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Aurora Institute

Tips for Teachers

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Chris Sturgis

Issue(s): Issues in Practice, Learn Lessons from the Field

Photo by Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

Courtney Belolan, Instructional Coach at RSU #2 in Maine, is a frequent writer about the practices teachers can use in the classroom to personalize, motivate, and engage students. She writes from her teacher background for teachers. Her weekly tips focus in on one practice, one challenge, or one question at a time. She’s covered a lot of ground over the years, and I thought it might be helpful for teachers if they could access them more easily.


Target Practice

Dancing Out Front

Be Reasonable!

Application of Learning: It Doesn’t Have To Be An Outhouse

Exceeding Is More Complicated Than Adding Glitter and Flash

Testing Myths

Understanding Formative Assessment Using the Teaching and Learning Möbius Strip


Pre-Assessment: A Key to the ZPD

A Learning Progression To Support Teachers

Creating a Classroom Parking Lot

Giving Students the Map


Step 1: Separate The Baby From the Bathwater

Step Two: Picture It


Choice Words

Readiness Levels

Deadlines and Redos

Anchor Charts


Homework Tips for Parents

Simple Moves to Increase Engagement

Learners in the Center


Common Assessment

Questions to Help Build Transparency

Goal Setting

Reining in the Checklist Mindset

Pace? Whose Pace?

Increasing Engagement

Connecting Learning Targets

Going Back to the Targets

Measurement Topics, Not Targets

Culture Comes First

Refurbishing for Personalized Learning

Constant Feedback

Three Big Ah-Ha!s for Teachers New to Learner-Centered Proficiency-Based Education

Starting the Year Off Strong

Moving to a Culture of Cooperation

The Perennial Homework Question

Making Targets Visible…Really

Crucial Mindsets

 Applied Learning and W2AL

 Steps to Grow Learner Autonomy


Accountable Talk

Revisiting the Vision

Supporting Learners with Common Language

Grouping is a Strategy, Not the Goal

Exceeding is More Work

A Move to Increase Agency

Including Multiple Readiness Levels

Giving Learners MORE Voice

Making Space for Learners to Wonder

Four Tips for Crafting Driving Questions


The Big Picture of Applied Learning

Three Ways to Bring More Learner Voice into Learning Opportunities

Yes They Can

Learner-Centered Tip of the Week: Planning to Hold onto the Learning