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:

Showing not Telling

  • Synthesis
This activity helps to enliven students’ writing by teaching them to SHOW what is happening and how characters are feeling rather than drily reporting the facts. It helps writers and readers to experience...

Sing Me a Song

The purpose of this activity, inspired by Burke’s The English Teacher’s Companion (1998), is to provide students with a fun way to summarize and reflect on what they have read. Students will write lyrics to a...

Sketch to Sketch

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis
In this activity, adapted from Kelley’s Comprehension Shouldn’t Be Silent (2007), students will draw an image from a story the teacher reads aloud. The purpose of this activity is to help build listening...

Socratic Seminar

  • Investigation
  • Launching Into New Content
In this activity students will take part in a Socratic seminar that includes preparing background information, speaking and listening during the seminar, and writing after the seminar. This activity can be...

Spider Maps

  • Investigation
  • Launching Into New Content
This activity helps students to become familiar with key concepts or events from a text or a unit of study, and to categorize these concepts or events as either main ideas or supporting details.

SQ3R

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis
In this activity students will monitor their comprehension before, during, and after a reading by making predictions, answering questions, and discussing in small groups. The purpose of this activity is to...

SQRQCQ

  • Investigation
This activity, adapted from Barton and Heidema’s Teaching Reading In Mathematics (2009), helps to guide students through the process of solving a mathematical word problem. Students follow a consistent set of...

Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up

  • Launching Into New Content
  • Reflection
  • Synthesis
This easily adapted activity can be used to help a class activate its shared prior knowledge in an engaging, cooperative, and nonthreatening setting.

Star Lessons

  • Investigation
  • Reflection
“STAR” stands for “Student-Initiated Talk After Read-Alouds.” This activity, adapted from Block & Pressley’s Comprehension Instruction: Research-Based Best Practices (2001), supports student comprehension...

Story Chains

  • Investigation
This activity helps students to direct their attention toward key terms in a text, and to make predictions about a text using key terms. It is useful when students are reading any challenging text, either...

Story Impressions

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis
In this pre-reading activity students will use a teacher-generated list of words that relate to the fiction elements of a story, including setting, character names or descriptions, plot, and resolution...

Storyboard Your Visualizations

  • Investigation
  • Reflection
  • Synthesis
In this activity, students will create drawings that represent their five senses based on what they have read. The purpose of this activity is for readers to experience the text by using their senses to put...

Pages