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


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From the education reference

Instructional and organizational strategy in which groups of students rotate through various work stations in the classroom, each with a different learning task or goal. Centers present students with a variety of activities and supply necessary resources and materials to meet the learning task. Centers may have a developmental or educational focus.
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.
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.
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.
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.
learning contract
An agreement between a teacher and a student regarding how that student will achieve specified learning goals or objectives.
learning disability
A discrepancy between expected achievement and observed achievement, also known as "unexpected underachievement."
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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Sample classroom floor plans
Basic floor plans and explanations for a traditional classroom, discussions/debates, a horseshoe arrangement, and centers.
By Mitch Katz.
Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center at Purchase Knob
Visit the Learning Center at Lake Junaluska and participate in a scientific research program that focuses on the scientific method, air quality, or soil health.
Format: article/field trip opportunity
Let's be firefighters!
In this lesson, the students will learn about firefighters and the role they play in our community. This lesson will familiarize the students with the types of equipment used by firefighters, the special clothing worn by firefighters, and the responsibilities each of them have in our community.
Format: lesson plan (grade K Social Studies)
By Lavonne Holland.
Grassroots Science Museums Collaborative
Grassroots museums annually serve millions of citizens through general visitation, teacher training and special programs. Programs include both onsite and offsite presentations and reach students in every North Carolina school district.
Format: article/field trip opportunity
Geography centers
A geography unit in which students investigate and compare their hometowns and other cities. The unit incorporates nine centers: math, science, social studies, reading, writing, computers, puzzles and games, art, and listening. They all have activities that are integrated with the geography unit.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1–2 Visual Arts Education and Social Studies)
By Laurie Perry.
Communities in schools of Wake County: “Just passing isn’t good enough!”
The educators of Communities In Schools (CIS) of Wake County, after ascertaining that the average grade of their middle school students was low D to F, determined to change their program drastically. They researched programs across the country that demonstrated success with students with profiles similar to those of CIS students, hired an education consulting company to help them establish measurement matrices, and instituted a range of new policies and activities. As a result, CIS students’ grades improved to C in just six months.
Format: article
By Susan B. Hansell.
Magnetic magic
Students will explore and experiment with a magnet's mysterious invisible strength by rotating through five hands-on centers.
Format: lesson plan (grade 4 Science)
By Thelma Pike.
One room, many uses
Patty Berge converts her eighth-grade science classroom to suit multiple instructional methods. A classroom profile.
Format: article
By Kathleen Casson.Commentary and sidebar notes by Lindy Norman.
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.
Measurement centers
During a center-based activity groups of students will rotate around the classroom practicing non-standard unit of measurement concepts. In addition, they will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with measuring with rulers and will participate in a lesson about capacity.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1–2 Mathematics)
By Amy Kershaw.
Feathers, fins, fur, scales, and skin
Using observation, students will identify animal groups by their appearance. The students will move through animal centers looking for similarities and differences of birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
Format: lesson plan (grade K–1 Science)
Rowan County Nature and Learning Center
Birds of prey, mammals, and reptiles can be seen at the Nature Center Complex. For younger children there is a petting zoo.
Format: article/field trip opportunity
Piggin' out with money
Students will work with money manipulatives to solve word problems that involve adding money amounts and making change. The lesson is introduced with the literature book, Pigs Will be Pigs. After solving the problems posed in the book, the students will work with partners to create their "pig problems". Assessment will require students to solve similar problems on a teacher made worksheet. When time allows, each student will have the opportunity to go to an Internet site to work with money problems and games.
Format: lesson plan (grade 2 Mathematics)
Arranging for independence
Erin Espinoza's kindergarten classroom encourages children to learn on their own. A classroom profile.
Format: article
By Sydney Brown.Commentary and sidebar notes by Lindy Norman.
Savor the rainbow
Use skittles to help the students practice the concepts of sorting data, recording data, writing the data collected in fraction form (part/whole), changing the fractions into decimals and percents, and taking the data collected and making a spreadsheet, bar graph, and circle graph of the data.
Format: lesson plan (grade 7 Mathematics)
By Beverly Revis.
Patterns galore!
Students will create patterns using Kidspiration software.
Format: lesson plan (grade Computer/Technology Skills and Mathematics)
By Michele Tipton.
Differentiation in the Common Core classroom
This online professional development course helps teachers to explore the different avenues through which effective differentiation can take place in order to enhance their own practice.
Format: article/online course
Chocolate! Chocolate! Chocolate!
Using chocolate as a theme, students will become involved in reading, writing, math, word study/spelling and other developmentally appropriate (integrated) activities. The unit includes centers for the classroom along with whole group activities.
Format: lesson plan (grade K–1 English Language Arts and Mathematics)
By Luwonna Oakes.
Highlands Biological Station and Nature Center
A year-round biological field station located on a high plateau in the southern Appalachian Mountains of southwestern North Carolina providing learning opportunities for teachers and students.
Format: article/field trip opportunity
Animals, animals, animals
In this lesson students will learn to observe special characteristics and senses which influence the life of an animal and become aware of threats to animals and their habitats and how this affects everyone.
Format: lesson plan (grade K–1 Science)
By Joyce Poplin.