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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The benefits of teaching with nonfiction
In this video, classroom footage and teacher interviews explore the benefits of teaching with informational text. Teachers discuss particular student populations that benefit from reading nonfiction, including exceptional children, English language learners,...
Format: video/video
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)
Can Americans define the term "learning disability?"
This article examines the statistics surrounding what Americans know — and don't know — about learning disabilities. The results highlight the necessity of educating parents and teachers more comprehensively about learning disabilities and what causes them.
Format: article
By Jennifer Job.
The challenge of a broken pencil
From dealing with meltdowns to setting a routine, Rhonda Layman shares communication and management strategies for students with autism spectrum disorders.
Format: article
By Waverly Harrell.
Changing the focus from label to need
Labeling a student's disability is an important step in procuring special education services for that student. But is there a downside to labeling students? This article looks at four commonly held — but ultimately misleading — beliefs about labels in special education, and advocates for focusing on needs rather than labels.
Format: article
By Jennifer Job.
Differentiated instruction
An introduction to LEARN NC's resources for differentiating instruction for a variety of student populations.
Format: bibliography
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.
English language learners and special education testing
In Bridging Spanish language barriers in Southern schools, page 3.4
English language learners are often incorrectly labeled with learning disabilities because of inffective diagnostic tests. A more effective model of testing and instruction would be based upon the educational concepts of scaffolding instruction and the Zone of Proximal Development.
Format: article
By Mary Faith Mount-Cors.
Hands-on biology
Hands-on science exploration clarifies difficult concepts and engages learners who have difficulty in more traditional classrooms. This article looks at an inquiry-based classroom that meets the needs of all of its students.
Format: article/best practice
By Waverly Harrell.
Inclusion in the 21st-century classroom: Differentiating with technology
In Reaching every learner: Differentiating instruction in theory and practice, page 7
While most teachers recognize the need to differentiate instruction, many face barriers in implementation. These barriers include lack of time to prepare lessons, the need to cover a wide range of content in a small amount of time, and extensive classroom management needs. This article advocates for using technology as a means to overcome some of these barriers.
Format: article/best practice
By Bobby Hobgood, Ed.D. and Lauren Ormsby.
iReach all learners with iPads: How to utilize the iPad to meet the needs of LD students
This online professional development course helps teachers develop iPad skills that help empower students with learning disabilities in the classroom.
Format: article/online course
The law and disabilities
A brief overview of two major laws — the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 — that protect students with disabilities in schools.
By Margaret P. Weiss.
Nothing exceptional
For teachers, the task is to determine which strategies will help students with learning disabilities succeed, both in our classrooms and beyond.
By Janet Ploghoft.
The power of nonfiction: Using informational text to support literacy in special populations
In Reaching every learner: Differentiating instruction in theory and practice, page 9
This article presents the idea that informational texts, rather than fictional literature, may better help students develop literacy skills -- particularly in students with special needs.
Format: article/best practice
By Joan Barnatt, Ph.D..
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)
Response to Intervention (RTI)
Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tiered model designed to combine assessment and intervention to maximize student behavior. With RTI, schools identify students who may be at risk for learning or behavior difficulties and monitor progress. The Council...
Format: article
By Jennifer Job.
Special education in Mexico
In Bridging Spanish language barriers in Southern schools, page 3.3
In the 1990s, the inclusive education movement gained ground in Mexico, which resulted in the mainstreaming of special needs students into regular classrooms. The effects of this movement can be seen in the educational policies and services focusing on special needs students in Mexico.
Format: article
By Mary Faith Mount-Cors.
Two paths to knowledge
For students who who always finish their class work early or want more information than you have time to give, try curriculum compacting.
Format: article
By Waverly Harrell.
Understanding twice-exceptional students
This article discusses the twice-exceptional student, defined as a student with both gifts and a learning disability. The author lists three categories of twice-exceptional students, addresses the challenges involved in identifying these students' exceptionalities, shares strategies for teaching twice-exceptional students, and emphasizes the importance of supporting the students' social skills.
Format: article/best practice
By Jennifer Job.
Using anchor activities to recognize special needs
There are a number of reasons why a student with special needs might make it to the high school level without having his or her needs identified and addressed. This article proposes using anchor activities as a way to determine whether a high school student has an unidentified learning disability.
Format: article
By Jennifer Job.