Learning Activities

This section of the Design Lab houses more than 200 activities strategically selected to support young people in learning key skills. Most of the activities can be used in classrooms across multiple content areas (including math!). The Learning Strategy Buttons and Search Filters will provide you with many different ways to explore the collection, allowing you to quickly identify activities for specific instructional plans.

Connecting

Readers instinctively search for ways to make connections to the texts they are reading, as a result, it's one of the early strategies introduced to students. There are three ways that strong readers connect to texts: text-to-self (a connection to a personal experience); text-to-world (a connection to a "real-life" phenomenon or event; and text-to-text (a connection between two or more texts that a reader has explored). These activities will help you work with students on making connections to both fiction and nonfiction texts, and several can also be used to help students make connections to mathematical problems.

Lesson Plan Stages

Common Core Instructional Shifts

Content Areas

Learning Strands

Skills

Showing 12 of 116 results:

Author Says, I Say, So

  • Investigation
  • Reflection
This activity provides a highly structured way for students to identify, organize, and process their reactions to a text. It facilitates students’ ability to react meaningfully to a text, and then to draw...

Cartoon Analysis

  • Investigation
This activity helps students to develop a deeper understanding of a controversial topic, and to gain skill in literary and artistic analysis. It is useful in an ELA classroom, since it develops analysis skills...

Coding the Text

  • Investigation
  • Launching Into New Content
This activity provides an organized and time-sensitive way for students to respond in multiple ways to a text as they are reading. By using a pre-established “code,” students indicate a variety of responses...

Draw To Remember Summaries

  • Investigation
  • Reflection
  • Synthesis
In this activity students will draw and write a short description of something they just read. These drawings and summaries can serve as guides for students to go back and review events from previous readings...

Exemplar Jigsaw

  • Investigation
  • Launching Into New Content
This activity immerses students within a particular format, genre, or style of work, and guides them towards recognizing its characteristics, features, and purpose. Using a jigsaw format, students analyze...

Problem/Solution Matchup

  • Investigation
This activity encourages students to think about the content of what they are learning through the lens of problem/solution. They examine a set of “puzzle pieces,” half of them problems, and half of them...

ABC Brainstorming

  • Launching Into New Content
  • Synthesis
This activity helps students to generate connections, ideas, and reactions related to key ideas of a text or a unit of study. Students brainstorm a word or idea that begins with each letter of the alphabet and...

Acronym Mnemonics

  • Investigation
  • Reflection
Through this activity students create acronyms to assist in remembering a process, list, or set of facts. This process develops students’ metacognition, and helps them to become more mindful and effective in...

Attribute Sorts

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis
This activity helps students to organize and remember important and distinguishing information about key people, places, or other ideas from their reading. Students sort a set of prepared attributes under the...

Beyond-the-Lines Questions

  • Building Background
In this activity, adapted from Harvey & Goudvis’s Strategies that Work (2007), students will create and use beyond-the-line questions that provoke deeper thinking and prompt lively student discussions...

Closed and Open Word Sorts

  • Building Background
  • Reflection
  • Synthesis
Word Sort is a simple small group activity. Students list key words from a reading or a unit of study, or alternatively, the teacher may provide a list of terms prior to the sort. Students identify the meaning...

Concept Collage

  • Building Background
  • Investigation
In this activity students will work in pairs to create a poster illustrating the meaning of key concepts or vocabulary words from a unit by using cutouts of words from ads and articles from newspapers and...

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