K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Heather Coffey is a former middle and high school English teacher who recently completed her PhD in Culture, Curriculum, and Change at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her areas of interest include critical literacy, English education, teacher education, and qualitative research methods. She earned a Bachelors in English Education from Elon University in 1998 and completed her Masters Degree in Education with a concentration in English at UNC-Greensboro in 2004.

Resources created by Heather Coffey

Benchmark assessments
This reference article discusses the concept of benchmark assessments, including arguments for and against standardized benchmark testing and best practices in creating teacher-developed benchmark assessments.
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Bloom's Taxonomy
Bloom's Taxonomy is a classification system developed in 1956 by education psychologist Benjamin Bloom to categorize intellectual skills and behavior important to learning. Bloom identified six cognitive levels: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis,...
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Co-op
The co-op structure is more complex than many of the other cooperative learning structures. This ten-step process engages students in the development of a product or project. Students work individually on a single task to contribute to their team, and the...
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Code-switching
Code-switching is the practice of moving between variations of languages in different contexts. This article explains the history of code-switching, explores important literature on the subject, and discusses approaches to language response in the classroom.
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Cooperative learning
Cooperative learning is an instructional method in which students work together in small, heterogeneous groups to complete a problem, project, or other instructional goal, while teachers act as guides or facilitators. This method works to reinforce a student's...
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Critical literacy
Critical literacy is the ability to read texts in an active, reflective manner in order to better understand power, inequality, and injustice in human relationships. This article outlines the history and theory of critical literacy and details its application in the classroom.
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Culturally relevant teaching
Culturally relevant teaching is a term created by Gloria Ladson-Billings (1994) to describe "a pedagogy that empowers students intellectually, socially, emotionally, and politically by using cultural referents to impart knowledge, skills, and attitudes."
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Demonstration
This education reference article explains the demonstration method of teaching.
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Digital game-based learning
Digital game-based learning (DGBL) is an instructional method that incorporates educational content or learning principles into video games with the goal of engaging learners. Applications of digital game-based learning draw upon the constructivist theory of education.
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Discovery learning
This reference article explains the theory of discovery learning and discusses its history and its use in the classroom.
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Experiential education
This article explains the history and theory of experiential education, which combines active learning with concrete experiences, abstract concepts, and reflection in an effort to engage all learning styles.
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Formative assessment
This reference article discusses the history, concept, and application of formative assessment.
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Inside-outside circle
During inside-outside circle*, students either sit or stand facing each other in two concentric circles. Students respond to teacher questions or note-card prompted questions and then rotate to the next partner. In the end of...
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Interdisciplinary teaching
This education reference article explains the concept of interdisciplinary teaching and discusses considerations for developing interdisciplinary curriculum.
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Jigsaw
In Educator's Guides: North Carolina Digital History, page 3.2
Jigsaw is a cooperative learning technique that was created with the goals of reducing conflict and enhancing positive educational outcomes. The jigsaw technique helps students realize they are essential components of a whole and encourages cooperation in...
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Modeling
Modeling is an instructional strategy in which the teacher demonstrates a new concept or approach to learning and students learn by observing. Theory of modeling as an instructional strategy Research has shown that modeling is an effective instructional...
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Montessori
The Montessori philosophy is a holistic view of children that builds on natural curiosity and develops a love of learning by creating environments which foster the fulfillment of children's highest potential. History of Montessori In her medical practice,...
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Numbered heads together
Numbered heads together* is a cooperative strategy that offers an alternative to the competitive approach of whole-class question-answer, in which the teacher asks a question and then calls on one of the students with a raised...
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Paideia
According to the National Paideia Institute, Paideia (py-dee-a) is from the Greek pais, paidos, which means the upbringing of a child. The Paideia philosophy “celebrates the fundamental notion that...
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Project-based learning
Project-based learning is a teaching approach that engages students in sustained, collaborative real-world investigations. Projects are organized around a driving question, and students participate in a variety of tasks that seek to meaningfully address this...
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
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