Best Practices Blog

This blog features the best commentary, sample learning expeditions, and research from across our network of educators

A Community of Learners with the EL Curriculum

Bobbi Hopkins has been a third grade teacher for 28 years and is currently working at Country Parkway Elementary School in the Williamsville Central School District in Buffalo, New York. In this interview, Bobbi explains how the EL curriculum has transformed her classroom into “a community of learners”:

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We Asked a Librarian: "How Do We Get Our Kids to Read?"

The research on summer reading and summer regression from not reading is clear:

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Moving Up: Graduation Is Just The Beginning

“I’m going to bring what I know and who I am from Polaris, and I’m going to give it all I’ve got” – Daniel, 8th grader, Polaris Charter Academy 

In schools across the Expeditionary Learning network, May and June are marked by passage traditions and graduation ceremonies. Everyone is moving up! Crossing the bridge to the next grade, the next school, or the next adventure is a time for reflection as well as celebration. When students know and can name the skills they’ve mastered and the character traits they’ve acquired along the learning journey, they level up to the next grade ready for a new challenge.

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Sparking Inquiry with EL’s Open Source Curriculum

This MiddleWeb piece written by Cheryl Dobbertin focuses on the power of a compelling curriculum designed around the 4 T's - compelling Topics, clear Targets, worthy Texts, and interesting Tasks.

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What It Really Takes to Inspire Students to Perform Well (It’s Not Test Scores)

You don’t have to make a choice between doing well in standard test scores and having kids doing brilliant, beautiful work that inspires others. That’s a false choice.

Amid the clamor in every state around student testing, a critical goal is missing from the debate: the ability of students to create high-quality work. We’re obsessed with test scores, when we should be focused on helping students learn to do the work that helps them for the rest of their lives.

When a student is done with her schooling, she will be judged for the rest of her life not by her scores on a test of basic skills, but by the quality of her work and her character. 

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Illuminating Standards—One Piece of Student Work at a Time

Education Week’s Learning Deeply blog featured posts by Expeditionary Learning (EL) and its partners at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). This piece by Steve Seidel, Bauman and Bryant Senior Lecturer in the Arts in Education at HGSE, focuses on a unique film festival that showcased the impressive student work being done in American K-12 public schools along with the voices of young people and/or their teachers talking about what they did to create that work and what they learned in the process. The films were created by HGSE students as part of their class "Models of Excellence – Illuminating Standards and Inspiring Learning with Outstanding Classroom Work" led by Seidel and Ron Berger, EL’s Chief Academic Officer.

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Catching Fire: Models of Student Work Can Spark a Chain Reaction of Deeper Learning

Education Week’s Learning Deeply blog featured posts by Expeditionary Learning (EL) and its partners. This piece by Wilhelmina Peragine, a Teaching Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), discusses how one exemplar EL student project at Four Rivers Charter Public School inspired the creation of high quality work in two other EL schools: King Middle School and Polaris Charter Academy.

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Models of Excellence: Ron Berger Explores What Standards Really Look Like

In this recent post featured on Ed Week's Learning Deeply blog, Ron Berger, Chief Academic Officer at EL explores what it means to meet educational standards with beautiful, quality student work.

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A Good Reading Lesson Doesn't 'Put Standards Before Students'

In this edition of Classroom Q & A with Larry Ferlazzo, Cheryl Dobbertin, Program Director of EL's Teacher Potential Project, responds to the question "What are good examples of reading lessons aligned to Common Core standards?"

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