Other Cultivated Sets

Summer Course 2018: Architecture of Authentic and Relevant Learning - Meeting Materials

Course leader:

Teacher Quality Standards

  • QS I: Teachers demonstrate mastery of and pedagogical expertise in the content they teach.
    • Element A: Teachers provide instruction that is aligned with the Colorado Academic Standards and their district’s organized plan of instruction.
    • Element C: Teachers demonstrate knowledge of the content, central concepts, inquiry, appropriate evidence-based instructional practices, and specialized characteristics of the disciplines being taught.
  • 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.

The following set of resources were featured at the opening meetings on 6/18/18 and 6/19/19. 


Course syllabus for Architecture of Authentic and Relevant Learning. 

Summer SEED Course 2018 Authentic and Relevant Instruction Unit Criteria.

This article discusses how teachers might navigate the critical balance between standards and engaging in real-world activities.

This article describes the elements of "assessment architecture" that engages students in learning and thinking.

"Students who are engaged in their work are energized by four goals—success, curiosity, originality, and satisfying relationships. How do we cultivate these drives in the classroom?"

In this article, learn about some ways that a teacher might teach the standards authentically.

"Coming up with the driving question in project-based learning is often the hard part, so we’ve got some ideas to help you craft a great one."

This is a tool you might use to help develop a driving question for a project-based learning (or any) unit.

This article provides a structure and examples to support teachers as they create essential questions. 

This archived set of documents from CDE houses academic standards graphic organizers for content areas and specific grade levels.  

This webpage houses Colorado Academic Standards for content and grades.  

This unit plan template is provided by project-based learning experts, BIE: "This is a two-part planning form for a project. The Project Design: Overview summarizes the project's key features, and the Project Design: Student Learning Guide helps teachers plan scaffolding and formative assessment, aligned to standards and a project's final major products."

This resource provides guidance to teachers as they narrow down the focus of student learning, leading to deep understanding. 

In this book chapter, Moss and Brookhart describe how learning targets can and should be used to support student learning. Examples of misconceptions and practical strategies are shared.

This video highlights the shifts needed to move students from engagement to empowerment. 

In Hattie’s research on effective practices in education, he found that inquiry-based learning has a relatively small effect size. In this video, he discusses his ideas about why this might be the case.

This resource details three types of learning goals- acquisition, meaning, and transfer (A-M-T), all of which should be addressed in lesson design. 

This very brief video helps to differentiate between an “activity” and truly meaningful learning.


These questions are sorted into four categories (backward-looking, inward-looking, outward-looking, and forward-looking) and are designed to support students to reflect on a piece of work. These questions could also be used for teacher reflection. 


This protocol, based on the School Reform Initiative's Tuning protocol, is designed to support teachers to refine work based on feedback. 

Use the Colorado Department of Education's blank instructional unit plan template to help with your instructional planning. Select Instructional Unit Blank Template to access the editable document. 

This article gives some helpful tools and definitions to help us understand how to focus on central concepts in instruction. Scroll to the bottom to access a focused unit plan template.