Teacher Learning Community

Fall 2017 TLC: High Expectations and the Thinking Classroom

Course leader:

Teacher Quality Standards

  • QS III: Teachers plan and deliver effective instruction and create an environment that facilitates learning for their students.
    • Element D: Teachers establish and communicate high expectations and use processes to support the development of critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • QS I: Teachers demonstrate mastery of and pedagogical expertise in the content they teach.
    • Element C: Teachers demonstrate knowledge of the content, central concepts, inquiry, appropriate evidence-based instructional practices, and specialized characteristics of the disciplines being taught.

This set contains all the resources for the fall 2017 TLC High Expectations and the Thinking Classroom.


Imagining the Ideal - Setting a Focus

Guiding Question: What does a classroom culture of high expectations look and feel like?  What things might I need to consider to make such a culture reality for my students?

The purpose of this activity is to reflect on the critical elements of the face-to-face day as you consider how to intentionally create a culture of high expectations in your classroom.  Through this activity you will imagine what your ideal might look and feel like and set a focus for your work in this course in order to bring those ideas to reality. Additionally this activity is meant to help you become familiar with the schoology platform and course expectations.


Creating a Culture of High Expectations for Learning

What are the conditions which must be met in order to create a classroom culture that embodies high expectations for thinking and learning?

A classroom culture of high expectations for learning and thinking demand a number of conditions which must be met which include a supporting classroom culture, an understanding of rigor, cultivation of a growth mindset and a focus on cognitive engagement.  In this activity you will explore what an environment in which these conditions are developing looks and feels like and explore ways that you can enrich your classroom culture and routines to better support student learning and thinking.


Engaging Students in Deeper Learning

In this activity you will explore the ways teachers can intentionally plan for instruction so that students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills related to what they are learning.  The resources will focus on ways teachers can prompt students to construct knowledge and create new meaning in their learning.


Teaching for Transfer

Teaching for transfer means that we design instruction with the intention that we are helping support students to apply their learning in new contexts and new content areas. Within this activity, we will explore what transfer is, how we can teach for transfer, and how the Common Core shifted expectations of how students will apply their learning.

Students Directing Their Own Learning

How do you balance the ideas of “letting go” and allowing students to be self-directed learners who own their own thinking and learning while holding them to high expectations and mastery of standards and learning targets?  In this activity you will explore the idea of handing the thinking over to students, by encouraging students to generate their own questions and direct their learning in a supportive classroom environment.