding productively. It articulates a useful framework for creating plans that address issues with disruptive students and includes specific strategies that work well for accommodating, interacting with, and responding to students presenting particular types of challenges.
This article explains the intertwined nature of emotion and cognition and suggests ways to attend to the emotional aspects of learning in designing lessons. It addresses why, for example, focusing on test preparation without regard for students' emotions and relationships is misguided. The author makes the case that teachers who pay attention to students' emotional learning needs can help improve their academic performance.
In this article, a middle school science teacher explains her success in shifting from a reactive to a proactive approach to discipline and how establishing positive relationships can help to maintain a smoothly functioning classroom. Beginning the school year by surveying students about their learning needs and developing a social contract together can help to clarify expectations and create a safe, inclusive, and productive learning environment.
The teacher featured in this video demonstrates how she differentiates instruction based on individual students' learning needs so that everyone can engage in the lesson with confidence, feel supported and challenged, and achieve success. She shares strategies for personalizing instruction during a close reading lesson in ways that are respectful of students' varied learning needs and readiness levels.
This well-organized guide to implementing principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) explains why it's important to personalize learning experiences and offers a variety of practical classroom strategies, examples, and resources. For example, providing choices and inviting input, highlighting relevance and value, and minimizing distractions can all contribute to captivating students' interest, sustaining their attention, and addressing their specific learning needs.
This collection of activities offers a variety of ways to encourage positive communications and interactions among students, which can help to create a safe and supportive learning environment for everyone. The menu includes a variety of simple community-building activities designed to build positive classroom culture, which are easy to implement with students at a range of grade levels.