Can you relate to this tired teacher?
Last Friday we contrasted “survivalist” from “thrivalist” to gauge where we are on the path toward transformation. Too many talented educators go through each day on the survivalist end of the spectrum. We can’t transform in this state of being.

When you’re overwhelmed with the amount of strategies pushed by your school or in your own research, use these questions to see the bigger picture.

Find the universal principle by asking:

1. Why or how does this strategy encourage authentic learning?

2. Are there specific circumstances where this principle is best applied?

3. What is the relationship between this principle and (insert different principle here)?

Here are a few examples. Notice how the principle allows us to see more possibilities and “mix things up” to prevent the students from getting bored while at the same time freeing us from trying to do too many strategies in one lesson.



  • Begin each class with a 5-minute “do now” activity
Activate prior knowledge to prepare the brain for new learning
  • Ask students to “stop and jot” notes while reading
  • “Chunk” lectures into smaller pieces with discussion or writing in between
  • Pause a video every 5 minutes to talk about what students understand
Allow processing time when exposing students to new information
  • Gallery-walk
  • Jigsaw activities
  • Group presentations
Provide opportunities for students to teach and learn from their peers
  • Hook students with a controversial essential question
  • Ask: “What questions do you have?” at regular intervals during a lecture or reading
  • KWL charts
  • Socratic seminar
  • Ask students to develop their own questions about a topic and perform research to answer them
Curiosity drives authentic learning, and curiosity is cultivated through questions

We’ll discuss the false conflict winners tomorrow. Please vote here.

Post below: What strategy can you turn into a deeper principle about learning?