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.


Inferring is the work of "reading between the lines" of a text, looking for symbolism, theme, and author's point of view and intention. While this is a sophisticated reading strategy, many young people instinctively apply it to their personal lives as they navigate their families, friendships, and teachers. These activities will allow you to introduce inferring to students within an academic context.

Common Core Standards

Content Areas

Learning Strands

Showing 10 of 28 results:

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,...

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...