An artist's table, covered with an organized but overwhelming collection on pencils, pens, markers, and so forth

Getting the Principles Just Right: Classroom Decoration

The benefits of classroom decoration seem intuitive. After all, we decorate our homes in order to make ourselves — and our guests — comfortable there. Little wonder that decorating a classroom feels like a natural way to welcome our students,

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Young students reading and concentrating

Getting the Details Just Right: “Pre-questions”

Teachers, of course, ask students questions. ALL THE TIME with the questions. We ask questions DURING a lesson in order to “check for understanding.” We encourage students to ask themselves questions AFTER class, because “retrieval practice” promotes learning. And, we

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Female student using pale blue highlighter in a book

Getting the Details Just Right: Highlighting

Because the school year starts right now, I’m using this month’s blog posts to give direct classroom guidance. Last week, I wrote about a meta-analysis showing that — yup — retrieval practice is awesome. Teachers should be aware of a few

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Student contentrating on taking notes and reading books in the library

Getting the Details Just Right: Retrieval Practice

As we gear up for the start of a new school year, we’re probably hearing two words over and over: retrieval practice. That is: students have two basic options when they go back over the facts, concepts, and procedures they’ve

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3 students working together on a math problem

Using “Worked Examples” in Mathematics Instruction: a New Meta-Analysis

Should teachers lets students figure out mathematical ideas and processes on their own? Or, should we walk students through those ideas/processes step by step? This debate rages hotly, from eX-Twitter to California teaching standards. As best I understand them, the

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A smiling young man wearing a jeans jacket, wool cap, and headphones sits at a desk and talks to a camera in front of him.

“Teaching” Helps Students Learn: New Research

Not even two months ago, I admitted my skepticism about a popular teaching technique. While I accept that “students teaching students” SOUNDS like a great idea, I nonetheless worry about the practical application of this idea: Understanding a new idea

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Man wearing Virtual Reality goggles, making gestures in the air

My Detective Adventure: “VR Will Transform Education” [Reposted]

Our blogger is off this week. He asked us to repost this piece, because he’ll be chatting with these researchers again soon!   A friend recently sent me a link to an article with a click-baity headline: something like “Virtual

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Learning Styles Vector

The Unexpected Problem with Learning Styles Theory [Reposted]

Our blogger will be taking the first two weeks of August off. This post generated plenty of conversation when he published it last October.   I recently read a much-liked Twitter post that said (I’m paraphrasing here): If you try

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Open Classroom Plans: The Effects on Reading

I’ve written frequently over the years about the effects of classroom decoration on learning. The headline is: althought many teachers have been trained to DECORATE, those decorations can distract students and thereby reduce learning. We’ve tested this question for students from

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Group of middle-school children working with electrical equipment and an ipad

Learning How to Learn: Optimists and Realists

In schools, optimism helps teachers a lot. At the beginning of the year, my students JUST DON’T KNOW all sorts of things: how to write a good essay; how to analyze Macbeth; how to define “gerund.” In all likelihood, your students don’t

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