Elements of Learning Introduction

This fall my administrators approached me about introducing the Elements of Learning to all staff members. The Elements of Learning are not new teaching strategies but we wanted teachers to start thinking about them differently and how using iPad can support the elements in their classrooms. We decided to start with a baseline activity to see where teachers thought they were. Below I have outlined the professional development activity and shared the Numbers document we used with teachers.

Approximate Time: 1 Hour

Step 1: Share the document and Create Teams

We used Managed Apple IDs and shared the attached Numbers document to all staff members with an iCloud link. Teachers were divided into 5 different groups. Our building Vanguard team had already received the Elements of Learning training and were strategically placed throughout the groups to help facilitate discussion.


Screenshot of directions page found in the Numbers document.
When teachers open the Numbers document, they see the directions and have access to the Elements of Learning Book.

Step 2: Draw it!

Each team was assigned an Element of Learning. Groups read the description of their assigned element and discussed as a table. Together they generated a drawing to represent their element. They will later explain these drawings.


An example of the book excerpt teachers read and the drawings they created to go along with it.

Step 3: Find Examples.

After defining their element, teachers were asked "Where does your Element already exist in our school?" Teachers worked as a group and used the post-it notes to come up with ideas they have implemented or they have seen implemented in their building.


An example of sticky notes with shared ideas of teamwork.

Step 4: Share

Each group then shared the drawing they created and how it represented their element. They also shared examples they believed were already happening in their building. This was a fun shoutout for teachers to celebrate the amazing things they are already doing.

Step 5: Debrief

After the Elements of Learning intro, I was able to collaborate with administrators to plan next steps. We discussed what we heard and saw during the workshop. We also discussed the sticky notes and what activities teachers believed were representative of each element. This helped us narrow our focus for the professional development I will lead throughout the year. We will also bring teachers back to this document to see how their understanding of the elements changes as we learn about them and work to intentionally incorporate them into the lessons we design for students.


All Comments

Posted on October 03, 2022

Thanks for describing your process Jennifer. Very helpful! Having the teams draw out and explain their drawing is a great technique!

It would be super if you could share a couple of lesson designs at the end of the year. It will be interesting to see your outcomes.

Posted on October 04, 2022

Love this Jennifer! Thanks for sharing and being a constant professional in your district who is a champion for kids and what's possible for them with the tools!

Posted on October 05, 2022

Thanks for sharing, Jennifer! I especially love that this activity culminates with "shout outs" for educators to share their amazing work with their colleagues. Nothing is more inspirational and aspirational than seeing the cool things your peers are exploring.

Posted on November 19, 2022

Really enjoyed reading about this process, Jennifer! The Numbers document is a great tool for encouraging faculty to reflect on and share current successes in each area of the elements of learning. I'd love to hear more about the follow-up PD you provided to build on this introduction. Hope you'll share more in the Coaching section of the Forum about this!

Posted on November 19, 2022

I do like the way these elements were divided between groups and the strategies that they used to illustrate each one. Good example of a short but effective workshop!

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