Professional Development

Videos designed for teachers.

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Differentiate with Low Floors and High Ceilings

Differentiate with Low Floors and High Ceilings

For Teachers

Start with high expectations and scaffold down.

Lesson Makeover Event – Keynote

Lesson Makeover Event – Keynote

For Teachers

After looking at dozens of lessons folks sent in, I came up with three big ideas to address.

Why I Don’t Use “Create”

Why I Don’t Use “Create”

For Teachers

Why I don't use the word "Create" when writing objectives.

Why “Challenging” May Not Be The Right Goal

Why “Challenging” May Not Be The Right Goal

For Teachers

So many of us say, "I want to challenge my students!" But, that's probably not the best place to start.

Difficult vs Complex Tasks

Difficult vs Complex Tasks

For Teachers

What separates difficulty from complexity? And why do complex tasks lead to much more natural differentiation?

Writing Differentiated Lesson Objectives

Writing Differentiated Lesson Objectives

For Teachers

My early lessons didn't even have objectives, let alone good objectives! Here's how to build four-part, differentiated lesson objectives.

Creating Sequences of Questions

Creating Sequences of Questions

For Teachers

High-level questions on their own simply aren't enough. We must create sequences of questions!

Depth and Complexity – An Introduction for Teachers

Depth and Complexity – An Introduction for Teachers

For Teachers

Depth and Complexity is a powerful, but often misunderstood, framework for teaching students to think more like experts.

Asking Questions That Make Students Think

Asking Questions That Make Students Think

For Teachers

How can we ask questions that make students think rather than just remember?

Improving Wait Time

Improving Wait Time

For Teachers

How much time do students get to think? How much time do students need to think? How can we bring those into alignment?

New Uses for Everyday Things

New Uses for Everyday Things

For Teachers

Here's how Joelle Trayers gets even her youngest students ready to think in unexpected ways.

Universal Themes

Universal Themes

For Teachers

Universal Themes are an easy way to connect lessons, units, and content areas, even going across grade levels, and into students' personal interests.

Climbing Bloom’s with Depth and Complexity

Climbing Bloom’s with Depth and Complexity

For Teachers

Combine higher levels of Bloom's Taxonomy with the prompts of Depth and Complexity!

Response to Lit: An Inductive Approach

Response to Lit: An Inductive Approach

For Teachers

Here's how one teacher uses inductive thinking to help students respond to literature.

Inductively Analyze Website Reliability

Inductively Analyze Website Reliability

For Teachers

Rather than giving students rules to apply to websites, let them analyze websites to create rules.

An Inductive Exploration Of Geometry

An Inductive Exploration Of Geometry

For Teachers

With inductive thinking, students will work from parts to whole, discovering big ideas along the way!

Analyzing Conflict with the Content Imperatives

Analyzing Conflict with the Content Imperatives

For Teachers

How to go deep into conflict using the Content Imperatives.

Multiple Perspectives in Primary

Multiple Perspectives in Primary

For Teachers

Even our youngest students can learn to think from multiple perspectives!

Building Creative Confidence with the Torrance Tests

Building Creative Confidence with the Torrance Tests

For Teachers

Here are a bunch of ways to quickly practice creativity with your students for zero dollars.

Multipotentiality: Excellent at Many Things

Multipotentiality: Excellent at Many Things

For Teachers

Why being good at many things can be a bit of a burden.

Complex Task: Academic Tournaments

Complex Task: Academic Tournaments

For Teachers

Who would win in the Tournament of Most Honorable Presidents or Least Useful Geometric Shapes or Bravest Shakespearean Characters? Create an academic tournament and watch your students' brains sweat!

Teaching Criticism

Teaching Criticism

For Teachers

Ask students to go beyond "I don't like it" and form critical opinions based on a set of criteria. Students can produce written arguments or turn their opinion into oral presentations.

Add Layers To Direct Instruction

Add Layers To Direct Instruction

For Teachers

In this video, we're going to layer depth and complexity onto a direct instruction lesson using classic literature and art, more advanced content, increased thinking skills, and a writing focus.

Writing Concept Attainment Lessons

Writing Concept Attainment Lessons

For Teachers

In a Concept Attainment lesson, we give students examples and non-examples of a concept -- without telling them what that concept is!

Can Students Solve Your Classroom Layout Problems?

Can Students Solve Your Classroom Layout Problems?

For Teachers

What if your students designed your classroom layout?

Students and Personality Types

Students and Personality Types

For Teachers

How can our students be so different? And how can we help them to understand themselves and each other better.

Running A Group Investigation Lesson

Running A Group Investigation Lesson

For Teachers

Learn to lead a lesson that is built entirely on student curiosity.

Developing Questions that Prompt Thinking in Math

Developing Questions that Prompt Thinking in Math

For Teachers

Math is a particularly tricky subject for asking higher-level questions. Here are a couple of techniques I've used to prompt students to think, not merely calculate.

Brain Needs or Heart Needs

Brain Needs or Heart Needs

For Teachers

We think of gifted kids as only having academic needs, but - in their own words - they also have many needs of the heart.

Curriculum Compacting

Curriculum Compacting

For Teachers

Melanie Bondy explains how compacting will help you to “shrink the curriculum” and give students opportunities to use their time more effectively.

Curriculum Acceleration: Step by Step

Curriculum Acceleration: Step by Step

For Teachers

Melanie Bondy, of Mine Vine Press, explains how to accelerate curriculum for your advanced students.

Running A “Notice, Wonder” Lesson

Running A “Notice, Wonder” Lesson

For Teachers

Use these puzzling images to build a classroom culture that is comfortable with curiosity, ambiguity, and taking intellectual risks.

Introduction to Puzzlements

Introduction to Puzzlements

For Teachers

The thinking behind my weekly Puzzlements mailer.

Introduction to Differentiation

Introduction to Differentiation

For Teachers

When differentiating, most teachers simply start in the wrong place!

Depth and Complexity and Graphic Organizers

Depth and Complexity and Graphic Organizers

For Teachers

Let's see a few examples of how Depth and Complexity slides nicely into any graphic organizer.

Complex Task: Subjective Graphs

Complex Task: Subjective Graphs

For Teachers

What would it be like if students graphed characters from stories? Historic leaders? Elements from the period table? Objects in space?

Content Imperatives

Content Imperatives

For Teachers

Learn to use the Content Imperatives, a set of five additional tools that work with Depth and Complexity.

Unexpected Intensities

Unexpected Intensities

For Teachers

Do you know a student who's a little bit… intense?

Creativity Beyond The Fluff

Creativity Beyond The Fluff

For Teachers

Just because a task is "creative" doesn't mean students are at the top of Bloom's Taxonomy.

Complex Task: What Would X Think of Y?

Complex Task: What Would X Think of Y?

For Teachers

Here's a simple task that will add complexity to any content from any grade level!

Building “Not Like The Others” Tasks

Building “Not Like The Others” Tasks

For Teachers

A delightfully ambiguous framework that is quick to prepare, but can last forever!

Addressing Disorganization

Addressing Disorganization

For Teachers

Know any kids who, despite their brilliant minds, have a bit of a hard time keeping things in order, turning things in on time, or remembering to put their names on their papers?

My Top 5 Depth and Complexity Mistakes

My Top 5 Depth and Complexity Mistakes

For Teachers

I spent about a decade making some pretty major mistakes in my use of depth and complexity.

Making Depth and Complexity Posters

Making Depth and Complexity Posters

For Teachers

Why buy premade posters when you can show off your students' thinking about Depth and Complexity?

Asynchrony

Asynchrony

For Teachers

In some areas, a student may be shockingly advanced, while in others… surprisingly average. This is asynchrony in action.

Depth and Complexity: Patterns and Quadrilaterals

Depth and Complexity: Patterns and Quadrilaterals

For Teachers

Why just "identifying patterns" isn't deep enough.

Thinking Deeply About Famous Structures

Thinking Deeply About Famous Structures

For Teachers

Rather than just learning about one structure, let's climb Bloom's and think more deeply.

The Curse of Knowledge and Checking for Understanding

The Curse of Knowledge and Checking for Understanding

For Teachers

How knowing your material well easily becomes a curse… and what to do about it!

Exposing Students to Classics

Exposing Students to Classics

For Teachers

Some kids are exposed to a wide range of classic art, music, and films at home and others aren't. Let's even the playing field by quickly integrating classics into our lessons.

Who Asks The Questions? And Who Answers?

Who Asks The Questions? And Who Answers?

For Teachers

What would the pie chart look like for these three situations: the teacher asks the students, a student asks the teacher, or a student asks another student a question? I can tell you my pie chart would have been very lopsided.

Explain Concepts with the Frayer Model

Explain Concepts with the Frayer Model

For Teachers

Giving a definition just doesn't cut it! Use the Frayer Model to explain (and assess!) vocabulary.

Updating Old Questions: Conflict and Character Change

Updating Old Questions: Conflict and Character Change

For Teachers

I update an old question about conflict and character change in the story Hatchet.

From Summary to Synthesis

From Summary to Synthesis

For Teachers

Here's how you can move from merely "summarizing a text" to a high-level task that culminates in synthesis.

Meeting Gifted Students’ Social and Emotional Needs

Meeting Gifted Students’ Social and Emotional Needs

For Admin

How can you tell if your students' social-emotional needs are being met on your campus?

Comparing Fraction Strategies

Comparing Fraction Strategies

For Teachers

Comparing fraction strategies? Let's take it even further!

Why “Analyze” Is My Favorite Level of Bloom’s Taxonomy

Why “Analyze” Is My Favorite Level of Bloom’s Taxonomy

For Teachers

Analyze is like a gateway that connects the lower- and higher-levels of Bloom's. But make sure you're truly asking an Analyze-level question!

Models of Instruction: Inquiry Training

Models of Instruction: Inquiry Training

For Teachers

Want your students to ask better questions? Why not train them to inquire!?

Start High, Scaffold Down

Start High, Scaffold Down

For Teachers

A high level of thinking also requires the support of thoughtful scaffolding.

Engagement Isn’t The Goal

Engagement Isn’t The Goal

For Teachers

While "engagement" is fun, it shouldn't be our main goal.

Moving Students from “On-Level” to “Advanced” in Writing

Moving Students from “On-Level” to “Advanced” in Writing

For Teachers

What separates our on-level writers from our advanced writers?

Updating Old Questions: Name That Genre

Updating Old Questions: Name That Genre

For Teachers

How I'd improve a low-level question about a story's genre.

How To Let Your Brain Exhale

How To Let Your Brain Exhale

For Teachers
All About Pre-Assessment

All About Pre-Assessment

For Teachers

A collection of helpful tips about differentiating through pre-assessment.

Differentiation of the Environment

Differentiation of the Environment

For Teachers

Lisa explains how Log Cabin Living changed her classroom environment. Sort of.

Rethinking Extension Menus

Rethinking Extension Menus

For Teachers

Is creating nine, two-sentence tasks really an effective way to differentiate?

Updating Old Questions: Identify Figurative Language

Updating Old Questions: Identify Figurative Language

For Teachers

So students can identify a simile, metaphor, and hyperbole. What next?

Improving Evaluative Questions

Improving Evaluative Questions

For Teachers

How to improve questions at the "evaluate" level of Bloom's Taxonomy.

Updating Old Questions: Comparing Two Leaders

Updating Old Questions: Comparing Two Leaders

For Teachers

How I'd upgrade a dull "which one is better" question.

Think Like a Disciplinarian (or an Expert!)

Think Like a Disciplinarian (or an Expert!)

For Teachers

Here's how I got better at using the Think Like An Expert technique.

Beyond Identifying a Story’s Problem and Solution

Beyond Identifying a Story’s Problem and Solution

For Teachers

So your students can identify a story's problem and solution. Then what?

Graphic Organizers and Higher Order Thinking

Graphic Organizers and Higher Order Thinking

For Teachers

A few quick tips on how to better use graphic organizers to support higher-order thinking.

An Introduction to Models of Instruction

An Introduction to Models of Instruction

For Teachers

As a new teacher, I only knew one model of instruction: Direct Instruction. I was like a chef who only knew how to deep fry!

Context Clues and Classics

Context Clues and Classics

For Teachers

How to use a classic to revamp a study of context clues.

Updating Old Questions: Volcano from Two Perspectives

Updating Old Questions: Volcano from Two Perspectives

For Teachers

How I'd break down and rebuild a task about judging a volcano.

Updating Old Questions: Pay Raise

Updating Old Questions: Pay Raise

For Teachers

How I'd update a low-level, overly engaging math question.

Help Students to Memorize Anything

Help Students to Memorize Anything

For Teachers

How to memorize the countries in Africa, the Japanese writing system, or a deck of cards.

Comparing Strengths and Weaknesses

Comparing Strengths and Weaknesses

For Teachers

Go beyond merely explaining strengths and weaknesses and get students thinking in interesting ways.

Updating Old Questions: A Mere Model of a Cell

Updating Old Questions: A Mere Model of a Cell

For Teachers

This task is all about the product, but completely ignores how students will think.

Assessing Differentiation Strategies With Walkthroughs

Assessing Differentiation Strategies With Walkthroughs

For Admin

How do you know, when you're walking through a class, whether the students are receiving appropriate work?

Assessing Differentiation Strategies with Student Products

Assessing Differentiation Strategies with Student Products

For Admin

Student products give an instant glimpse into whether differentiation is happening on your campus.

Misconceptions About 🏛️ Big Idea

Misconceptions About 🏛️ Big Idea

For Teachers

For too long, I let my students turn in blah Big Ideas. Here's how I fixed it.

Updating Old Questions: Designing A Character’s Bedroom

Updating Old Questions: Designing A Character’s Bedroom

For Teachers

Fixing an under-developed (but interesting) task that was originally part of a choice menu.

Big Products, Little Thinking: Wax Museum

Big Products, Little Thinking: Wax Museum

For Teachers

A big, impressive product doesn't mean that there was big, impressive thinking.

Depth and Complexity Walkthroughs

Depth and Complexity Walkthroughs

For Admin

You're implementing Depth and Complexity, but how do you know if you're doing it well? Five things to look for.