Reaching Hard to Teach Students through

Connections & Context: Making Instruction Engaging


Listen to dropouts and you'll hear them say that they were bored or were being taught stuff they would never need. Students ask all the time, "When will we ever use this?" and "Why are we learning this?" Surveys show that fewer and fewer students are interested in school, or believe school is preparing them for the real world.

In order to turn this around, educators need to focus on helping students make connections with their learning and to put learning into the context of how it relates to student lives and is used in the real world. We need to focus learning on higher order thinking activities, address Rigor & Relevance, and do more place-based project-based learning.


Workshop Resources


- Connections & Context - PDF of Presentation Slides
- The New Blooms Taxonomy - PDF
- Motivating Students with Engaging Tasks



Additional Resources


Willard Daggett's Rigor/Relevance Framework


Tom March's The New 3Rs: Real, Rich, & Relevant


Edutopia's Project-based Learning Page

Edutopia is a resource of the George Lucas Education Foundation with some of the best resources related to topics that positive impact education, including Project-based Learning, Technology Integration, and Assessment. Edutopia may not be a book, but it belongs in every teacher's professional library!
Project-based Learning Instructional Module
The Big List on Project Based Learning

Creating knowledge, not just retelling it.

"The New Plagiarism: Seven Antidotes to Prevent Highway Robbery in an Electronic Age" by Jamie MacKenzie. http://www.questioning.org/Q4/cov98may.html

Taking It Gobal

TIG ed

The Educational Video Center (EVC)

An alternative school in NYC, using documentary making as the vehicle for their curriculum