Smart Learning

Just what is Smart Learning?

The SmartLearning approach provides learners of all ages and walks of life with a nine-step framework and a host of SmartThinking Tools that motivate higher levels of understanding. Through the nine-step process learners activate and build background knowledge, process information, transform their learning into a product that shows what they know, and reflect on their learning.
Structured talk and assessment as and for learning are carefully woven into the process to build a thoughtful context for learning and to advance the thinking of all learners. SmartLearning realizes the goals of inclusivity and differentiation.

The following lesson files have been created by Debby Schmidt, Kathy Hall and Denise Perry.

Lochearn SMARTLearning- Strategies and ideas

Words Their Way
Word Sorts

Inspiring Minds:Susan Close and Carol Stickley
Smart Learning Tools:
1. A/B Partner Talk
  • Students are assigned a thinking partner for the day.
  • Students decide who is partner A and who is partner B. "My partner and I decided who would be A and who would be B by, therfore I am because ."
  • Have students discuss their thinking with their partner.
  • Choose either partner A or partner B to stand up and share what they learned from their partner using a sentence frame. "My partner and I think . We think this because .
  • Allow students to rehearse with their partner before they have to share with the class.

2. Hidden Object
  • Choose an object that ties into your lesson.
  • Place the object in a bag or box.
  • Invite your students to ask yes/no questions to discover what is in the bag.
  • Use Coaching Card with your students to generate questions that revolve around: feelings, motion, sounds, textures, smells, colours, tastes, sizes and shapes.

3. Popcorn
  • Students discuss in the A/B partners.
  • Students shout out their responses as the teacher scribes the generated list or questions or responses.


4. Zipper
  • Students think of a word or phrase that summarizes the topic discussed
  • Students give their responses one after another as it snakes through the class.


5. Partner Picture-Talk
  • Students are challenged to think like photographers or photo journalists and identify attributes to look for in a picture.
  • One partner turns away and begins describing the picture: "I am picturing..."
  • The other partner listens and uses the coaching cards to stimulate thinking, saying: "You could say more about..." Tell me more about..."
  • The first partner looks back at the picture and says: "I noticed I pictured...", "I needed to picture more about...", "I didn't picture..."

6. Tableau
  • Have students complete a carousel by rotating around the room and brainstorming on concept maps words and phrases that describe a set of words...ex Respect VS Disrespect.
  • A group of students work together to create a frozen scene that depicts the words on their concept map.
  • Wild Rose teachers completed this activity at Smart Learning Workshop.

7. Role on the Wall
  • After completing the reading of a piece of writing have students come up and write thoughts and feelings on the body of the character.
  • You may want to hand out sticky notes and have students write on them and come up and stick them to the body.
  • You could also have on the outside of the body some of the stresses and situations that led to the thoughts and feelings.


8. Scribed Writing
  • After completing a learning segment
  • In learning partners, students will take turns scribing their ideas or answers to questions
  • Could be used for webs, mind maps, math journaling
  • Use popcorn to share ideas that have been scribed in learning partners

9. Sensory Imagery Story Starters
· Students are in their A/B partners
· They are given a picture prompt, either on the Smartboard or on their desks
· They also have their SmartLearning coaching cards and a recording sheet categorizing the 5 senses
· The kids share with their partners, one sense at a time, what they could hear/see/touch/smell/taste in the picture. One sense at a time they record their details in the proper category
· Once they have gone through all of the 5 senses, we are ready to build our three sentence story starter.
· The kids circle their six favourite details that they came up with in their partner talk
· They are going to build three sentences using two of their details in each sentence and linking them with a glue word. The glue words are and, as and while
· If the picture prompt was a forest, the kids may have a story starter that reads like this (with extra juicy words added in as per how you would teach or direct that:

The tall brown trees loomed as the blue birds flew through the sky. A fish jumped in the creek and the scent of wildflowers filled the air. Delicate spider webs glistened with dew while a squirrel chattered in the distance.
10. On the Bus
Anticipatory Set Activity
  • Students are seated in chairs in A/B partners. One partner is seated behind the other, as if on a bus.
  • Partner B, the one seated behind, has a picture to describe to partner A. Partner A doesn’t see the picture.
  • Partner B tries to give a clear, detailed description of the picture to Partner A.
  • Partner A has a coaching card, and, using the purple side, coaches partner B to extend the description.
  • After approximately 5 minutes, both partners look at the picture together. Partner A discusses how the picture is the same, or different, than their image of it, based on the description.
  • Partner A and B switch spots. Using a new picture, the process is repeated.

11. Mining for Gold
· Use for identifying the most important information from a piece of text, video, website, etc.
· Students are in A/B partners. Partner A reads the text (or views the video/website). Partner B asks what was important from what was read/viewed. Partner A states what they thought was important.
· Partner B asks what was really important? Partner A summarizes in fewer words the important ideas.
· Partner B asks again what was MOST important. Partner A summarizes further the most important idea.
· The important idea is the “nugget.”

12. 4 Quadrants

13. Literature Word Sorts
Pre Reading Activity
  • Teacher chooses twenty or so key words from the story to be read aloud or independently. Type them in a table form.
  • Hand out one set of word cards to each student, and have them cut them apart. Challenge students to sort the words in a way that makes sense to them, and be able to justify why they sorted them this way. Have students glue their words on a separate sheet of paper in the groups they sorted them – they will be used for a future writing activity. (Alternatively, you could have them sort the words with a partner). Use A/B partner talk to have students discuss their sorting methods, and have some students share with the class.

14. Lettered Heads
· A/B partners pair up with another pair.
· They decide who is A, B, C, D.
· Have groups discuss a topic or question.
· Choose one lettered head to share ideas with the whole group. The person who shares will rehearse what they are going to share with the rest of the class. The other group members will coach the person who will be sharing.
· You can continue discussing topics, questions, etc, choosing different lettered heads to share each time.