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.

Lesson Plan Stages

Common Core Instructional Shifts

Content Areas

Learning Strands

Skills

Showing 12 of 218 results:

Reciprocal Teaching

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis
Reciprocal Teaching engages students in collective reading and discussion of books. Students learn to guide group discussion and to adopt various roles to engage in four strategies of interaction with text...

Refutational Text

  • Investigation
  • Reflection
  • Synthesis
This activity helps foster comprehension and acceptance of ideas that might be counterintuitive to many learners, and is particularly helpful for weaker students. Instead of simply defending an idea through...

Related Word Webs

  • Investigation
This activity guides students to identify the multiple forms of a word. Students write each word in the center of a page, and then write words that are related around the central word. This activity helps...

Responsibility Pie Charts

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis
In this activity, adapted from Gallagher’s Deeper Reading (2004), students analyze which characters in a text, or participants in a historic event, are most responsible for an outcome. They will assign a value...

Rhyme Mnemonics

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

Role-Play

  • Building Background
  • Reflection
  • Synthesis
In a role-play, students adopt a fictional persona and they act out a simulated situation. When studying literature, students usually role-play by acting as a character in a story, but role-play is a flexible...

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

  • Investigation
  • Launching Into New Content
  • Synthesis
Through this creative activity, inspired by Burke’s The English Teacher’s Companion (1998), students reimagine a story through the perspective of minor characters. This process can help students to gain new...

S.P.A.C.E. for Narrative Writing

  • Investigation
This activity helps students to organize the process of planning and writing a narrative. The mnemonic SPACE (Harris & Graham, 1992) is an acronym that stands for: S: Setting P: Purpose A: Action C:...

Save the Last Word

  • Reflection
  • Synthesis
In this activity, adapted from Short, Harste, & Burke’s Creating Classrooms for Authors and Inquirers (1996), students will read a text and select five statements that they think are important to discuss...

Say Something

Students construct meaning from text with a partner during the Say Something activity, which is adapted from Beers’s When Kids Can’t Read (2003). Each student takes a turn to respond to an idea or line from...

Say\Mean Chart

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis
In this activity, adapted from Gallagher’s Deeper Reading (2004), students will create a chart that includes the literal (what does it say?) and inferential (what does it mean?) comprehension of text. The...

Scene it

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis
In this activity students will visualize and draw events from a text. The purpose of this activity is to help students remember what they read. This activity is best completed at the end of a reading or after...

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