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Lesson 2: Skills and Best Practices

The Constructivist Classroom

Constructivist classrooms are structured so that learners are immersed in experiences within which they may engage in meaning-making inquiry, action, imagination, invention, interaction, hypothesizing and personal reflection. Teachers need to recognize how people use their own experiences, prior knowledge and perceptions, as well as their physical and interpersonal environments to construct knowledge and meaning. The goal is to produce a democratic classroom environment that provides meaningful learning experiences for autonomous learners.

North Central Regional Educational Laboratory

This site provides a research-based rationale for using constructivist strategies in the classroom including such things as:

Concept Development

Teach higher-order thinking while youíre teaching concepts, skills, and content!

The indispensable guide below combines proven curriculum design with teaching methods that encourage students to learn concepts as well as content and skills for deep understanding across all subject areas. Synthesizing Lynn Ericksonís past 15 years of field work with teachers, curriculum developers, teacher educators, and instructional leaders, this resource offers a complete guide to designing curriculum and instruction that foster the continuous growth and development of a studentís critical, abstract, and creative learning skills. Educators will learn how to:

Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction for the Thinking Classroom
Authored by: H. Lynn Erickson, Educational Consultant, Everett, WA

Using Complex Sources

For most people, being able to read and being able to understand what they are reading are key to their ability to creatively and effectively process information and live successful lives.

The site below discusses the following elements as critical in helping students understand complex information in a text or other primary or secondary social studies sources of information:

Each topic is addressed in detail in this site.