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.


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.

Common Core Standards

Content Areas

Learning Strands

Showing 10 of 26 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 Poetry

When we analyze poetry, we closely examine the different parts of the poem, and then use this close examination to interpret the meaning(s) of the poem.  As with all good writing, the form of a poem complements and contributes to its meaning, so poetry analysis includes examination of formal elements such as structure,...

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...

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...