Skills Development

As educators, we often identify key skills that our students need to learn, but it can be challenging to find activities that specifically address these skills. This part of the Design Lab is devoted to our evolving "Learning Genome" of essential skills, critical for college and career preparation. At this time, we have identified 45 skills. Accompanying each skill description is a growing catalog of associated activities.

As you explore, you will see that each skill is associated with specific learning strategies. The Search Filters will allow you to search for skills associated with individual Common Core Standards, specific content areas, etc.


As we progress in school, we often lose site of the art of questioning as a way to develop a deep understanding of something. Asking how and why questions is a powerful way to explore the deeper layers of a text or idea. This collection of activities provides many different avenues for helping students reconnect to their natural curiosity about ideas.

Common Core Standards

Content Areas

Learning Strands

Showing 10 of 21 results:

Analyzing Theme

As students become more advanced readers they are expected to analyze the ideas that texts bring up. Students need to be able to recognize the big, recurring concepts that appear in text, and to interpret what individual texts have to say about these ideas. By learning to recognize and analyze the theme(s) of texts,...

Clarifying Confusion

Skilled learners are adept at identifying when they are confused, and using a variety of strategies to clarify their confusion. Less-skilled learners, however, often will not even notice that they are confused, and if they do notice, they often lack a repertoire of effective strategies to repair the breakdown in...

Experience A Text

Many students struggle to engage with texts, and even if they understand the content, they do not care about what they are reading and do not become immersed in it. For these students, reading is a chore to be avoided if possible, and deep enjoyment and appreciation of text is impossible. The skill of experiencing a...

Generating Questions

Questioning is a critical element of learning that promotes curiosity, focused inquiry, and self-regulation. Deliberate questioning is often the first step towards self-directed, metacognitive learning. Although questioning is natural, many students require explicit instruction in order to be able to apply questioning...