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.

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Problem centered math
Why students must build their own understanding of mathematics if they are to be able to use it in the real world, and how teachers can guide them in doing so.
Format: series (multiple pages)
Reaching every learner: Differentiating instruction in theory and practice
This series of articles, which balance theory, research, and practice, address a variety of topics within differentiation through text, graphics, and video.
Format: series (multiple pages)
Reading comprehension and English language learners
Teaching reading comprehension and helping English language learners are the responsibility of every teacher, but they are also within the abilities of every teacher. These articles provide strategies for building content-area reading comprehension before, during, and after reading that can help English language learners — and all learners.
Format: series (multiple pages)
Integrating maps
In Map skills and higher-order thinking, page 6
Textbooks frequently use maps as learning aids, but research has found that the way maps are most often used does not support students' learning. It turns out that both the order and the context in which materials are presented are crucial....
Format: article/best practice
By David Walbert.
The learning cycle
A three-part model of scientific inquiry that encourages students to develop their own understanding of a scientific concept, explore and deepen that understanding, and then apply the concept to new situations.
Format: article/best practice
By David Walbert.
Map skills and higher-order thinking
This series of articles looks at map skills as a kind of visual literacy, considering what maps are, how they're made, and the higher-order thinking skills students need to move from simply decoding maps to fully comprehending them.
Format: series (multiple pages)
The clinical interview
In Problem centered math, page 1.1
Before you can help your students develop their own mathematical understanding, it's important to understand how they already think about math. Do they have a strong number sense, or do they rely on memorized procedures,...
By David Walbert.
Sea Inventory (Lesson 2 of 3)
In this lesson students will rote count the number of sea creatures and shells on our beach mural. Also, students will use problem-solving techniques for answering "bigger than" questions.

This is a thematic unit with three lessons. Lesson 1 details art activities. Lesson 2 describes math activities. Lesson 3 underscores language art activities.
Format: lesson plan (grade K Mathematics)
By Dinah Jackson.
Differentiation
Differentiation is the practice of tailoring instruction to diverse learners based on student readiness, interest, and learning styles. This article discusses the four areas in which teachers can differentiate instruction and includes links to resources that support differentiation.
Format: article
By Jennifer Job.
Bridging Spanish language barriers in Southern schools
These articles provide background on Latino immigrants in North Carolina, administrative challenges in binational education, and strategies through which teachers can build on what Latino students bring to their classrooms to create a learning environment that meets the needs of all students.
Format: series (multiple pages)
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.
Thanksgiving story: Stone Soup
This lesson is for K–5 Exceptional Children who are mild to moderately disabled. This lesson will incorporate listening, daily living, fine motor, and augmentive communication skills.
Format: lesson plan (grade K–1 English Language Arts)
By Christina Pond and Sarah Boling.
Zone of proximal development
This article explores the history and theory of the concept of the zone of proximal development and discusses its application in the classroom.
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.
Meaningful mathematics: using balances for problem solving
Using balances to represent equations forces students to find their own meaning in mathematical problems.
By Grayson Wheatley and George E. Abshire.
Scaffolding
This reference article explains the theory and practice of scaffolding, and surveys relevant literature related to this instructional technique.
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
The problem-centered classroom
In Problem centered math, page 2.1
A look inside an eighth-grade classroom in which students work in pairs to solve problems, then debate as a class which solution is correct or easiest. An explanation of the teaching method is provided along with video of students presenting their solutions to problems.
Format: article
By Grayson Wheatley.
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.
In math, "elegant" means "cool"!
An elegant solution to a math problem is one that requires less time and work. Encouraging students to find such solutions will help them build number sense or numeracy.
Format: article
By Russ Rowlett.
Reading comprehension strategies for English language learners
In Reading comprehension and English language learners, page 2
Strategies like think-pair-share, think-alouds, and GIST can help English language learners, content-area learners, and all students make sense of text while they read.
Format: article
By Ellen Douglas.