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Tools for Teaching Conceptual Understanding, Elementary


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Table of Contents

Foreword Acknowledgments About the Authors Introduction: Why is Concept-Based Curriculum Critical for the 21st Century? Chapter 1: What Are the Essential Elements of Concept-Based Curriculum Design? Chapter 2: How Do I Set Up My Classroom for Deep, Conceptual Learning? Chapter 3: What Are the Building Blocks of Concept-Based Instruction? Chapter 4: What Additional Tools Can We Use to Design Lessons? Chapter 5: How do we Design Assessments for Conceptual Understanding? Chapter 6: How Can We Work Toward Equity in a Concept-Based Classroom? Chapter 7: How Can Conceptual Understanding Help to Preserve a Love of Learning Beyond Childhood? Conclusion: Imagine What School Could Be.... References Index

About the Author

Julie Stern is an author, trainer and instructional coach, supporting schools in transforming teaching and learning around the globe. Her depth and breadth of knowledge combined with her vision and contagious energy make her an in-demand facilitator in many areas including visible learning, concept-based curriculum, differentiated classrooms and formative assessments. Julie is the author of Tools for Teaching Conceptual Understanding, is certified in researcher John Hattie's Visible Learning as well as H. Lynn Erickson's Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction. She is a James Madison Constitutional Scholar and taught social studies for many years in DC and Louisiana. Julie previously served as the director of public policy and curriculum innovation at the Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools in Washington, DC, where she led the revision of curriculum in all subject areas grades 6 - 12. Her email is: and her blog is


"Using a concept-based curriculum is essential to get students thinking and active in their own learning. Erickson, Lanning & French explain in detail how to plan and teach in order to transform content into understanding that is relevant and compelling for all students."

-- Sarah Isaac, Lower School Assistant Principal

"This book provides the research and resources educators need to help students take ownership of their learning. It fosters students' curiosity about their environment and it allows them to explore and become life-long learners."

-- Ellen Asregadoo, Fifth Grade Teacher

"This book gives a nice overview of how to plan for and implement concept based learning into the elementary classroom. Additionally, it provides practical examples and ideas that any educator can take and implement into his or her classroom immediately."

-- Kate Benson, Fourth Grade Team Leader

"The practical strategies and examples supported by manageable theoretical information is exactly what teachers need to begin to take the steps that feel so difficult for many teachers who can't visualize what it would look like in their classrooms."

-- Monique Cadieux, Fifth Grade Teacher

"This is an important book for all teachers. We need to be honoring our students as thinkers who deserve developmentally appropriate intellectual rigor in the classroom. We will not achieve this in our traditional coverage based classroom. I am so inspired and can't wait to start this journey (making mistakes and learning along the way!)."

-- Sarah Gat, Second Grade Teacher

"This is the book that teachers who have been trying to implement concept-based teaching and learning have been waiting for. The research-based lesson frameworks create a clear and doable plan for teachers at any grade or content level. This book is a must for any instructional coach or curriculum writer."

-- Saundra Mouton, Primary Years Program International Baccalaureate Coordinator & Reading Specialist (PK-5th Grade)

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