Framework for Teaching & Learning

Principle #1: Active Learning Community

Students learn best when they have a sense of belonging to a positive learning community in which they have regular opportunities to work collaboratively.

Teachers…

  • Organize the classroom environment with clearly established routines and behavioral expectations
  • Create effective systems to hold students accountable for individual and group responsibilities
  • Model thinking and share learning as a member of the classroom community
  • Provide direct instruction and guided practice in the skills and dispositions of effective collaborative work
  • Encourage questions, nurture multiple points of view and value intellectual risk-taking
  • Facilitate student to student discourse, developing effective communications skills
  • Structure opportunities for students to share work publicly
  • Promote learning through engagement with others as mentors and critics

Students…

  • Establish and reflect on classroom and small group norms for respectful behavior and effective communication
  • Participate actively in discussions and collaborative tasks
  • Speak and write clearly to communicate with others
  • Exchange meaningful and constructive feedback
  • Clarify ideas by asking questions, listening to others
  • Investigate and appreciate multiple points of view
  • Share their work publicly and engage in dialogue about process and product

Principle #2: Challenging Expectations

Students learn best when they understand performance expectations and are individually supported in meeting challenging standards.

Teachers…

  • Maintain high expectations for all students
  • Communicate learning goals clearly
  • Anticipate misconceptions and connect new learning to prior knowledge
  • Articulate performance expectations using rubrics and exemplars of quality work
  • Provide timely and specific feedback to students
  • Differentiate instruction using a variety of resources, materials and grouping strategies responsively
  • Design opportunities for students to demonstrate understanding in a variety of ways

Students…

  • Ask questions to clarify expectations and learning goals
  • Use and maintain organizational systems to support academic achievement
  • Persist in the face of challenging learning tasks
  • Evaluate and revise work using rubrics, models, and feedback
  • Overcome obstacles to understanding by seeking teacher or peer support
  • Seek new resources and strategies for learning

Principle #3: Meaningful Knowledge

Students learn best when they see content as meaningful and organized around big ideas and questions and can transfer learning to new contexts.

Teachers…

  • Provide a clear purpose for learning and focus instruction on essential understandings and essential questions
  • Make explicit connections between students’ prior knowledge to new learning
  • Link content knowledge to students’ personal experiences, real world events, and other disciplines
  • Develop tasks that require students to synthesize, transfer and apply their knowledge and skills to new situations
  • Use data to engage students in analytical and critical thinking about conceptual ideas
  • Expect students to support thinking with clear and compelling evidence

Students…

  • Look for connections between what they are learning and what they already know
  • Articulate the purpose of their learning to themselves and others
  • Transfer learning skills and knowledge from one context to another
  • Recognize bias, values and beliefs and understand their impact on knowledge
  • Access, analyze and create data to understand conceptual ideas
  • Support thinking with clear, logical and relevant evidence

Principle #4: Purposeful Engagement

Students learn best when they are actively engaged in authentic learning tasks and given opportunities to construct meaning and develop understanding.

Teachers…

  • Structure learning tasks that engage students in authentic work of the discipline
  • Develop inquiry-oriented lessons in response to essential questions
  • Pose complex, intriguing and challenging problems for students to solve
  • Stimulate critical and creative thinking and model active listening
  • Use multi-media and technology tools to enhance learning outcomes
  • Seek and provide real audiences for student work
  • Act as coaches, facilitators, and guides to promote engagement and develop leadership in students

Students…

  • Actively seek answers to their own questions and explore their interests
  • Hypothesize, analyze, question, and evaluate ideas within the work of the discipline
  • Accept opportunities to assume partnership and leadership roles in the classroom
  • Take initiative to bring interesting ideas and resources into the classroom community
  • Think critically and use reasoning skills to develop understanding
  • Think creatively and use problem solving skills to develop innovative ideas

Principle #5: Individual Responsibility

Students learn best when they make choices about and take responsibility for their own learning goals and progress.

Teachers…

  • Design learning tasks that require students to be self-directed, make choices and manage time effectively to achieve their learning goals
  • Structure group tasks to ensure individual and collective accountability
  • Plan for regular opportunities for student reflection through discussion and writing
  • Foster a growth mindset helping students to see mistakes as learning opportunities
  • Celebrate resiliency and resourcefulness in the face of setbacks or obstacles

Students…

  • Evaluate the quality of their performances / work products
  • Set learning goals and reflect on progress
  • Learn from their own mistakes and develop new strategies
  • Advocate for themselves by asking for help when needed
  • Learn to become self-directed to make choices that match interests and learning needs
  • Assume responsibility for good work habits
  • Develop leadership skills in areas of interest