Lessoncast PD2020

Instructor: Nicole Tucker-Smith

Lessoncast PD2020 is a self-paced online course for teachers and leaders of professional learning communities. This course provides access to the same lessoncast creation tools and coaching offered to our concierge consulting clients including major universities, districts, and state departments of education. The overarching goal is to help participants create and publish professional learning resources tailored to meet their learning community’s needs.

Commitment? ~15 hours of effort over 8 weeks
Format? Lecture? What Lecture? Expect quick, scaffolded, and chunked bits of insight and direction for you to immediately put into practice.

You may register at any time and complete the course activities at your own pace. Your 8 weeks will begin upon registration. During that time, you will have access to course content and lessoncast creation tools.

Craft a lessoncast to address a specific professional learning challenge in order to support student learning needs.

Share the lessoncast with peers and incorporate feedback to improve the effectiveness of communicating a new instructional idea.

Publish the lessoncast(s) to support ongoing professional development in your learning community.

Literacy Strategies

Instructor: Nicole Tucker-Smith

The Common Core Literacy Standards emphasize an increase in informational texts, text complexity, citing evidence, and academic vocabulary. This course examines six strategies proven to support students in developing these literacy concepts and skills across grade levels.

Course participants will learn the fundamentals of each strategy and be able to apply them in their educational setting. Beginning with a set of starter lessoncasts, participants will be able to customize the multimedia resources to address the specific needs of their learning community. By the end to the course, participants will have a bank of customizable resources demonstrating how to immediately implement the strategies.

While the course opens on June 2 (8:00 am EST), you may register at any time and complete the course activities at your own pace. If you register after June 2, your 8 weeks will begin upon registration. During that time, you will have access to course content and lessoncast creation tools.

View the fundamentals of six literacy strategies proven to improve student comprehension.

Customize lessoncast resources to address the specific needs of your learning community.

Apply Common Core literacy strategies in your educational setting.

Build a bank of tailored resources demonstrating how to immediately implement literacy strategies to improve student learning.

Teacher Roles in Personalized Learning

Instructor: Nicole Tucker-Smith

True implementation of personalized learning in schools requires a shift in the roles of educators and a shift in educator professional learning. This course examines the evolving role of teachers incorporating personalized learning experiences in the classroom. Taking a close look at what personalized learning is and isn’t, participants create resources to support teacher roles as facilitator, assessor, instructional designer, content curator, coach, and advisor, and family-school collaborator.

Lessoncast believes in personalized professional learning. Several modules have assignment options. Participants may choose between the assignments according to which one is more applicable for implementing personalization in their learning environment. Some participants may create lessoncasts while others may build on resources already created to support putting new personalized learning methods into practice in their classroom.

While the course opens on July 21 (8:00 am EST), you may register at any time and complete the course activities at your own pace. If you register after July 21, your 12 weeks will begin upon registration. During that time, you will have access to course content and lessoncast creation tools.

Define personalized learning and identify key characteristics for effective implementation.

Recognize the shifting roles of teachers in personalized learning environments and reflect on their current level of comfort and expertise.

Design resources to support assessment, instructional design, facilitation, coaching, and family-school collaboration in a personalized learning environment.

Develop and implement the personal learning plan process.

    Asking and Answering Questions for Reading Comprehension

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    Author: Nicole


    Questioning is a critical thinking skill that students can use before, during, and after reading to strengthen comprehension. This lesson idea will focus on three types of question-answer relationships: In the text, in your head, and in another source.


    Explain to students that effective readers ask questions before, during and after reading. They seek information and clarify understanding. Start by having students generate questions by reviewing the title of a selection or skimming through the text. In modeling the questioning process, some students benefit from the prompt “I wonder…” Students can record their answer on post-it notes. Next, read the beginning portion of the text and via think aloud model how to ask questions and record them on post its. Other question prompts include “Why did…, What if…, What would happen if…, Who did…” Let students know that they may need to ask clarifying questions. {“It confused me when…What does this mean?”} Allow the students to read the next portion independently or in small groups. Keep in mind that as students generate questions, you may need to plant a few higher-level questions of your own. After students have generated questions onto their post-it notes, explain that there are several types of questions. Some have the answers stated directly in the text. In order to answer other questions, you have to add what’s in your head (your prior knowledge) to be able to answer. Then other questions have the answer in another source. {Text: Who is the main character? How did the character resolve the conflict? Head: Why was the main character jealous of his classmate? How would you have handled the conflict? Own: What characters from other texts have also experienced jealousy?} Use the graphic organizer to have students place their post-its in the appropriate column. Model with a class-sized graphic organizer. Then students can work with a group to add their post-its to the appropriate column in a group graphic organizer. Finally, select questions for the students to answer. Explicitly show how answers to In the Text questions are found directly in the selection. In Your Head questions require using your prior knowledge and supporting evidence from the text. After sufficient practice, allow students to work independently. In future lessons, as students move on to making inferences help them see that inferences are “in your head” questions.


    For nonfiction text, it can be especially interesting to challenge students to find the answers to In Another Source questions. Students can take on these challenges for homework and then report back to the class.


    Asking questions and examining question-answer relationships are ways to improve comprehension and critical thinking. Sometimes finding the answer requires asking the right questions.


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    Key Skills

    • Problem solving
    • Ask Questions, Questioning
    • Inquiry
    • Literature (Key Ideas and Details)
    • Close Reading
    • Reading Comprehension
    • Making Inferences
    • Questioning


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    Write questions about a text to gain a deeper understanding. How would you respond to questions with answers in the text, in your head, or in another source?


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