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Emily knight-schoemanDepartment of Graduate Teacher Education, Concordia University, St. PaulT&R CI 525: Innovations in Learning and TeachingProfessor MonosmithOctober 7, 2023

Choose an Innovative Teaching Strategy

Mindfulness is the practice of being aware and accepting what is happening in and around oneself (Waterford.org, 2023).Mindfulness practice increases the ability to self-regulate and be self-aware (Waterford.org, 2023).Examples of mindfulness practices in the classroom include: breathing exercises, meditation, body scan, reflection, and more (Headspace, Inc., 2023).

MINDFULNESS in the classroom

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a new kind of learning

Project-Based Learning (PBL) can be a great fit for in-person or virtual learning (D’Orio, 2021). It starts with a question which leads to deep research, and a plan of action.This type of learning turns traditional learning on its head. It requires a completely different setup, but has many positives such as leading to: better communication, self-awareness, collaboration, and critical thinking (Cornell University, 2023).

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Teaching the skills to problem-solve

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Children need to have the skills to problem-solve so that they don't give up everytime they feel frustrated (Cullins, 2019).Problem-solving looks like managing emotions, persevering, and thinking creatively (Cullins, 2019). Different age levels require different types of support and guidance when teaching children these skills.

Differentiation is giving students the tools they need in order to be successful. This could mean providing content in varying ways, giving extensions to work, breaking up tasks into smaller chunks, preferential seating, or using student-centered learning models (Ida, 2022).

Supporting students with varying needs

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Promoting an inclusive classroom environment means welcoming all students regardless of race, gender, religion, cognitive ability, nationality, etc.Teachers can create safe, inclusive environments by fostering quality relationships with each student. Positive student-teacher relationships lead to positive student emotions, better achievement, willingness to engage with the content, and more (Goetz et al., 2021).

building strong relationships

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Personalized learning is individualized for each student and offers students choice in what they learn (Kamenetz, Feinberg, & Mason, 2018).While research has found some positive outcomes, there are also negative outcomes associated to personalized learning. For one, it may be heavily reliant on technology. And two, it may not be equitable (Kamenetz, Feinberg, & Mason, 2018).

Learning made just for you

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Students of any age are ready to start learning about their own thinking processes and how those contribute to their own learning. Metacognition helps students integrate new information into the understanding they have of the world, instead of learning concepts in isolation. It also normalizes the idea that not knowing something is okay and part of the learning process (Kiedaisch, 2018).

Thinking about thinking

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Standards-based grading uses only summative assessments and considers a student's most recent achievement in mastering content (Feldman, 2019).This method of grading is more equitable because it removes grades of participation, homework, behavior, and more that negatively impact students of color, students in povery, and immigrant students (Feldman, 2019).


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Competency-based learning (CBL) allows students to progress from one skill to the next at their own pace (Hudson, 2022). CBL mirrors the workplace as opposed to a traditional school (Hudson, 2022).Students are given agency in setting and achieveing academic goals, increasing their motivation and engagement in learning (Hudson, 2022).

Mastering skills, not content

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Educators have a responsibility to teach students how to carry their critical thinking skills over to digital media platforms. These skills align with ELA standards such as distinguishing among facts v. opinions v. judgments, and communicating effectively (LaGarde & Hudgins, 2018). Teachers need to understand digital citizenship in order to live by example for their students.

Finding the truth in the digital age

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Bringing it all together


Many of the innovative teaching strategies presentented within this gallery walk can be used to positively impact students who have experienced adversity. For example, equitable grading in the form of standards-based grading will have a large benefit for this population of students.Other areas, such as project-based learning, will have positive benefits, but also come with the need for planning and supports. For example, some students may not be ready to work collaboratively or to take 'risks' when learning.

In light of what is known about how children learn, how shall professional educators best promote resilience and recovery for the children and their families who have experienced traumatic events?

Making time for mindfulness is a relatively new concept for the majority of teachers. How might this impact the next generation of workers and adults as they take these practices from childhood into adulthood?


Reflection opportunity

STANdards-based grading

Since research indicates the standards-based grading is more equitable and a more accurate indication of student mastery, what realistic changes can teachers make within their classrooms today to move towards this type of grading?


Differentiation is often dis cussed when refering to academics. How can differentiation include other types of learning that goes on in schools, such as social and emotional learning?


If quality teacher relationships correlate with positive student emotions and therefore motivation to learn and achievement, should schools place a higher priority on developing interpersonal skills during professional development? Should students be given some choice as to what teacher they will have?

Cornell University. (2023). Problem-based learning. Center for Teaching and Innovation. https://teaching.cornell.edu/teaching-resources/engaging-students/problem-based-learning Cullins, A. (Sept. 20, 2019). How to teach problem-solving skills to children and preteens. Big Life Journal. https://biglifejournal.com/blogs/blog/how-teach-problem-solving-strategies-kids-guide D'Orio, W. (2021). Glue stick not required: Collaboration and deep research make project-based learning a virtual fit. School Library Journal (67)2, 34.Goetz, T., Bieleke, M., Gogol, K., van Tartwijk, J., Mainhard, T., Lipnevich, A. A., & Pekrun, R. (2021). Getting along and feeling good: Reciprocal associations between student-teacher relationship quality and students’ emotions. Learning and Instruction 71. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2020.101349.Feldman, J. (2019). Beyond standards-based grading: Why equity must be part of grading reform. Kappan 100(8), 52-55.Headspace Inc. (2023). Science at headspace. Headspace. https://www.headspace.com/science Hudson, E. (2022). An introduction to competency-based learning:What, why, how. Global Online Academy. https://globalonlineacademy.org/insights/articles/an-introduction-to-competency-based-learning-what-why-howIda, M. (2022). Supporting students with hidden disabilities. Edutopia. https://www.edutopia.org/article/supporting-students-hidden-disabilities Kamenetz, A., Feinberg, R., & Mason, K. C. (Hosts). (November 16, 2018). All things considered [Audio podcast]. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2018/11/16/657895964/the-future-of-learning-well-it-s-personalKiedaisch, J. (June 11, 2018). What is metacognition? A guide for educators. We Are Teachers. https://www.weareteachers.com/what-is-metacognition/LaGarde, J., & Hudgins, D. (2018). Fact vs. fiction : Teaching critical thinking skills in the age of fake news. International Society for Technology in Education. Waterford.org (2023). 51 mindfulness exercises for kids in the classroom. Waterford.org. https://www.waterford.org/resources/mindfulnes-activities-for-kids/