What does “Deep Learning” mean? One researcher looks for concrete examples…

Summary: Educational scholar Dr. Monica R. Martinez researched eight public schools to discover the most successful methods and theories for promoting deep learning in the classroom (Martinez, 2015). Building on the principle of interpersonal connection, Martinez argues that students need to have practice supporting their peers’ successes. In addition Martinez claims that making learning meaningful to students’ lives involves bridging the gulf between the classroom and the community. Educators and librarians can do this by connecting students with outside communities, professionals, and relevant learning spaces outside the walls of the school like non-profit organizations and civic institutions. 

Opinion: Martinez’s approach in visiting and recording what is going on in public schools is admirable! It is so easy to overlook the small successes and the meaningful learning experiences that are happening out there. Her article gives educators hope about effective learning taking place across the country. By focusing on the positive, Martinez is collecting pearls of wisdom from contemporary educators in the trenches. While none of the insights here are particularly “new” or “novel,” by focusing on concrete and real experiences of public education, Martinez is grounding important concepts in the dynamic of lived experience. After reading her article, I am even more excited to read her book.

Martinez. M.R. (2019). 6 Powerful Strategies for deeper learning in your classroom. (Teacher Thought). Retrieved from: https://www.teachthought.com/learning/6-powerful-strategies-deeper-learning-classroom/

Building Teamwork and Early Perseverance in Early Elementary Students with Breakout

Harris, Janet

Schwartz, K., Retrieved 1-24-19  from: https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/52723/building-                 teamwork-and-perseverance-in-early-elementary-students-with-breakouts



A  breakout was designed for a teacher who wanted her students to work together as a team. The breakout worked well to assist with this task by encouraging students to work collaboratively in a group to resolve a problem using communication skills.

According to the article, “the goal of a Breakout is for groups of students to work together to solve a series of puzzles. Each correct puzzle yields a part of the final code, which opens a locked box. If groups can complete all the puzzles and get the correct code in one hour, they successfully “breakout.” Sessions for younger students were done by rotating modules to work puzzles to earn a clue to figure out a problem.

Building upon the skills the students have can assist with confidence building. They assist to make students self-directed learners. This allows teachers to use the reset model. Review, evaluate resources seek a peer, enact the plan, try again.




Piloting the Learning Commons

DeLuca, Allison


Murray, E. (2015). Piloting the Learning Commons. Teacher Librarian, 43(1), 18–24. Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=110469425&site=ehost-live&scope=site


This article discusses using learning commons in the process of co teaching and collaboration between classroom teachers and teacher librarians. The article is told by a classroom teacher who works with the media specialist in her school in order to introduce her students to the learning commons and use it as a productive space for learning. The teacher realized the excitement that the children had when introduced to the learning commons and saw the potential for her students. The article emphasizes the importance of putting aside time for collaboration and the success that comes from collaborating with a media specialist in the school. The author gives details on her personal collaboration process with the librarian in order to give an idea on how to successfully collaborate in order to benefit students.


I feel as though this article is helpful for encouraging schools to transform library spaces into learning commons as well as encouraging classroom teachers to work towards collaboration with school librarians or media specialists. Collaboration is a key to success when it comes to the achievement of students. Also, the highlighting of the learning commons space was also a significant part of this article. Learning commons allow for students to be more creative and have more freedom when it comes to inquiry and learning. Current library spaces in schools have the potential to be transformed into learning commons in order to not only encourage student use, but to encourage collaboration between staff.

The Brain Science of Making

Lepine, Sierra.


McQuinn, Conn. (2018). “The Brain Science of Making.” School Library Journal. Retrieved from https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=brain-science-of-making

A 5 point argument on the benefits of making for learning, all through the lens of neuroscience.

I loved this article as a scientifically-based argument for making as an intrinsically powerful tool to enhance learning. Hard to argue with a list of reasons based in neurophysiology all indicating how making leads to better learning. I particularly enjoyed the homunculi pictures showing a visual representation of how important various parts of our body are to our brain, neurologically speaking – as a small spoiler, our hands are by far and away the possessors of most motor and sensory neurons, and therefore really quite significant to our brains!

For your consideration: An Outlier

Solomon, Samantha

Ullman, R. (2018). No, Teachers Shouldn’t Put Students in the Driver’s Seat. Teacher Teacher. Retrieved 26 September 2018, from https://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2018/09/05/no-teachers-shouldnt-put-students-in-the.html

Summary: This opinion piece is written by Richard Ullman, a 29 year veteran of teaching in public high schools. In the piece Ullman defends the practice of teachings using direct instruction to communicate complex skills and concepts to students. He feels that the pendulum has swung too far towards a pedagogy based on “equat[ing] cosmetic engagement with actual learning.” He argues that educational trends are dictated and propelled by people who are removed from actual classrooms, and that as a result, the current trends around game-based learning and student driven learning actually don’t improve student outcomes. He points out that “even though the classroom looks dynamic, students appear to be busy, and the right boxes get checked during classroom observations, achievement gaps don’t close.” Ullman argues that traditional, teacher-centered instruction does work, but that confirmation bias causes experts to ignore the merits of this style in favor of chasing educational fads.

Evaluation: It’s not that I agree with Ullman’s strong preference for teacher-centered instruction, but I do think it is important to acknowledge what people who might be out of this moment’s mainstream might be thinking. I absolutely feel that there is a place for more traditional, direct instruction in classrooms and school libraries, but I also think that it has to be blended with more engaging, student-centered techniques to fully resonate and connect with students and truly enhance their learning.

Harvard’s Project Zero

Galang, Johnny


Harvard Graduate School of Education (2018). Homepage. Retrieved from http://www.pz.harvard.edu/

Project Zero is a comprehensive website with many resources for curriculum development, assessment, and a wealth of other topics. There are free tools and education around topics such as essential questions, deep learning, and developing a culture of thinking.

It may be overwhelming to someone who is new to educational theory, but can provide useful tools to push your practice further.

How a moveable space can ignite creativity in the classroom mind shift

Lopez, Carrie


Pfau, P. (2014, November 26). How a moveable space can ignite creativity in the classroom mind shift [Web log post] Retrieved from http://www.blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/11/how-a-moveable-space-can-ignite-creativity-in-the-classroom/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign= Feed%3A+kqed%2FnHAK+%28mindshift%29

Article with cool suggestions for creating a moveable space environment in a classroom or library, plausible ideas, too! A really cool way to re-look at classrooms and other learning spaces to make them more welcoming and flexible for different teaching and learning needs.

SAMR – 8 Cool Tools You May Have Missed at ISTE 2017

MaryLee Helm


Common Sense Media. (2017). 8 Cool Tools You May Have Missed at ISTE 2017. Retrieved from https://www.commonsense.org/education/blog/8-cool-tools-you-may-have-missed-at-iste-2017?utm_source=Edu_Newsletter_2017_07_04&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly

The tools shared in this article move the learner on the SAMR model to Redefinition as they allow for learning to be student-centered and tasks to be completed in new ways. Students get to think outside of the box and have a tool in which to share their learning with others.

I was not able to attend the conference, but am always looking for emerging technologies that can be utilized in the library. This article offers a list of programs to start “playing” and possibly, introduce in a co-teaching lesson or through a genius hour period.

An Example of Co-Teaching

Mary Fobbs-Guillory


Ainsworth, L. (2016). Teacher and teacher librarian collaborative inquiry. Teacher Librarian, 44(2), pp. 28-31.

This article gives a detailed account of a co-teaching experience between a 5th grade teacher and a teacher librarian in Canada.  The class was studying Inuit culture and the skill of questioning.  The article documents the process of the professionals planning the lesson together and then teaching the class in two groups.  This method is also called Station teaching because the students rotate from being taught by one professional to the next.  The teacher librarian created a short video on challenging vocabulary for students to view ahead of time and posted it to the class blog.  The teachers taught how to ask questions and provided them with question builder frames and rubrics.  They read books, facilitated discussions, and provided artifacts and art prints from the local museum for the students to analyze and develop questions about.

This article gave a very detailed account of the lesson, I felt as though I watched it.  It gave me a full picture of what co-teaching looks like and how fun and powerful it can be.