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.


More and more, we are a culture of visual learners. As we navigate nonfiction texts and data, it is critical that we visualize the relationships between various pieces of information. As we read fiction, visualizing oftens allows us to bring a text alive in new ways. As we work with mathematical concepts, visuals help us organize variables into complex formulas and equations.The visualizing strategy is one of the foundational strategies, that can be introduced to students with these activities.

Common Core Standards

Content Areas

Learning Strands

Showing 10 of 18 results:

Analyzing Literary Elements

Unlike most textbooks, literature conveys meaning through form and literary tropes as well as through content stated directly.  Formal elements such as line breaks, punctuation, and rhythmic patterns work together with techniques such as allusion, metaphor, and irony to create and enrich meaning.   Students of...

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,...

Considering Big Ideas

Successful students are able to understand, process, and remember a wide variety of information. Much of the information is factual details, but these details always fit into a larger context of big ideas. Students often need guidance in identifying, understanding, and connecting these big ideas, and by providing such...

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...

Memory Development

In order for learning to be useful, students need to do more than understand the information initially; they need to remember it later on. This concept sounds simple but is more complex than it seems, since memory itself is complex and multifaceted. There are at least two distinct types of memory, semantic (memory for...