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


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From the education reference

cooperative learning
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 own learning as well as the learning of his or her fellow group members.
service learning
Intentional combination of community service objectives and learning opportunities that benefits both the recipient and provider of the service. Student service learning projects should be structured to link learning tasks to self-reflection so that they enrich learning, strengthen communities, and teach civic responsibility.
learning disability
A discrepancy between expected achievement and observed achievement, also known as "unexpected underachievement."
learning contract
An agreement between a teacher and a student regarding how that student will achieve specified learning goals or objectives.
collaborative learning
An umbrella term for the variety of approaches and models in education that involve the shared intellectual efforts by students working in small groups to accomplish a goal or complete a task.
blended learning
A student-centered approach to creating a learning experience whereby the learner interacts with other students, with the instructor, and with content through thoughtful integration of online and face-to-face environments.
discovery learning
Learning that takes place, not through instruction, but through examination, analysis, or experimentation.
project-based learning
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 question.
Dimensions of Learning model
Model of learning developed by Marzano et al (1988) that links content area knowledge, metacognition, and critical and creative thinking with a taxonomy of thinking skills and thinking processes.
digital game-based learning
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.
problem-based learning
Model of instruction in which the teacher poses an authentic problem for student resolution. PBL may be one among many strategies in a classroom or an entire curricular and instructional approach. In the course of problem-solving, students work cooperatively in groups to learn content and skills related to real world problems. The teacher acts as a facilitator to learning.

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Math for multiple intelligences
How a middle-school math teacher realized she was boring and jump-started her career — and her students — by using thematic planning, emphasizing problem solving, and teaching to multiple intelligences.
Format: series (multiple pages)
Three-step interview
The three-step interview* takes the place of the traditional group discussion because each person in the group must produce and receive information. In the first two steps of this cooperative learning structure, students interact...
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
In the roundtable cooperative learning model*, each team member writes one answer on a piece of paper that is passed around a table. Roundtable is highly effective with creative writing and brainstorming activities. This structure...
By Heather Coffey.
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.
Alternative discussion formats
Class discussions often take one of two forms — either question-and-answer sessions, in which the teacher throws out questions and students answer them, or debates. Both of these formats are useful, but adding a few more ideas to your teaching repertoire can make for more variety in the classroom and provide more opportunities for engaging discussions. This edition explains how to manage dicussions in the form of a public relations campaign, a trial, a talk show, or the design of monuments, memorials, and museum exhibits.
Format: series (multiple pages)
Educator's Guides: North Carolina Digital History
Best practices, process guides, worksheets, and other resources for teaching with LEARN NC's digital textbook of North Carolina history.
Format: (multiple pages)
Round robin
In the round robin structure*, each student takes turns sharing something new with members of the collaborative group. Round robin offers students the opportunity to express ideas and opinions while learning more about their...
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.
Student teams achievement divisions
In this learning model, teams are arranged after a teacher-led lesson. Team members tutor one another in order to achieve mastery of new concepts. Then, students take individual quizzes, but the team evaluation is based on individual scores. Student teams...
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.
Finding your way in North Carolina
Students will become familiar with the regions and local features of North Carolina and be able to write directions for others to find these features on a map.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–4 Social Studies)
By Sadie Allran Broome.
In the think-pair-share strategy, students think on their own about a topic and then pair with another student to discuss their thoughts. Finally, the pair shares their thoughts with the rest of the class. This structure facilitates independent thinking and...
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
County government in North Carolina
Students will become familiar with aspects of county government in North Carolina.
Format: lesson plan (grade 4 Social Studies)
By Sadie Allran Broome.
Writing with Koala Lou: Sequencing and BME
After reading the story Koala Lou aloud, students practice sequencing the events of the story and identifying the beginning, middle, and end. Upon completing this activity in cooperative groups they write using a teacher given prompt, including proper sequence and beginning, middle, and end. They also share the final product with their cooperative group.
Format: lesson plan (grade 2–3 English Language Arts)
By Jenifer Lewis.
Amazing liquid conductor
Students will mix a variety of liquid solutions together to see if they will light a light bulb in a electrical circuit. They will be able to identify liquid electrical conductors and nonconductors. Also they will be able to identify that liquid solutions that contain a noticeable amount of acid or salt are good conductors of electricity. Each group of students will make a closed circuit to test their solutions.
Format: lesson plan (grade 4 and 6 Science)
By Martha Martin.
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.
Bearly estimating
This is a lesson which allows students to explore with estimation in cooperative learning groups.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1 Mathematics)
By Melissa Geiser.
Solar energy hot box
This hands-on science lesson is great because it allows students to get out of their seats and move about, as well as allows students to work in cooperative groups. The teacher is more of a facilitator and students are more in charge of their own learning processes.
Format: lesson plan (grade 5 Science)
By Nicole Albright.
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.
Milk it for all it's worth
Students will cooperatively discover the equivalent measures of capacity. In addition, students will be given a unit price of milk and will be asked to calculate the price of other units of capacity based on the price given. They will then use this information to determine the most economical buy.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3 Mathematics)
By ann dawson.