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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Teaching Strategies

Discover and share best practices for improving your teaching craft -- delivering instruction, engaging students, reaching struggling students, and more.

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Teacher at the chalkboard looking toward students

Feedback for Thinking: Working for the Answer

Instead of helping students by giving them the answers, encourage them to think independently by supplementing your modeling with questions, prompts, and cues.

Laughter and Learning: Humor Boosts Retention

Humor activates the brain's dopamine reward system, stimulating goal-oriented motivation and long-term memory, which means that humor can improve retention in students of all ages.

a photo of a stopwatch

The 8 Minutes That Matter Most

Like a story, lessons deserve compelling beginnings and endings. From pop culture connections to finishing with a level-up, here are eight strategies for holding students' attention.

It’s a Mistake Not to Use Mistakes as Part of the Learning Process

Consider these nine ways to teach with mistakes, including removing the stigma from error, explaining wrong answers, and helping students see mistakes as growth experiences.

On-the-Spot Scaffolding for Students

On-the-spot scaffolding is an essential skill for teachers. Check out these three strategies for assisting students when they struggle.

Discuss

Recognizing and Overcoming False Growth Mindset

Last comment 4 days 19 hours ago
14 4,103 33,564 views

Behavior Expectations and How to Teach Them

Last comment 6 days 28 min ago
13 5,324 54,607 views

The Teacher Curse No One Wants to Talk About

Last comment 6 days 12 hours ago
9 5,603 58,520 views

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A closeup of a young boy in his preteens sitting in class. He's looking directly at the camera with a close-mouthed smile. The rest of the photo is out of focus.
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Try One New Thing in the New Year

Check out these suggestions that include adding coding to your curriculum or turning your classroom into a makerspace.

1 228 2,508 views
Three young boys are hovering over their classroom table, smiling. They're holding and looking at nuts, bolts, and screws that are lying on a piece of lamented paper with two circles drawn on it.
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Recognizing and Overcoming False Growth Mindset

Examples of a false growth mindset include praising effort over progress, affirming students' potential without enabling them, and blaming their mindset instead of refocusing it.

14 4,103 33,564 views
A young girl is intently looking at a wooden Abacus counting number frame, moving the colorful balls along the wire frames.
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Harnessing the Power of the Productive Struggle

Teaching that struggling is part of learning math encourages creativity, builds authentic engagement and perseverance, and creates opportunity for assessment, intervention, and feedback.

6 2,198 12,584 views
Six high school students are sitting at individual desks, looking towards the teacher at the front of the class.
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Turning Current Events Instruction Into Social Justice Teaching

When teaching social justice through current events, consider who your students are, explore opinions and perspective, clarify social justice themes, use interactive technology, and encourage activism.

5 1,625 4,587 views
A teenage boy is holding a Google Cardboard viewer up to his eyes, a cardboard box with his smart phone inside of it, looking into it as if it were binoculars or a camera.
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Come Along and Ride on a Google Expedition

With a smartphone and a simple virtual viewer, students can travel at any time, to any place, at the teacher's preferred pace, and for free.

289 3,024 views
Two young, brunette, teenage girls are sitting in class, talking to each other and laughing.
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Re-Energize Your Classroom in the New Year

Inviting student agency in the New Year encourages buy-in during the long winter months. Student ownership inspires new ways of engagement and more meaningful lessons.

2 1,342 6,225 views
A closeup of a teenage girl with long, brown, curly hair, smiling, her hands covering her mouth.
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Gifts That Last a Lifetime

As we gear up for another new year, it's worth reflecting on the many gifts that teachers share on a daily basis.

2 98 1,601 views

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Bell Ringer Exercises

Edutopia blogger Todd Finley presents an overview of bell work - short, focused exercises to help students make the most of valuable classroom time.

26 1,547 238,528 views
Drawing of a jester hat
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April Fool's Day in the Classroom: 8 Resources for Teachers

April Fool's Day can be an excellent time to bring humor into the classroom. Use this list of prank ideas, humorous lesson plans, and other resources to help you celebrate at school.

8 6,480 237,639 views
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3 Strategies to Improve Student Writing Instantly

Guest blogger Ali Parrish, educator and ed tech consultant, provides three strategies, low-tech and high-tech, for breaking through students' brain freeze when faced with the dilemma of what to write.

40 17,712 199,752 views
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Using Webb's Depth of Knowledge to Increase Rigor

Norman Webb's Depth of Knowledge Levels is a system that categorizes tasks according to the complexity of thinking required to successfully complete them.

6 1,534 182,320 views
Illo of a fish leaping out of a school of fish into a bigger body of water
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Strategies for Helping Students Motivate Themselves

Consider using autonomy, competence, relatedness, and relevance as practical classroom strategies to reinforce the intrinsic motivation students need for making the most of their learning.

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11 Tips on Teaching Common Core Critical Vocabulary

Learning and memory specialist Marilee Sprenger writes about vocabulary critical to the Common Core and offers 11 strategies for helping students learn it.

25 1,419 166,311 views
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5 Ways to Make Class Discussions More Exciting

Edutopia blogger Rick Curwin proposes five strategies, including use of props and questionnaires, to make classroom discussions more exciting.

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