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Information for educators or anyone wanting to teach


Pedagogy. The art & science of teaching - how knowledge & skills are learned and taught in an educational setting (instruction).

Curriculum. All the planned and unplanned experiences students experience in school and out.

Outstanding educators and teachers use a variety of ideas and tools to continually strive to become a valued professional educators. The depth and quality of their ideas and tools they use vary depending on their experiences. Below are categories with links to ideas and tools for reflection and development.

Outstanding educators:

Ideas and skills to develop curriculum and the ability to implement it - pedagogy (learning, teaching, instruction) has infinite possibilities. Therefore, it is impossible to identify specific actions for any possible situation. That makes it necessary for educators to have sufficient knowledge, skills, and dispositions to make good decisions. Knowledge in all of the areas above to plan and implement all curricular decisions.

Curricular and pedagogical decisions are influenced by many variables, which educators consider together to make thousands of decisions everyday. While communication and presentation of ideas is a linear progression, the order of selection of information can be made in many different ways. However, many if not all of the categories identified above must be considered to make the best decisions to facilitate optimal learning.

Let's start with a review of the purposes of education and overview of curriculum.

Purposes of education & educational philosophy

An initial step in curriculum review and development is to establish a general agreement on the purposes of education. Information to assist in this process include:


Curriculum. All the planned and unplanned experiences students experience in school and out of school.

Each student's education includes all of their experiences, which is important when considering how to assist them to achieve their educational goals. However, when planning and implementing curriculum it is necessary at times to focus on spefictic ideas and context areas. This results in a variety of documents, personal and public to communicate with your self, fellow educators, others interested in education, learners to facilitate their learning, adminsitrators, and public stake holders who are curious or desire educational information.

Documents include, but are not limited to: theories, mission statements, philosophies, principled procedures, action plans, standards, maps, webs, models, frameworks, instructional procedures, syntax, lesson plans, units, year plans, multigrade curriculums, and assessment plans.

Organized with different scopes, durations, grade levels, and information to learn.

First, a big picture of curriculum, then different areas of focus.

Big picture resources for elements of curriculum & development

Educational theories, models, & research

Learning & human development

Other theories, models, & research


Pedagogy. The art & science of teaching - how knowledge & skills are learned and taught in an educational setting (instruction).

Instructional theories, methods, or models

Instructional theory is the heart of pedagogy. It is how educators create an atmosphere to facilitate a variety of intended learnings with instructional methods, procedures, syntaxes, strategies, and different ways of assessment.

An fundamental instructional theory is presented, followed by three traditional instructional theories.

Planning is the process of considering and choosing information to use to meet the needs of the learners.

Planning pedagogy (instruction for teaching & learning)

Plan is a strategy for doing or achieving something.

In education, planning is the strategies to achieve the purposes of education.

Purposes of education

  • Purposes are identified and communicated with ourselves, as memory devices, and with fellow educators, others interested in education, learners to facilitate their learning, adminsitrators, and stake holders who are curious.
  • They are communicated in a variety of ways. With goals, objectives, aims, and outcomes. Documented as beliefs, purposes, standards, mission statements for schools and other educational documents.

Strategies to achieve an education

  • Strategies that select educational purposes (goals), from these documents and memories, to consider and select content and skills for students to learn to achieve the purposes of education. Learnings, which are combined and packaged as contextual areas, topics, subjects, dimensions of learning, literacy, skill, standards, outcomes, ...
  • Strategies that take the selected contextual areas, for the purposes of education, and unpack them to identify all information and skill necessary to know; and create instructional experiences, procedures, and instructional methods to create learning enviroments to achieve the purposes of education.

To summarize planning unpacks what is to be achieved and combines it with strategies to achieve it:

  • Purposes of education - as goals, beliefs, philosophies, rationale, mission statements, action plans, principled procedures, ... for both holistically for overall education and for specific areas used to develop all educational contexts.
  • Consideration of learners - development, background, culture, interests, motivation, needs (Maslow), ...
  • Intended learnings - content identified by its relationships in contextual areas (time, relationships, symbolic, global, subjects, disciplines, content areas, ...) and how it is represented as perceptions, facts, observations, inferences, properties, concepts, relationships, generalizations, skills, ...
  • Instruction to facilitate learning (teach) - learning opportunities, activities, sequences, procedures, methods, strategies, ...
  • Classroom environment and atmosphere - created with the interactions of all of these elements of planning.
  • Assessment - method, times, outcomes, levels, ...

More related information on how to include these in planning.

Unpacking to identify strategies to achieve the purposes of education

Unpacking intended learnings (contextual areas, subjects, topics, focus questions,...) to identify facts. concept,
generalizations, and their relationships

Unpacking intended learnings (contextual areas, subjects, topics, focus questions, ideas ...) to understand the facts concepts, generalizations, and relationships necessary to understanding them starts with referencing our understanding, other documents, standards, curriculums, text books, research articles, maps, and other resources to gathering information and organize it according to learners needs to facilitate learning.

Information, which can be displayed in maps, webs, diagrams, lists, tables, charts, matrices, frameworks, outlines, naratives, ... to use to plan strategies to achieve the purposes of education.

Maps, webs, and charts that focus on intended learnings

Webs and maps are nonlinear visual tools to organize information. Below is a map of map uses and examples of their use for planning, teaching, and instructional tools.

Intended learnings as concepts

map definition image

  • Animals - map structure to unpack properties and needs for animals
  • Juice - chart with characteristics, examplers, & non examplers
  • Colors - web to unpack colors, representative objects, & associated ideas
  • Rock cycle map - unpacked content necessary for the rock cycle
  • Survival - map with seven conditions for survival, no details or examples
  • Interactions - observation, interactions, change, chart ready to use
  • Compare and contrast - web for nickel & dime, mostly completed
  • Compare and contrast - web blank
  • Concept chart - to examine concepts features, none features, examples & related concepts - blank
  • Frayer Model - explanation, three samples, uses definition, facts & characteristics, examples, non examples, words, & pictures. Use to find the level of concept mastery

Planning that combines contextual areas

Planning that combines contextual areas & educational strategies

  • BLANK planning map with categories for - Focus area or topic, focus question, relationships & concepts, perceptual responses, observations, properties, transformations, tasks & activities, assessment levels, real world value, classroom atmosphere, & instructional assessment
  • Frameworks for planning learning experiences - includes instructional methods or models for a learning cycle, cooperative learning, directed instruction & the common knowledge construction model. These procedures are connected to elements for intended learnings, dvelopment, & assessment.

Planning that combines contextual areas across age levels

Planning learning environments

To plan learning environments is to connect intended learnings, instructional methods, instructional experiences, & educational strategies to create a positive atmosphere for learning. Starting with basic information outlined in planning and pedagogy. Let's connect the kinds of documents typical for each of the areas so we can quickly and efficiently deal with large amounts of information and their relationships to plan and teach.

To create instructional strategies and implement them, consider the following information and how they are organized ...

Planning outlines

The following outlines sugges how these common elements can be included in short and longer term plans.

Creating instructional plans for strategies to achieve educational purposes

When educators feel they have gathered enough information, then they begin to document that information, by inserting it into their selected outline, framework, or in a blank document. Here are different examples.

Sample Plans

Four lesson plans: two in a linear outline & the same two in a table format both probability for one die and the sum of two dice. Then both are included in a probability unit with four additional activities.

Historical introductory light bulb activity for the learning cycle.
Information includes:

  • Introductory narrative
  • Video of instruction in a fifth grade classroom
  • Table with an analysis of the different phases of learning cycles (Karplus Their, 4 E, 5E learning cycle, and the Common Knowledge Construction Model) inclusion in the activity.
  • Intended learnings, unpacking of concepts, mapping of concepts, information to facilitate understanding of electric circuits and the use of scientific models to explain & predict.
  • Instructional procedures that use a learning cycle methodology & related information for learners to facilitate their learning with the introductory activity & additional activities to see how each activity can provide learned information that will connect to the next activity to increase understandings of electrical circuits and how science helps us understand the world.

Walk through of lesson planning or teaching with educator's mental thoughts and reflections.

Plans have strengths and weakness, which can be assessed with a check list of quality attributes for lesson plans.

Planning sequences
Units or packets by the amounts of Integration

Traditional curriculum is organized by subjects or discipines. Examples below are grouped into four different kinds and amounts of integration.

  1. No integration. Planning for only the knowledge content of a subject, discipline, or other topic. Focus is on one idea.
  2. Subject integration. Curriculum or lesson sequences focus on subjects or disciplines. However, they are defined with multiple dimensions and planning integrates these different dimensions. Subject with dimension integration or integration within one subect.
    • Air Sequence - grade range 2-5 physical science dimension plan with integration of other science dimensions, learning cycle (exploration, invention, expansion)
    • Reading and Writing Numbers with Numerals and Words - middle level+ math dimension number systems, focused on place value, patterns, & number communication. Learning cycle with some directed instruction.
    • Rounding Numbers - grade 4+ dimensions measurement of body parts, proportion, number value rounding with activity descriptions.
    • Mixing 4 different colored water solutions - grade 4+ dimensions processes science observation & inquiry. Discussion questions include questions for both.
  3. Integration of different subjects, which may include dimensions for each of the included subjects or not - subjects integration with or without integration of dimensions,
  4. Contextual integration of four context areas & school goals, more real life integration or integrated studies. Example - Perspectus for Real Integration school and how to plan units of study based on a big idea or theme around four world contexts and school goals.

Assessment & evaluation

Cartoon testing animals

Assessment and evaluation can be embedded in planning and instruction without being labeled. However, it is helpful when it is not only identified, but four general types are considered and included. Details follow:

Professional development documents & strategies to

Educators develop professionally by reflecting and assessing on what they currently know to develop better ways to facilitate learning. They rely on personal reflections, colleagues, administrators, and professional organizations for suggestions to identify areas for possible change and support to assist implementing changes. Alone and together they use research and wisdom of practice to inform their decision making process. A process which challenges their current knowledge base, with new ideas. New ideas, which are analyzed and synthesized to suggest solutions. Solutions, which often change their philosophies, theories, methods, pedagogical understandings, and practices to implement change.

As you reflect, consider there are three basic ways to improve learning: increase the level of intended learnings, change the role of the learners, and increase the knowledge and skill of the educator.

A process to explain a professional framework, knowledge base, and their development follows.

Freedom Writers

Movie Image

... on the recommendation of my granddaughter, I saw Freedom Writers.

I was very glad I did. It is one of the best films I have seen. The film presents the struggles of teaching and the life of a teacher. The passion, desire, and commitment needed to determine and provide what students need for them to develop to the point of empowerment, as well as the persistence and determination to overcome barriers to provide it. While fear and hate are the major barriers depicted in this film, barriers of traditional schooling and public misconceptions of what it means to be educated and how to achieve it are just as great of barriers to be overcome for students to achieve a quality education. Find the time to see this film with a loved one. It has life long empowering possibilities.

The Freedom Writer's movie trailer

Freedom Writer's foundation & resources ...

Demonstration Activities to teach, discuss, and understand a Constructivist learning theory: Piagetian based

A Pretest to challenge and focus on how children and adolescents develop based on a constructivist learning theory.

The following activities provide experiences to demonstrate how people learn and how their learning can be explained by a learning theory in conjunction with instrutional methodologies and strategies.

  • Start with a demonstration, like in the video above, using a pencil to pierce a plastic sandwich bag mostly filled with water. Information in science lesson format. Students will want to first discuss the physics of what happened. Do so and then turn the discussion to how it relates to learning and a learning learning theory.
  • Can follow-up with another piercing this time of a balloon semi-filled with air with a bamboo skewer or sharpened knitting needle. Again discuss how it relates to learing and a learning theory.
  • Follow the learning theory discussion with a discussion of how to provide learning experiences for learners that will take advantage of the theory. To be effective, educational strategies generally and an instructional model more specifically needs to do this. Start with a review of a general instructional method and then a learning cycle methodology.
  • After reviewing these instructional methods decide on a personal model.
  • Using your personal model, explore different ways to insert different syntax and strategies as might be necessary to meet the different needs of diverse learners.

A solid understanding of a constructivist learning theory and how to use it to make decisions based on the needs of your learners is critical for their development and depth of learning.

While the learning cycle is applicable for all ages, the different ways learners understand becomes more logical as they mature. However, while all learners advance in their ways of thinking as they mature from young children, adolescents, and adults. Not all learners advance at the same rates or to the highest levels of formal operational thinking in all areas.

A variety of tasks can be used to explore these different ways of thinking. See the activities and tasks for development of intellectual thinking - tasks to use with learners across all ages. Includes directions, materials, and variety of responses with explanations.

The Garduckal challenge will let you explore and discuss how a learning theory can explain the desire (motivaton), search, and use of associations to find a solution as a person solves a problem or challenge.

The next set of activites present puzzles or probems which have been historically used to study the devlopment of understanding of propositional logic, correlation, probability, and proportionality. For which the understanding of each can be represented as: pre-operational, concrete operational, and formal operational levels.

The activities are presented along with representative data

to illustrate a comprehensive analysis of the thinking learners use to attempt to solve and to solve problems these types of problems.

A comprehensive review of many of these studies can be found in the book A Love of Discovery annotated in the sidebar on the right.

Questions to help understand a learning theory and how to use it to make teaching decisions

  • What is the difference between how children learn, how children construct knowledge, and what a learning theory explains?
  • How do assimilation, disequilibration, cognitive dissonance, equilibration, accommodation, ZPG (zone of proximal development), and developmentally appropriate fit in a learning theory?
  • What variables affect learning?
  • How do learning styles fit a learning theory?
  • Describe your interpretation of the statement: All people learn differently.
  • How should instructional theories or models fit with a learning theory?

Using developmental ideas to adapt activities for students

Miscellaneous brain related topics

Real world application

  • Parent, "How do you faciliate your student's learning?"
  • Principal, "Tell me how you believe children learn?"
  • Principal, "If I walk into your classroom what will I see?"
  • Principal, "Describe how teachers can use a theory on how children learn and incorporate it into their classroom instruction.
  • Principal, "Tell me how you will teach so children can learn?




Education in Madrawar, Afghanistan. 2006.

Late one February night, more than a dozen masked gun carrying Taliban burst into the 10-room girls' school in Nooria's village, Madrawar about 100 miles east of Kabul. They tied up and beat the night watchman, soaked the principal's office and the library with gasoline, set it on fire and escaped into the darkness.

The townspeople, who doused the blaze before it could spread, later found written messages from the gunmen promising to cut off the nose and ears of any teacher or student who dared to return.

The threats didn't work. Within days, most of the school's 650 pupils were back to their studies. Classes were held under a grove of trees in the courtyard for several weeks, despite the winter chill, until repairs inside the one-story structure were complete. Nearby schools replaced some of the library's books.

But the hate mail kept coming, with threats to shave the teacher's heads as well as mutilate their faces.

When, NEWSWEEK visited and talked to students and faculty on the last day of classes. Nooria, who dreams of becoming a teacher herself, expressed her determination to finish school.

"I'm not afraid of getting my nose and ears cut off," she said, all dressed up in a long purple dress and head scarf.

"I want to keep studying."
Newsweek June 26, 2006


A Love of Discovery: Science Education-The Second Career of Robert Karplus. Edited by Robert Fuller 2002.

book cover

Robert Fuller, compiled a collection of documents along with a narraton that describes the positive impacts Robert Karplus had on science in elementary schools in the closing years of the twentieth century. Information that continues to shape elementary science education in positive ways.

Robert Karplus was a physicist who was asked to teach a science lesson in an elementary classroom. Inspired by how difficult it was to teach children, he began to research how to teach elementary students. He discovered Piaget's constructivist learning theory and discovered it helped to frame how student's learn, how they reasoned, how learning is comparable to doing science, and how these ideas could inform instruction. His background, as a physicist, helped him to research and understand how to apply new ideas through a process of curriculum development to implement continuous change. He demonstrate how a curriculum could be created and implemented in a manner which could be used that was developmentally appropriate, research based, facilitated science literacy along with a love of discovery, and develop reasoning and logic necessary to become critically thinking citizens. A very inciteful, interesting, and enjoyable book that can inform all science educators.



Middle & High School
Starting time

The American Academy of Pediatrics & Centers for Disease Control recommend classes should start at 8:30 a.m. of later.


Albert Einstein said,

"It is a grave error to suppose that the joy of seeing and seeking can be furthered by compulsion or sense of duty."



Legacy Piaget

Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development. editions 1-5 2003.
Barry J. Wadsworth

book cover

Classic book on cognitive & affective development. A must read for anyone serious in wanting to understanding learning and how intelligence, logic, and thinking develops cognitively and affectively.


Piaget for the Classroom Teacher. 1973.

Barry J. Wadsworth

Book cover Piaget for the Classroom Teacher

Includes examples of how to use Piaget's learning theory and ideas on cognitive & affective development in the classroom. Source for many of the tasks to explore student development of reasoning, conservation, & logic.


Chidren and Adolescents: Interpretive Essays on Jean Piaget. 1974.
David Elkind

Cover Children and Adolescents


A Piaget Primer: How a Child Thinks. Revised edition. 1996.
Dorthy G. Singer & Tracey A. Revenson.

Cover A Piaget Primer