Building a Thinking Language Arts Classroom

We know that providing students with tasks that encourage productive struggles is an effective way for students to learn to think and to acquire deep knowledge and understanding of the content they are learning. We also know this is easier said than done. Simply providing rich tasks to students does not constitute the practice that teachers want or students need. To realize the goals of the new curriculum teachers may need different teaching tools for use in their lessons -  a set of tools that, along with rich tasks, can build thinking classrooms. In this presentation, Robert Sidley looks at a series of such tools, emerging from research, that can help to build an environment conducive to problem-based learning. He will unpack the research that has demonstrates that a problem-based learning environment and culture can quickly be established, even in classrooms where students resist change.

Target Audience

Grades 5-9 Language Arts and Social Studies


10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

This session is full.


  • Robert Sidley

    Robert has spent over 20 years in public education. After transitioning from primary education to secondary mathematics, Robert completed a Masters of Education at Simon Fraser University, served as President of the BC Association of Mathematics Teachers, has consulted with the BC Ministry of Education on curriculum design and development, provincial exams, and teacher in-service. He has worked with over 20 school districts across Western Canada, supporting students and teachers. Robert is currently working a researcher at Simon Fraser University engaged in teaching pre-service teachers and in research on student affect, belief change, student improvement, and thinking classrooms.