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Powerful Learning Document

Powerful Learning Overview

  • Powerful Learning fosters a deep understanding that enables students to become creators, connectors and collaborators, who critically and thoughtfully contribute to the world. It enables students to become engaged and active thinkers who are able to communicate, innovate, collaborate and problem solve.
  • The goal of Powerful Learning is to provide students with the opportunity to learn how to think, solve real world problems and apply their learning in new and innovative ways.

Key Components of Powerful Learning

  • Strategic Instruction: Powerful learning is enhanced by the thoughtful and intentional use of research-based strategies, tactics and practices that are appropriate for the learner and the discipline.
  • Engaged Students: Powerful learning results from students being intellectually committed to meaningful and rigorous tasks.
  • Active Citizens: Powerful learning is strengthened when students are able to see and apply connections to their local, national and global communities.
  • Foundational Frameworks: Powerful learning is dependent on foundational skills developed through a thinking approach that ensures deep understanding and an ability to transfer to new contexts (literacy, numeracy and technology).


  • The GHSD Literacy and Numeracy Foundational Frameworks are intended to ensure that basic skills and knowledge are acquired from which students can move to higher levels of thinking and application. These foundational frameworks support Powerful Learning and provide common guidelines for practices in all classrooms. They are research based and describe the key assumptions/philosophies, high impact strategies and practices, and assessment approaches identified as best practices in GHSD.

  • Powerful learning utilizes technology as a learning tool in order for students to be able to communicate, research and create deeper understandings and new learning. Students work to discover and master content knowledge in addition to being able to create, extend, innovate and apply this content knowledge. The importance is recognized in being able to use technology well to support teaching and learning (Fullan & Langworthy, 2014). Through the effective use of technology, students are able to select, organize and design learning to be shared both within and beyond the classroom. Technology facilitates the opportunity to shift the emphasis of learning from content and skills to higher order tasks and thinking. Technology can also help GHSD teachers to meet the differentiated needs of learners, enabling all students to experience a successful learning experience.

Learning Tasks

  • When designing powerful learning tasks teachers’ incorporate high yield strategies, outlining an intentional sequence of learning activities that start with the learning outcomes and encompasses assessment for learning approaches and strategies.
  • This type of intentional design allows teachers to consider the scope of student needs in their classroom and therefore allow for multiple entry points so that all students can participate in the task.
  • Core competencies such as: collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and problems solving are integrated when designing units. Design structures such as “Understanding by Design- UBD” (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) or the “Cascading Curriculum” principles (TC2), are used in planning. This type of design involves the purposeful development of what the teacher and student work will look like as well as what will be collected as evidence of learning. Deciding how students can demonstrate a deep understanding requires being able to plan for multiple ways of representing and expressing ideas.
  • Designing powerful learning incorporates the design of authentic, rigorous units of study, the implementation of strategic learning, as well as a focus on student engagement, and citizenship. It is the integration of all of these elements that supports deep understanding of curricular objects and enables students to acquire a disposition for all learning, now and in their future.
  • Our learning experiences in our classrooms in GHSD strive to foster creative, critical and reflective thinking rooted in strong social-emotional learning for today and for tomorrow.