Room 241: A Blog by
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Curriculum and Instruction

Students working on a writing assignment

How many five-paragraph essays do students write in their school career? A lot. How many standardized tests require an essay? Most of them. How many essays will students need to write after college? Eh, probably not that many. Essays have their function, but they’re certainly not the only academically rigorous form of writing, nor are… Read More

How to Encourage Student Self-Efficacy

By Jennifer Gunn January 7, 2019

A confident classroom is a successful classroom. How do you build a culture of academic excellence in classrooms that promote student accountability, confidence, and success? By encouraging a growth mindset for all learners, finding ways to boost their confidence and their sense of academic potential. Here’s a look at a few ways to cultivate student… Read More

Using Learning Stations in Middle School

By Sarah Knutson December 20, 2018

Teaching via stations or learning centers feels familiar to elementary school teachers, but offering them in middle school may not feel entirely comfortable at first glance. I used to occasionally utilize stations to cover specific content very quickly but after I heard Catlin Tucker speak at a professional development seminar, I realized the potential impact I could… Read More

When is Differentiation Detrimental?

By Jennifer Gunn December 13, 2018

Educators have gotten very good at building scaffolds for student learning, but are we going too far? Are we underestimating our students’ ability to struggle and then succeed? When is it time to step back? Should every assignment have scaffolds? Let’s explore if and when differentiation and scaffolding should take a backseat to healthy learning… Read More

Winter-Themed STEAM Activities

By Jennifer Gunn December 8, 2018

Brighten up the dark and chilly days of winter with some hands-on tinkering, experimenting, and creating — in the classroom or at home. Check out these totally doable STEAM projects that put winter weather and winter challenges to the test so that students are inspired to collaborate and think critically and creatively during the winter… Read More

I recently explained my strategies for structuring a class so that students would have a sense of its direction and purpose. In this entry, I will focus on how to fill class time with learning activities designed specifically for adults by using a personal example. Background on adult learners Before discussing ways to keep adults… Read More

Developing a STEAM-Enhanced Curriculum: Concordia Course Spotlight

By The Room 241 Team November 2, 2018

Whether you’re new to the STEAM movement or you already enjoy teaching STEAM lessons and projects, Concordia’s MEd in Curriculum & Instruction: STEAM may offer the type of advancement you seek. It’s a great way to take your professional development to the next level. This program offers courses like EDCI 563 “From Theory to Practice:… Read More

Most teachers have, at some point, looked out over their class and noticed that, despite their best efforts, the students seemed disengaged. No matter at what level of the curriculum you teach, holding your students’ attention can be one the most difficult aspect of instruction, especially in today’s media-permeated classrooms. Keeping adult learners interested can… Read More

Expanding STEM To Underrepresented Communities

By Jennifer Gunn October 24, 2018

STEM occupations continue to seriously lack minority representation, and therefore STEM programs are needed more than ever in schools that serve minority and low-income populations. As the nation moves toward a greater emphasis on STEM learning and prepares students for a more technological future, it’s time for a tectonic shift, expanding STEM learning opportunities to all students…. Read More

A Framework for Teaching Tomorrow’s Innovators Today

By Jennifer Gunn October 22, 2018

It’s said that today’s teachers are educating students for a job market that doesn’t yet exist. Foundational skills are still important, but how should this generation’s educators teach tomorrow’s workers and innovators? 21st-century learning is at the heart of a movement preparing students to work in a very different world. But the concept of 21st-century… Read More

Full STEAM Ahead! Teacher-Approved Strategies

By The Room 241 Team October 16, 2018

STEM has been a priority in many U.S. schools for at least a decade but, in the past few years, education experts have noticed that something was missing — that future scientists and engineers also need soft skills like creativity, collaboration, and communication to solve problems. “We realized that language arts, social studies, and visual… Read More

Schools across the nation are doing some amazing interdisciplinary project-based learning. There are tons of impactful ways to meld skills and content-areas together in unique pairings. Novels in math class? Experiments in English? Poems in history? Why not? Who says that subjects have to stay separate? Here are some fun ways to mix it up… Read More

Your Guide to Education Lingo

By The Room 241 Team August 24, 2018

Educational terminology can be overwhelming with so many acronyms and buzzwords to remember. So we’ve created a must-know list of education lingo for your reference. 1:1: One laptop or device for each student in a class or school. For more on this, check out 8 Strategies to Manage the 21st Century Classroom. 21st Century Skills:… Read More

Using Agriculture to Teach STEAM

By Julia Recko July 26, 2018

How often do you or your students think about agriculture? Where your food comes from? How it grows? Who grows it? What decisions go into how it is grown? Maybe you think about it a lot. But maybe your answer is closer to never. Well, if you are a STEAM educator you are missing out… Read More

Why Grit is NOT the Magic Answer

By Jennifer Gunn July 24, 2018

Pull yourself up by your bootstraps! If we teach kids to be gritty, there’s nothing they can’t do! Hard work and determination is all you need! If I can do it, so can you! But wait, all of this motivational rhetoric assumes a level, unbiased playing field. It assumes everyone is beginning at the same… Read More