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:

Listening Comprehension

Students are expected to learn effectively not only through reading, but also through listening to spoken language. Just as students benefit from explicit instruction in reading comprehension, they also benefit from explicit instruction in listening comprehension. Without such instruction, many students struggle to...

Main Idea vs Details

Students are confronted with an enormous quantity of information both in texts and in class, and they cannot possibly remember every fact. But many students are unsure which information they need to remember. Students need to be able to determine which ideas are central, which are details supporting central ideas, and...

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...

Point of View

As students become more advanced, they are frequently asked to wrestle with ideas that are subtle and ambiguous. Oftentimes, there are logical and rational arguments to be made on both sides of an issue, and sophisticated students must be able to understand and appreciate multiple views of the same phenomenon. In order...

Reading as a Writer

Description: When students read as writers, they bring an awareness of the craft of writing to their analysis, interpretation, and appreciation of text. They explore the way in which a text is written, consider how the form of the text contributes to its meaning, and they may begin to experiment with ways in which they...


The most effective learners are skilled at metacognition: they are aware of their existing understanding of concepts and texts, they recognize when something challenges or supports their view, and they readily adapt their understanding as they acquire new information. An essential piece of such sophisticated learning is...