Best Practices Blog

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

The Learning Our Teachers Deserve

In this Education Week Learning Deeply blog post, Expeditionary Learning President and CEO Scott Hartl outlines a vision for challenging, motivating and effective professional learning for our educators. 

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Culture First: Setting the Table for Deeper Learning

Authored by Principal Stephen Mahoney of EL Mentor School The Springfield Renaissance School, this Education Week Learning Deeply blog speaks to the seemingly minor details that make a school run and the drive toward authentic student-centered learning, that when combined in a balanced way, result in a strong school culture.   

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Would You Know Deeper Learning If You Saw It?

Libby Woodfin, EL's Director of Publications, offers educators expert advice on how to identify and encourage deeper learning practices in this Education Week Learning Deeply blog post.

It's not as easy as you might think. Teachers have many tools at their disposal that can facilitate deeper learning--long-term projects, hands-on activities, and, often, new technologies. You'll often find find deeper learning in that context, but not always. You also may find deeper learning in the context of a more traditional classroom environment. In the end, it's not about any particular tool or "shiny object." It's about the fundamental daily instructional choices teachers make to challenge, engage, and empower their students.

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What If Assessment Was Used to Elevate Learning Rather than to Rank Students?

Chief Academic Officer Ron Berger writes about student-engaged assessment on the Teaching Channel's blog. 

Imagine you are the coach of your daughter’s soccer team. Assessment would be important to you. You would hope that each of your players would have a clear sense of what she does well, what she needs to work on, and a commitment to improvement. It’s doubtful you would regularly give each girl a written test to determine her value as a player, and then sort each player into proficient, needs improvement, and failing categories.

Just as good soccer coaches do, teachers must help their students gain a clear sense of — and high standards for — what they do well, what they need to work on, and how to improve. The most important assessment that takes place in any school is not the end-of-year test; it is the assessment that is going on all day long in the mind of every student. Each student is continually assessing his or her attitude, behavior, understanding, and work — “Is this piece good enough to turn in?” “Do I actually understand this concept?”

Read more here. 

ELNC14: Shooting for the Targets

In this ELNC14 post, Expeditionary Learning Staff Writer Dina Strasser explores the characteristics of effective learning targets and her experience in ELNC14 Master Class A20: Learning Targets, presented by EL School Designers Shyla Kinhal and Jen Wood.

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ELNC14: Coherence and Ownership

Sarah Boddy—guest blogger and Expeditionary Learning Fund for Teachers Coordinator and School Designer—offers a glimpse into ELNC14 Master Class A19: A Bold Experiment in Learning and Leading, presented by Evergreen Community Charter School teachers Susan Gottfried and Carrie Pusey.

ELNC14 Pre-Conference Day 05: Creating Your Best Expedition

Expeditionary Learning Staff Writer, Dina Strasser shares the powerful impressions and useful takeaways from ELNC14 Pre-Conference Day Session 05: A Day in the Life of a Humanities-based Expedition.

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A Moment of Awe, ELNC14 Pre-Conference Day 01: Nurturing the Caterpillar

Expeditionary Learning Fund For Teachers Coordinator and School Designer, Sarah Boddy shares her reflection on ELNC14 Pre-Conference Day 01 Session: What Our Youngest Learners Long For, presented by EL School Designers Romey Pittman and Steven Levy, and special guest and author, Anna Rainville.

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The 'Secret Sauce' of Formative Assessment

This week, in the second part of a two-part blog series featured on Education Week's Classroom Q&A, Libby Woodfin, EL's Director of Publications, answers the question posed by Larry Ferlazzo "What are effective formative assessment techniques?"  

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The Courage to Be College-Bound

In this Education Week Learning Deeply blog post that appeared on November 6th, 2014, Deidre Cuffee-Gray, Guidance and Counseling Department Chair at EL Mentor School Springfield Renaissance School, and EL Director of Publications Libby Woodfin explore a number of ways in which high schools can instill the concepts of "college-bound" and "100% college acceptance as a standard" in students from day one. 

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