Best Practices

21st Century Learning at Gwynedd-Mercy Academy

GMA Thanks Teachers


  • Reading, Writing, and Spelling go hand-in-hand
  • Read Alouds at all ages benefit ALL learners
  • Connect with our students: What they are reading/What we are reading
  • Literature Circles
  • Books vs The Movie: Conversations, compare and contrast, spark interest
  • Use of tangible books
  • Print-rich classrooms - Different genres, high interest books
  • Use of leveled readers to differentiate instruction
  • Recreate what is read through writing - continue the story, rewrite a chapter
  • Create opportunity for students to recommend books to each other
  • Teacher models reading and writing
  • Conduct reading buddies, paired readings, choral readings
  • Invest in what students are reading by showing interest and enthusiasm
  • Use of visualization and questioning (various levels)
  • Pre-teach material and provide introduction to content
  • Use of mentor texts to model examples
  • Expand vocabulary by making predictions and real-life connections


  • Brainstorming
  • Conducting research
  • Use of multiple drafts
  • Conferencing with students
  • Use of graphic organizers
  • Use of Google Docs to revise/edit (for teachers and student)
  • Use of checklists to guide editing
  • Use of proofreading marks
  • Work through entire writing process
  • Apply grammar skills to writing
  • Outlining/organizing thoughts and ideas
  • Use of various resources
  • Utilize vocabulary in sentences - show meaning
  • Use technology tools


  • Connecting math to the real world
  • Modeling and use of manipulatives
  • "Talk Alouds" - talking through strategies the math process
  • Engaging all learners through differentiated instruction
  • Emphasis on discovery
  • Writing in math - (math language)
  • Collaborative learning
  • Appropriate pacing
  • Incorporation of technology
  • Use of varied strategies
  • Teaching across the curriculum

Social Studies

  • Background Knowledge - Beach Ball Brainstorming
  • Columbus on Trial
  • Crash Course Website - John Green Videos
  • Use of Primary Sources - Stanford History Education Group
  • Book Supplements
  • Maps
  • Cell Phone Perspective
  • Baseball Card Stats
  • Reader's Theater
  • Projects: Epcot exhibits, Longhouse creation, LHM, scavenger hunt, food by country/holiday (foreign language), historical business card, guest speakers, Twitter fights, & campaign design


  • Hands-on
  • Teach to various learning styles
  • Connect content
  • Risk taking
  • Student-centered
  • Experiential learning
  • Non-threatening
  • Problem solving
  • Freedom to have non-graded materials

Innovation & Technology

  • Opportunity for Formative and Summative Assessment (Socrative, Kahoot, Quizlet)
  • Used across the curriculum (Google Drive, Classroom)
  • Invention Conventions
  • Genius Hour
  • Caine's Arcade
  • eBooks (subject specific and library)
  • Document Cameras
  • Apple TV
  • Coding
  • Making videos (iMovie)
  • Interactive Whiteboards
  • StoryMaker App
  • iPads for centers to reinforce skills
  • Skype/FaceTime
  • Surface tablets

Religion/Character Education

  • Faith-based
  • Catholic identity
  • Model kindness
  • Address real-world issues
  • Service
  • Mercy/Acceptance
  • Papal message
  • Community of Caring
  • Mrs. Fromal as a resource

Dance/Athletics/Creative Movement

  • Organization
  • Preparation
  • Freedom to explore
  • Team-building/Cooperation
  • Self-discipline
  • Spatial awareness
  • Cross-curricular
  • Practice
  • Importance of technique and fundamentals
  • Incorporate life skills and lessons
  • Learning healthy competition
  • Balancing school & activities/time management
  • Importance of a healthy lifestyle


  • Music is the language the whole world speaks!
  • Connects cultures, languages, customs, emotions
  • Uses other instructional areas (ELA, Math, Science, Writing, Phys. Ed., etc.)
  • Allows for all levels of success - meets all learners where they are
  • Experiential learning
  • Speech and speaking to people is a life skill (important in all careers and life experiences)
  • Allows student choice
  • Perfect example of differentiated instruction and learning strategies

World Language

  • Imitates real life situations
  • Use of visuals to learn vocabulary
  • Make it FUN! (games, skits, songs)
  • Incorporate technology
  • Engages all learning styles
  • Focus on the message and ability to make mistakes
  • Multi-cultural (global citizenship)
  • Integrates other curricular areas
  • Promotes creativity
  • Use of varied assessments
  • Creates travel opportunities


  • Crosses all curriculum areas
  • Engages all the senses and various student learning styles
  • Language for all - even those who have difficulty communicating
  • Provides creative outlet, self expression
  • Allows for mistakes
  • Good for anxiety
  • Art knowledge and experience can be utilized for future projects in all subjects
  • Crosses over into real-life experiences

A Collection from the Online Survey: "Linking" You to Educational Resources & Professional Development