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Our Glossary

Active Listening def. Is a communication technique, which requires the listener to feed back what they hear to the speaker, by way of re-stating or paraphrasing what they have heard in their own words, to confirm what they have heard and moreover, to confirm the understanding of both parties.
Adaptive Schools def. Adaptive Schools is a part of Thinking Collaborative which provides individuals and organizations strategies, skills, and concepts to establish and sustain structures for thinking and collaborating that result in increased performance and resourcefulness.



Blended Learning def. Blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path or pace.



Campfire def. An Instructional Setting; one of four. This is an informational space where we get information from experts. It is one-directional. In early cultures, this was the role of the storyteller, or shaman. In our world it is any situation where information is coming at us and we just listen. This includes television, lectures, reading, listening, video, etc.

Cave def. An Instructional Setting; one of four. Caves are conceptual spaces where we go to reflect, process, and create in private, in order to internalize our learning. In this space we take new information and conversations and think through what it means for us individually. This can be thinking, writing, sketching, etc. Whatever you need to do to make sense of the world happens here and often gives birth to new ideas.

The Chair def. The yellow chair in the Welcome Center. It represents all students. When making decisions about learning, we always focus on the chair.

Coding def. Coding is an analytical process in which data, in both quantitative form or qualitative are categorized to facilitate analysis. Coding means the transformation of data into a form understandable by computer software.

Collaboration Time def. Every morning, staff of D39C will collaborate for 1 hour prior to students arriving at school.

Collaboratory def. A learning space in the classroom buildings that is open, has a polished concrete floor, some soft furniture, lots of natural lighting, and can be used by small to large groups of learners. There are three Collaboratory spaces on each floor, except downstairs Building B where there are only two. On those floors with three, one of the spaces is nearly double the size of a typical classroom. These are flexible use spaces.

Consuming def. Kids take in something.

Curriculum Integration def. “In its simplest conception, it is about making connections. What kind of connections? Across disciplines? To real life? Are the connections skill-based or knowledge-based?” Many terms have been associated with integrated curriculum but their outcomes for student learning are distinctly different. Click here for further reading.



Design Studio def. Teacher collaboration spaces in the classroom buildings.
Design Thinking def. An end-user-centric process of creation and innovation where the focus is on solving a problem while focusing solely on the needs of those it will serve. Key to the success of the product is being deeply empathetic with the end-user. Further, the design process is a flexible and cyclical process where testing data dictate whether the project moves forward to the next phase, or back to any of the previous steps. The Design Process the D39C is currently using has the following steps: Empathy, Research, Define,  Ideate & Brainstorm, Model & Prototype, Test & Evaluate, Publish & Produce.



Everything Speaks def. “The importance of the guest experience can be summed up in two words: everything speaks." The thought behind the quote is simple, service is manifested everywhere your organization touches the customer. Those touch points might include the cleanliness of your storefront, the friendliness of your staff, even the smell your customer associates with your organization will affect their perception of your brand. So, how do you make sure each touch point is inherent of the level of service you wish to provide? Understand that exceptional service requires meticulous planning. Develop a map indicating each customer touch point. Organize your people and infrastructure to support your design.
Exploration def. A time/class in the afternoon when kids can choose to try out or explore a type of learning, skill, or experience such as a specific art skill, a musical instrument, a computer skill, etc. This can develop into a Focus/Deep Dive if students choose to do so. The Explorations class meets every other day. TK-3 meeting days are opposite of 4-8.



Flat Leadership def. A system that allow all parties to be involved in the leadership structure. At D39C, the power lies within the pod. Decisions are not made top-down, rather they are made in the best interest of kids and not all ideas have to be “okayed” by the principal.

Flexible Recess def. There is no set time for recess. Kids eat when they need and recess can vary depending on day, experience, and needs of students.

FLL def. The FIRST® LEGO® League Global Innovation is designed to encourage and assist FLL teams to further develop their innovative solutions to real-world problems.

Focus Time or Deep Dive def. This is a time for kids to extend on their passions and explore more about their interests.



Gallery def. D39C’s version of a student center. Fun area with reading cubbies, stadium seating, and an electronic wall.
Google+ def. Google’s Social Media Platform
Grade Span def. A group of grades (2-3 is a grade span).
Growth Mindset def. In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities. Book: Mindset by Carol S. Dweck
GTT (PLTW) - Gateway to Technology def. Middle school is the perfect time for students to explore and learn that there is more than one way to reach a solution. PLTW Gateway provides engineering and biomedical science curriculum for middle school students that challenges, inspires, and offers schools variety and flexibility. Students get rigorous and relevant experiences through activity-, project-, and problem-based learning. They use industry-leading technology to solve problems while gaining skills in communication, collaboration, critical-thinking, and creativity.
Guiding Principles def. We have 8 guiding principles that are at the heart of our design process at D39C. These guiding principles are our filter for when we are designing learning experiences.
Guiding Question def. Here are seven defining characteristics:
  • A good guiding question is open-ended; that is, it typically will not have a single, final, and correct answer.
  • Is thought-provoking and intellectually engaging, often sparking discussion and debate. , Calls for higher-order thinking, such as analysis, inference, evaluation, prediction.
  • It cannot be effectively answered by recall alone.
  • Points toward important, transferable ideas within (and sometimes across) disciplines.
  • Raises additional questions and sparks further inquiry.
  • Requires support and justification, not just an answer.
  • Recurs over time; that is, the question can and should be revisited again and again.



Homeroom def. Every morning and afternoon, students will go to the same homeroom teacher. The homeroom teacher will be one of their teachers in their pod. All kids will “loop” with their homeroom teacher when applicable.



I.L.T. - Integrated Learning Time def. The morning time at D39C will consist of integrating learning experiences where kids connect dots rather than collect dots.
Inquiry def. A student-centered approach to learning in which asking questions and seeking truth, information, and knowledge is at the heart of the educational experience.
Integration def. The idea that learning should blend more than one content area to allow kids to make rich, meaningful connections.
itsLearning def. D39C’s Learning Management System that focuses on personalized learning.



Just-in-Time vs. Just-in-Case def. SEE: Life



K-5 Launch (PLTW) def. Through PLTW Launch, our program for kindergarten through fifth grade, students become problem solvers. Students use structured approaches, like the engineering design process, and employ critical thinking. They apply STEM knowledge, skills, and habits of mind, learning that it is OK to take risks and make mistakes. As teachers and students learn and discover together, education becomes far more engaging. We designed PLTW Launch to offer maximum flexibility and work in a variety of settings and scenarios, which means we have an implementation model that will work for your school or organization.



LED def. Learning Experience Designer (i.e. teacher)
Life def. An Instructional Setting; one of four. Life is the context of learning. It is how you apply what you have learned and discovered. Just-In-Time learning happens here and it is relevant and engaging. When learning happens in this way, it has meaning beyond the lesson. “In the contextual space of life, learning takes place just in time to be used, not just in case it will be needed later.”
Loft def. D39C’s version of a library where some books may live.



Makery def. A classroom space designated as a space where students can prototype designs, reverse engineer technologies, design and build products and technology, create and fabricate.
MiM - Minds in Motion def. A period of time devoted to the exploration and development of physically active skills. Students will have the opportunity to select, or even suggest, a form of physical activity that they would like to learn or participate in that leads to challenge and a good cardio workout. TK-3 will meet twice a week, and 4-8 will meet three times a week - opposite of the TK-3 group.
Mindset def. The established set of attitudes held by someone.
MOOC - Massive Open Online Class def. A course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people.
Multi-Age def. Grade-level curriculum is blended together (2nd and 3rd graders could be studying the same thing).
Multi-Grade def. Represents different grade levels within a pod. 2nd and 3rd graders are learning different things about an overarching concept.



NGSS - New Generation Science Standards def. Next Generation Science Standards for Today’s Students and Tomorrow’s Workforce:  Through a collaborative, state-led process managed by Achieve, new K–12 science standards have been developed that are rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education. The NGSS is based on the Framework for K–12 Science Education developed by the National Research Council.



Personalized Learning def. To move away from a one-size-fits-all model of educations, schools must become adaptive, fluid, and agile so we can meet the needs of our diverse group of students. Personalization allows each child the freedom to progress forward at their own rate, and in ways that they learn best, as they pursue their passions and prepare for their future.  At D39C, we are rethinking pedagogy and leveraging current technologies that will aid us in helping to create an adaptive learning environment for our students.
PLTW - Project Lead The Way def. Project Lead The Way is the nation's leading provider of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs. Through world-class K-12 curriculum, high-quality teacher professional development, and outstanding partnerships, PLTW is helping students develop the skills needed to succeed in the global economy.
Pod def. A group of 4-6 teachers with a shared group of students.
Producing def. Kids create something.
Promenade def. The space between classroom building B and classroom building C.
Prototype Learning def. Prototyping is a rough and rapid portion of the design process. A prototype can be a sketch, model, or a cardboard box. It is a way to convey an idea quickly. Students learn that it is better to fail early and often as they create prototypes.
Purple People def. Awesome people who ask why and think differently about education.



Social Media def. Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.
STEAM def. Science-Technology-Engineering-Art-Mathematics
STEM def. Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics
Strand def. Strands are part of the curriculum that are woven together and don’t change. Themes can be strands.
Stream def. Streams are part of the curriculum that is ephemeral and can be subject to change.
Student-Centered def. Students are at the heart of the learning experience and are in control of their own learning experiences. This is the viewpoint of constructivist thinking.
Studio def. Small rooms on campus dedicated for specific tasks (video, etc).



Watering Hole def. An Instructional Setting; one of four. This is an informational space where people gather together to talk as in coffee shops, the water cooler, at the copy machine, texting, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. These are conversational spaces we go to in order to share what we have learned or experienced with our peers.
Welcome Center def. D39C’s version of an “Administration” or “Office” building.



“Yet!” def. The phrase denotes that the speaker recognizes that they have the ability to learn.



1:1 def. One-to-one computing refers to academic institutions, such as schools or colleges, issuing each enrolled student an electronic device (or students bring in their own devices) in order to access the Internet, digital course materials and digital textbooks.
20% Time / Genius Hour def. A period of time designated for the pursuit of a self-selected passion or interest. The origin is from Google where employees are expected to explore something they are interested in that is not necessarily associated with their current project. The freedom to pursue passions has been shown to develop deeper thinking, cross-genre understanding, and lots of new ideas and innovations that lead to new products and businesses.
21st Century Skills def. Are skills students need to be successful in the 21st century. They include: cross-curricular skills and learning to learn skills.