Examples of what could Happen in a Learning Cycle Lesson


Positive Teacher actions:

1. Focuses students attention

a) Uses manipulatives

(1) "Move the red block over by the yellow block."
(2) "What would the design look like if you rotated that block 90 degrees?"

b) Asks questions

(1) "What do you think of Marie’s ideas?"
(2) "What would happen if you tried five?"

c) Makes statements

(1) "Try the same problem with dinosaurs."
(2) "Turn the battery upside down."
(3) "Show me what you have done."
(4) "Explain what you are doing."
(5) "Talk to me."

2. Monitors students’ progress

a) Cruises the room (actively moves about the room looking for "the action").
b) Listens to students

3. Facilitates students' learning

(a) Encourages student manipulation of materials

(1) "Mary use these."
(2) "Can you show me with the bears?"

(b) Encourages student communication about the manipulation of materials, discussion of concepts, problems, processes, or models

(1) "Alex, show Jan how you worked your problem."
(2) "Kim, use Chris’s dinosaurs and solve your problem."
(3) "The turtle group share your solution with the tiger group".

(c) Asks questions to focus student learning

(1) "What did you do?"
(2) "Why did you move the red cube here?"
(3) "Why did you do that?"
(4) "What do you know?"
(5) "What would you like to know?"

(d) Ask questions to facilitate the students collection of data

(1) "How many are in the circle?"
(2) "How many more do you have than Chris?"

(e) Ask questions to encourage higher order thinking skills

(1) "How is the way you worked the problem different than the way Kim did?"
(2) "Which way do you like best?"

(f) Use wait-time (three to five seconds) and halt time (10 + seconds).

(1) "Deedra, what do you think?"

Neutral Teacher Actions:

1. Motivational statements

a) "Today we are going to play the cave game."
b) "You can do this."

2. Directions

a) "Each group should have five red squares and three bears."
b) "I want the red group over at the circular table."
c) "Put three bears in the red circle and two bears in the yellow circle."

3. Initial demonstrations on how to manipulate, NOT how to get answer.

Negative Teacher actions:

1. Tells students the "correct answer"

a) "No, the answer is five."

2. Explains the concept

a) "You move this group over here and that’s addition."
b) "When you take this part from this group you subtract."

3. Tells the concept

a) "Today we are going to see what addition is."
b) "You add all the problems on page 70 and subtract all the problems on page 71."

4. Tells the conclusion

a) "You should see that the amount in both containers is the same volume."
b) "You should all have the minute hand back at the 12."

5. Introduces the concept with numerals, number statements, equations, or algorithms

a) "Everyone write the number four."
b) "Put a plus sign beside the three."

6. Solves the problem

a) "Three take away two is one."
b) "Five times five is twenty-five."

7. Insists on one answer or only one method for solving problems "You have to put the big number on the top."

a) "You can’t subtract five from three."

8. Tells students to do their own work

a) "Kim keep your eyes on your own paper."
b) "Chris keep your hands to your self."

9. Tells student they are wrong

a) "No, your answer is wrong."
b) "What’s the matter with you we just did these before recess."

10. Leads students step by step

a) "Put the four here, then put the three below it, and draw a line, now use your touch points to count from three to seven, and write the seven below the line."

Positive Student actions:

1. Manipulates objects

2. Records data

a) Mental memories
b) Pictures
c) Number sentences
d) Equations
e) Diagrams
f) Maps

3. Asks questions

a) "What if I do this?"
b) "Can we try this?"

4. Makes predictions

a) "I think it will be the same if we use shells."
b) "I think it will be the same no matter what we use."

5. Tests predictions

6. Generates alternatives

a) "Five grouped with three is the same as four grouped with four."

7. Open-minded

a) "Lets try it."
b) "I don’t think so but try it."

Neutral Student actions:

1. Questions

a) "What do we do?"
b) "Like this?"
c) "Should we ..."

2. Statements that have neither a positive or negative effect

a) "It’s green."
b) "Chris has the purple cow."

Negative Student actions:

1. Tells answers

a) "Pssst! Lin, the answer is five."
b) "Move that over there and you have it."

2. Does not manipulate objects

3. Manipulates objects without direction

4. Sits and watches the teacher do problems

5. Work individually with little student interaction

6. Stop after one solution


Positive Teacher actions:

1. Has students share data with a group

a) "What data did you collect?"
b) "How did you do the problem?"
c) "What evidence do you have?"

2. Has students organize group or groups data

a) "All the students that have five stand in line here."
b) "Everyone write their data on the board."

3. Has students draw pictures, diagrams, charts, graphs to share their data with a group or to organize group data

a) "Group one, draw your picture on the board."
b) "Jo, walk around with your picture so all can see it."

4. Teacher provides vocabulary for concepts or processes

a) "A word to describe what we have learned is ..." (Writes the word on the overhead)

5. Teacher has a student or group of students demonstrate what they discovered during their exploration

a) "Maria, use the rods to show what you mean."
b) "Alex’s group, show us what you did."

6. Actively solicits and uses students’ ideas

a) "Jan says that..."
b) "Use Brent’s idea, then Marty’s, and go from there."

7. Relates concepts, processes, and models to students’ experiences "How many of you go to the store?"

a) "How can you use these ideas to make change?"

8. Seeks alternative solutions and explanations from students

a) "Who can do it another way?"
b) "Mark thought of this way. Will it work?"

9. Encourages students to express attitudes

a) "What do you think?"
b) "Which way do you like best?"

10. Monitors the discussion

11. Uses wait-time and halt-time

12. Has students express themselves in their own words

13. Has students use concepts, vocabulary, processes or algorithms in different situations

a) "Shana say that again only use the word that we have on the board."
b) "Who can use the words on the board to describe what we have done today."

14. Extends the concept

a) "What other problems can we solve the same way?"
b) "How else can we use this idea?"

15. Make predictions

16. Make and use models


Neutral Teacher actions:

1. Any behavioral interventions

2. Any classroom management interventions

Negative Teacher actions:

1. Accepts explanation without reason

2. Accepts explanation without relating it to student collected data

3. Has no concept in mind

4. Does not ask student for explanations

5. Introduces unrelated concepts or skills

6. Does not listen to alternative strategies

7. Provides definitive answers

8. Lectures

9. Leads student step by step to a solution

10. Explains how to work the problem

11. Provides an algorithm or memorized answer

12. Quiz or tests only for algorithm, vocabulary, and/or facts

13. Fails to have students use new vocabulary or state concepts, process, or models in their own words.

Student actions:

1. Explain the data they have collected from the exploration

a) "We took four cows and put them here and then took two dogs and ....

2. Ask questions about data

a) "How did you get four?"
b) "Why did you do that?"

3. Express attitudes

a) "I like the way Tina’s group did theirs."
b) "Yes!"

4. Use a process

5. Offer suggestions

a) "Why don’t you ..."

6. Use newly invented vocabulary to describe the exploration, invention, or possible application.

7. Demonstrate how they obtained data

8. Demonstrate process or algorithm

9. Extend the concep


Student actions:

1. Use their learning or their group’s learning and set goals


Student actions:

1. Memorize facts, vocabulary, or algorithm without understanding

Expansion - Discovery - Application

Positive Teacher actions:

1. Creates learning environments that will allow the student to:

2. Explore with the invented concept, process, or model in a different setting or situation

3. Solve different problems with the invented process, or model

4. Use the concept, process, or model to increase its complexity

5. Use the concept, process, or model to generate new concepts, processes, or models.



Neutral Teacher actions:

1. Reviews the previous days concepts, processes, or model

2. Tests the previous days concepts, processes, or model

Negative Teacher actions:

1. Does not refer or build on the previous days work

2. Moves on to another unrelated topic in which the vocabulary, concepts, processes, or model can not likely be used or have an effect

3. Moves to another topic in which using the previous days vocabulary, concept, process, or model would have a negative effect if the students tried to transfer it

Student actions:

1. Explores with a previously invented concept, process, or model in a different setting or situation

2. Solves different problems using a previously invented process, or model

3. Uses a previously invented concept, process, or model and increases its complexity

4. Use a previously invented concept, process, or model and generates new concepts, processes, or models.



Student actions:



Student actions:

1. Do not use the vocabulary, concept, process, or model outside of school or in school

Dr. Robert Sweetland's Notes ©