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How Learning Works

How Learning Works
A Playbook

240 pages | Corwin

Translate the science of learning into strategies for maximum learning impact in your classroom.

The content, skills, and understandings students need to learn today are as diverse, complex, and multidimensional as the students in our classrooms. How can educators best create the learning experiences students need to truly learn?

How Learning Works: A Playbook unpacks the science of how students learn and translates that knowledge into promising principles or practices that can be implemented in the classroom or utilized by students on their own learning journey. Designed to help educators create learning experiences that better align with how learning works, each module in this playbook is grounded in research and features prompts, tools, practice exercises, and discussion strategies that help teachers to

  • Describe what is meant by learning in the local context of your classroom, including identifying any barriers to learning.
  • Adapt promising principles and practices to meet the specific needs of your students—particularly regarding motivation, attention, encoding, retrieval and practice, cognitive load and memory, productive struggle, and feedback.
  • Translate research on learning into learning strategies that accelerate learning and build students’ capacity to take ownership of their own learning—such as summarizing, spaced practice, interleaved practice, elaborate interrogation, and transfer strategies.
  • Generate and gather evidence of impact by engaging students in reciprocal teaching and effective feedback on learning.
Rich with resources that support the process of parlaying scientific findings into classroom practice, this playbook offers all the moves teachers need to design learning experiences that work for all students!
Part I: Discovery
Module 1: What does Learning look like in your classroom?
Module 2: What are different ways to think about learning?
Module 3: What are the barriers to learning?
Module 4: How do Students Learn?
Part II: Intervention
Module 5: Promising Principle #1 – Motivation
Module 6: Promising Principle #2: Practice, Deliberately
Module 7: Promising Principle #3 – Elaborate Encoding
Module 8: Promising Principle #4 – Retrieval and Practice
Module 9: Promising Principle #5 – Cognitive Load
Module 10: Promising Principle #6 – Productive Struggle
Module 11: Promising Principle #7 – Feedback
Part III: Implementation
Module 12: Explicit Strategy Instruction
Module 13: Learning Strategy #1: Goal Setting
Module 14: Learning Strategy #2: Integrating Prior Knowledge
Module 15: Learning Strategy #3: Summarizing
Module 16: Learning Strategy #4: Mapping
Module 17: Learning Strategy #5: Self-Testing
Module 18: Learning Strategy #6: Elaborative Interrogation
Part IV: Evaluation
Module 19: Generating and Gathering Evidence

Sample Materials & Chapters

Sample Pages

John Taylor Almarode

Dr. John Almarode has worked with schools, classrooms, and teachers all over the world.  John began his career teaching mathematics and science in Augusta County to a wide range of students.  Since then, he has presented locally, nationally, and internationally on the application of the science of learning to the classroom, school, and home environments.  He has worked with hundreds of school districts and thousands of teachers.  In addition to his time in PreK – 12 schools and classrooms, he is an Associate Professor and Executive Director of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education at James Madison University... More About Author

Douglas Fisher

Douglas Fisher, Ph.D., is Professor of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University and a teacher leader at Health Sciences High. Previously, Doug was an early intervention teacher and elementary school educator. He is the recipient of an International Reading Association William S. Grey citation of merit and an Exemplary Leader award from the Conference on English Leadership of NCTE. He has published numerous articles on teaching and learning as well as books such as The Teacher Clarity Playbook, PLC+, Visible Learning for Literacy, Comprehension: The Skill, Will, and Thrill of Reading, How Tutoring Works, and most recently, How... More About Author

Nancy Frey

Nancy Frey, Ph.D., is a Professor in Educational Leadership at San Diego State and a teacher leader at Health Sciences High and Middle College. She is a member of the International Literacy Association’s Literacy Research Panel. Her published titles include Visible Learning in Literacy, This Is Balanced Literacy, Removing Labels, and Rebound. Nancy is a credentialed special educator, reading specialist, and administrator in California and learns from teachers and students every day. More About Author

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