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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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)
Caucusing in the middle school classroom
In Arts of persuasion, page 1
Caucusing enables students to practice the elements of responsible citizenship, including persuasive writing and speaking.
By Pamela Myrick and Sharon Pearson.
Challenge-based learning: José Garcia's innovative approach to student inquiry
This article discusses the instructional strategies of Greene County Middle School science teacher José Garcia. Mr. Garcia employs challenge-based learning, which marries project-based learning with student inquiry and makes effective use of technology. José Garcia received an Apple Distinguished Educator award in 2009 and was Teacher of the Year in his school and county in 2008-2009.
Format: article
By Dan Lewandowski.
Children's literature promotes understanding
Bibliotherapy and critical literacy are two ways to use books to help children better understand themselves, others, and the world around them. This article explains both strategies and provides resources for selecting appropriate books.
Format: article
By Melissa Thibault.
Concept maps: an introduction
Using concept maps can help students make connections among subject areas. This article explains how teachers can use concept maps effectively and provides links to tools for creating them online.
Format: article
By Bobby Hobgood, Ed.D..
Consider the source
Information is everywhere — especially in the presence of the Internet. It's hard enough for adults to make sure that information is valid, but it's even harder for students to make that judgement. Here are some suggestions for helping students learn to recognize bad information when they see it.
Format: article
By Bobby Hobgood, Ed.D..
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.
Debates in the middle school classroom
In Arts of persuasion, page 2
A plan for staging a debate, including choosing a topic, "debate do's," and assessment.
Format: article
By Pamela Myrick and Sharon Pearson.
Demographics and deception
In Map skills and higher-order thinking, page 14
Maps get really interesting when we start adding human data to them -- population, economic production, social behavior, and so on. Mapping is a powerful way to summarize and communicate those kinds of data. Unfortunately, mapping is also an excellent way...
Format: article/best practice
By David Walbert.
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)
Five tips to improve students' information evaluation
Teach your students how to separate the good online information from the bad with these five strategies.
Format: article
By Bill Ferris.
Fostering creativity and innovation in the science classroom
This article presents resources and ideas for presenting science students with challenges designed to spark creativity and innovation. Resources listed include national competitions and websites listing suggested classroom projects.
Format: article/best practice
By Rebeccah Haines.
Higher order thinking with Venn diagrams
Graphic organizers are powerful ways to help students understand complex ideas. By adapting and building on basic Venn diagrams, you can move beyond comparison and diagram classification systems that encourage students to recognize complex relationships.
Format: article/best practice
By David Walbert.
Interactive conference 2009
LEARN NC’s fall 2009 interactive conference was held October 1, 2009, in Chapel Hill. Educators participated both in person and via the Web. If you missed it, everything is archived here -- Adobe Connect sessions, handouts, and more.
Format: (multiple pages)
It's an ad!
How do marketers target kids — and how can we teach kids to know the difference between advertising and fact? These websites provide strategies to build critical thinking skills for media literate kids.
By Melissa Thibault.
Letting students ask the questions — and answer them
For this high school science teacher, learning science means doing science. A look at an inquiry-based earth and environmental science classroom.
Format: article/best practice
By Amy Anderson.
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)
Number sense every day
Number sense – an intuitive feel for numbers and their relationships – develops when children solve problems for themselves.
Format: article
By Lisa Wilson Carboni.
The Paideia Seminar: Active thinking through dialogue
This teacher training manual, provided by The National Paideia Center, provides a valuable set of resources for educators who want to begin using the Paideia approach.
Format: book (multiple pages)
A perspective on inquiry
In this interview, Norman Budnitz, cofounder of the Center for Inquiry Based Learning, talks about inquiry and how to teach with it in a K–12 classroom.
Format: article/best practice
By Waverly Harrell.