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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

What Doesn't Work: Literacy Practices We Should Abandon

Last comment 7 hours 13 min ago
69 66,001 670,979 views

30 Techniques to Quiet a Noisy Class

Last comment 3 hours 50 min ago
186 171,812 1,428,295 views

Do No Harm: Flexible and Smart Grading Practices

Last comment 1 day 11 hours ago
8 2,950 24,515 views

30 Techniques to Quiet a Noisy Class

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 09:38
186 171,812 1,428,295 views

How to Become and Remain a Transformational Teacher

Tue, 07/26/2016 - 10:00
9 1,195 views

What Doesn't Work: Literacy Practices We Should Abandon

Fri, 06/03/2016 - 06:00
69 66,001 670,979 views

Browse

A closeup on someone's eye. Their eye is green and blue. Their eyebrows and eyelashes are dark blond.
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Islands of Personality and Trains of Thought

In her third post about the film "Inside Out," Lori Desautels explores visualizing the memories and emotions that inform students' identities and shape their cognitive processes.

7 1,293 14,320 views
Two young kids are walking on the sand along the beach, the ocean to their left, and a hill covered in trees in front of them.
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Waiting is the Hardest (and Best) Part

Enhance your teaching and students' learning by waiting for student responses, waiting for mastery, waiting for the "spark," waiting for conflict resolution, and waiting for individual struggle.

6 1,211 12,868 views
A closeup of the right side of young girl's face. She has an off-white cloth wrapped partially around her head with her brunette bangs showing, covering her forehead.
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Creating Core Memories in the Classroom

In her second post about the film "Inside Out," Lori Desautels suggests creating positive academic core memories by respecting your classroom's emotional climate and engaging students' curiosity and anticipation.

1,274 5,396 views
An aerial shot of a girl in a coat holding a cell phone up to her face. She's standing on a floor that's pink, yellow, and green from the lights shining down on it.
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QR Codes Can Do That?

Seeking new educational uses for QR codes? Consider adding your voice, attaching PDFs, collecting parent information, sending a tweet, or changing the code's online endpoint.

9 1,084 15,773 views
A young boy wearing a striped blue and orange t-shirt is looking at a bubble in front of his forehead that is almost the size of his head. He's outside. Behind him is grass next to a brick floor with a basketball hoop and a tree fence.
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How Emotions Affect Learning, Behaviors, and Relationships

In the first of five posts about the film "Inside Out," Lori Desautels offers strategies to help explore how joy, sadness, fear, anger, and disgust can help students.  

28 12,776 54,376 views
A teenage girl in a yellow shirt and jean vest is smiling, looking down at an opened binder in her hands, showing it to another girl outside of the frame of the photo. The rest of the photo is blurred out, and seems to be students in a school hallway.
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Prioritizing: A Critical Executive Function

Lessons and units that teach students how to prioritize, plan, and persevere will exercise skills that help develop their executive function related to achieving long-term goals.

1 659 5,604 views
A closeup from the chest up of a young boy smiling directly at the camera. He's wearing a white t-shirt, and behind him is a green wall.
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Sharing the Connections That Students Value

In a youth culture that's all about sharing minutiae, teachers can develop a deeper relationship with students by sharing appropriate details from their own lives.

6 446 3,736 views

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Two young adults wearing backpacks are walking outside, laughing, with jackets in their hands.
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5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Non-Teaching Time

Nobody can "make time," but here are five smart ways to make better use of your non-teaching time with more efficiency and a lot less stress.

13 10,273 104,600 views
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Stop, Start, Continue: Conceptual Understanding Meets Applied Problem Solving

To better understand how educating individuals can make a global difference, consider what we should stop doing, what we should start doing, and what we should continue doing.

27 6,703 98,167 views
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The Lowdown on Longhand: How Writing by Hand Benefits the Brain

Studies show that note-taking with pen or pencil is critical to processing and representing information, something that students lose when tapping on a keyboard.

46 16,349 97,129 views
A closeup of a stack of blue, old, faded books on a circular table.
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When Grading Harms Student Learning

Instead of issuing zeros, penalizing late work, and grading formative assessments, teachers should make the classroom a place of hope instead of fear.

30 22,303 96,091 views
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5 Ways to Help Your Students Become Better Questioners

Asking a question can be a scary step into the void. How do you create a culture of using questioning in the classroom?

21 5,690 92,771 views
black and white photo of a student at a desk looking at the camera
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Myth-Busting Differentiated Instruction: 3 Myths and 3 Truths

With delivery of instruction, one size does not fit all. John McCarthy launches his differentiated instruction series by busting three common myths about DI.

50 5,274 88,205 views
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Getting Started With Project-Based Learning (Hint: Don't Go Crazy)

If you're new to project-based learning, Edutopia blogger Andrew Miller eases you into the approach with four suggestions to help you stay sane and begin mastering PBL.

7 254 84,262 views

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