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.

'Tis the season...for observations
In The First Year, page 2.8
When you're facing an observation, keep your focus on your students, and think of it as an opportunity to work with administrators and gain a new perspective on your teaching.
Format: article
By Kristi Johnson Smith.Commentary and sidebar notes by Lindy Norman.
And you thought it had been a long time since someone thanked you
In The First Year, page 4.3
Take time to show your appreciation for secretaries, custodians, and other support staff in your school.
Format: article
By Kristi Johnson Smith.Commentary and sidebar notes by Lindy Norman.
Building and maintaining an online professional learning community
Many schools have moved away from one-time workshops and toward the more sustained approach of professional learning communities. But finding the time for all PLC members to collaborate can be difficult. This article offers suggestions for using online tools to make PLCs run more smoothly and effectively.
Format: article/best practice
By Jayme Linton.
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.
Connecting with colleagues: No tricks, all treat!
In The First Year, page 2.4
You're busy, but making time for conversation with colleagues will pay off in the long run.
Format: article
By Kristi Johnson Smith.Commentary and sidebar notes by Lindy Norman.
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.
Don't put it down, put it up!
In a fifth grade classroom based around projects, everything has its place. This classroom profile shows you the design and purpose of Debra Harwell-Braun's fifth-grade classroom.
Format: article
By Kathleen Casson.Commentary and sidebar notes by Lindy Norman.
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)
The First Year
Essays on the author's experiences in her first year of teaching: the mistakes she made, what she learned from them, and how she used them to become a better teacher — and how other first-year teachers can, too.
Format: book (multiple pages)
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.
High school history and English: Natural partners
In Where English and history meet: A collaboration guide, page 1
Strategically plan a collaborative unit and overcome those everyday obstacles that prevent success. While this article focuses specifically on English-history collaboration, there is much to kindle the interest of any high school teachers.
By Karen Cobb Carroll, Ph.D., NBCT.
The importance of collaboration
The success of a deaf student in an inclusive classroom is dependent upon the contributions of a number of people, including the classroom teacher, the student, the teacher of the deaf, the student’s family members, school administrators, and the interpreter....
Format: video/video
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.
Just beyond the walls: Teachers as writers in virtual space
This article addresses the notion of teachers as writers — providing reasons why a personal writing practice can improve instructional practice, offering a variety of online networks and other sites to help teacher-writers connect with peers, and suggesting ways to bring this idea into the classroom.
Format: article/best practice
By Kevin Hodgson.
Making small groups work
In Math for multiple intelligences, page 2
For students to work effectively in small groups, a teacher needs not only to set rules but to build a sense of community and teamwork within the basic structure the rules provide.
Format: article
By Gretchen Buher.As told to David Walbert.
Managing a classroom with brain food
Tina Maples' eighth-grade language arts students are serious about their work they do. When students work on projects they care about — what Maples calls "brain food" — they manage the classroom themselves.
By Kathleen Casson.
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)
New Teacher Support
Ok, so it's not all fun and games. Now what? When you decided to become a teacher, what did you think about? If you're like most people, you thought about making a difference in children's lives, about helping them learn, making them think, "touching...
Format: article/help
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.
Our students: Not just ours, and not just students
In The First Year, page 3.7
Often, your difficulties with students will have nothing to do with your actions, your classroom management, or your school.
Format: article
By Kristi Johnson Smith.Commentary and sidebar notes by Lindy Norman.