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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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)
A picture is worth a thousand words
An example of how a single image can provoke discussions at all levels of Bloom's Taxonomy.
By Bobby Hobgood, Ed.D. and David Walbert.
Arts of persuasion
Strategies for teaching middle school students to think critically, analyze persuasive arguments, and use speaking and writing to persuade others.
Format: series (multiple pages)
Sample classroom floor plans
Basic floor plans and explanations for a traditional classroom, discussions/debates, a horseshoe arrangement, and centers.
By Mitch Katz.
An introduction to slave narratives: Harriet Jacobs' Life of a Slave Girl
In this lesson, students will learn about the life experiences of slaves in the United States during the 1800s by reading the story of a North Carolina slave woman who eventually escaped.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 Social Studies)
By Joe Hooten.
Sticky-note discussions
Sticky-notes discussions are fun, add variety to reading, and allow students to respond to the written text immediately. They are easy to implement in all content areas. Sticky-note discussions are effective when used individually, in a small or large group, or a combination of settings.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–8 English Language Arts)
By Kim Rector.
CareerStart lessons: Grade eight
This collection of lessons aligns the eighth grade curriculum in math, science, English language arts, and social studies with potential career opportunities.
Format: (multiple pages)
Plantation life in the 1840s: A slave's description
This lesson introduces students to a description of life on the plantation and the cultivation of cotton from the perspective of a slave. It focuses on the use of slave narratives made available by the Documenting the American South collection.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 English Language Arts and Social Studies)
By John Schaefer and Victoria Schaefer.
Balancing order and learning in classroom discussions
In The First Year, page 3.6
Different learning objectives require different rules for student participation. Make your expectations for each day's class clear to students — and to yourself!
Format: article
By Kristi Johnson Smith.Commentary and sidebar notes by Lindy Norman.
UNC Philosophy Department lesson plans
In Philosophy resources for educators, page 3.5
These lesson plans were created by students in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Philosophy Department's Pre-College Philosophy class. Ethics This lesson...
Woodworms: A study of natural selection
A study of natural selection and the evolutionary process through the use of a fictitious species, toothus pickii.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 Science)
By B. Carl Rush.
Facilitating Online Collaboration: Online course syllabus
Syllabus for the course Facilitating Online Collaboration which helps teachers develop strategies and practice the skills required to facilitate good online communication, moderate online discussion, and promote better accomplishment of instructional goals within the virtual classroom.
Format: syllabus
Why teach philosophy?
In Philosophy resources for educators, page 1.1
A page to help explain the rationale for pre-college philosophy instruction.
Format: bibliography
Jackie Robinson taught us more than baseball
After determining student knowledge about Jackie Robinson, the teacher/counselor reads "Teammates" by Peter Golenbock to fifth graders. The teacher/counselor then divides students into four groups to work cooperatively on questions. Groups select leaders and recorders and each group leader presents answers to the whole class. The teacher/counselor ends the activity with a question that individual students will respond to in writing.
Format: lesson plan (grade K–5 English Language Arts, Guidance, and Social Studies)
By Jan Huggins.
Mother Goose in use: Rhymes that teach
This collection of kindergarten lesson plans uses classic nursery rhymes to teach curriculum objectives in math, English language arts, science, and healthful living.
Format: (multiple pages)
Government "kooshball" debate
Students will be presented with a situation where they will have to list pros and cons of an Islamic government and a democratic government. The students will be assigned one side of the argument and will write statements that support their side to be used in a debate. This lesson should follow a study of Islamic government and culture.
Format: lesson plan (grade 7 Social Studies)
By Terry Philbeck.
Asynchronous conversation matters: Part II
Meaningful online asynchronous discussion requires careful planning. Using the tips from this article, teachers can create questions that will generate enthusiasm for a topic and motivate students to think critically and practice skills of collaborative dialogue.
Format: article
By Bill Ferriter.
American Indians in North Carolina
In this course you'll explore American Indian history in North Carolina from the earliest evidence of human habitation in the state through first contact with Europeans, the Trail of Tears, the Great Depression, the Civil Rights Movement, and into the present day.
Format: article/online course
Cape Fear estuaries: From river to sea
A “virtual field trip” down the estuaries of the Cape Fear River from zero salinity to the ocean, with discussion of how local ecology changes along the way.
Format: slideshow (multiple pages)