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.

Connecting

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:

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...

Inner Voice

Effective readers do not just passively decode words on a page, instead they engage actively with a text, thinking and wondering about the form and content of what they are reading.  This ongoing thought process can be considered a learner’s “inner voice,” and students benefit from helping their inner voice to become...

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...

Making Meaning

Real learning requires not just reciting information, but processing the meaning that this information contains. For example, students can repeat arithmetic facts, but we do not know that they understand them unless they can show us with manipulatives. Students can list the elements of the Bill of Rights without even...

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...

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